The Atlantic

How Wall-Mounted Changing Tables Enabled Moms to Leave the House

Where parenting norms have gone, the availability of infant-friendly facilities has followed.
Source: Philip Gould / Corbis via Getty

The baby bottoms of Americans born before the 1980s likely never touched a diaper-changing station in a public restroom. Prior to the ‘80s, when parents, and mothers in particular, went to shop or go out to eat, they usually had to fold themselves into the back of a car, balance their wriggling infant on a toilet seat, or crouch on a dirty bathroom floor to change their child’s diaper.

In the decades since, changing tables have grown more common, but they still can be hard to find, especially for dads. That is slowly changing: Last fall, President Obama signed a bill that will require all bathrooms in buildings controlled by the federal government to provide baby-changing stations, including in men’s rooms.

The placement of changing tables may seem like a minor design decision, but their availability relates to shifts in the larger patterns

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