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Baltimore looks to become more friendly to diaper-changing needs

Months before the viral photo, Baltimore City Councilman Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer introduced the bill aimed at ensuring diaper-changing stations are available in more spaces throughout the city. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — When the photo of a Florida dad squatting in the men’s bathroom as an impromptu diaper-changing table for his child went viral, it highlighted a problem one Baltimore City councilman was already working to solve.

Months before the viral photo, Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer introduced the bill aimed at ensuring diaper-changing stations are available in more spaces throughout the city.

“Anybody with young kids can tell you they’ve had to struggle in a restaurant or someplace else, and they needed to change their kid and there’s no place to do it, and you have to figure it out, and it’s a balancing act,” Schleifer said.

As the father of two young girls, Schleifer said the availability of a safe, sanitary space for changing diapers has always been an issue he’s noticed, especially when he’s seen people change their child’s diaper on tables where people eat. 

He said that when he was having lunch in Baltimore City Hall, he “witnessed somebody changing a child’s diaper right there on the table.”

But, it’s not just a problem in city hall, he said. “You also go to restaurants and you go to other businesses, and you see the struggle that people have. Wherever there’s a public restroom where people can use, it should be accommodating for everybody.”

“This is certainly something that we should be addressing,” Schleifer added.

Babies need proper spaces to get their diapers changed; because they can move around a lot, it’s not as simple as just placing them on chairs, he said.

“You end going on the floor, and floors are dirty, and so a lot of people usually will tend to go back to the table example and change their kid on the table. Then, you end up, really, with a health issue,” Schleifer said.

The bill is co-sponsored by all 15 members of the city council, and could apply to new or renovated buildings. A hearing is scheduled for next week.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo Contributed to this report. 


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