North West-based Direct365 is backing a campaign for baby changing facilities in men’s toilets and is encouraging businesses in the region to do the same.
The move comes in the wake of a global debate which was started after dad, Donte Palmer, shared a photo of him changing his child on his knee which went viral.
Direct365, an online provider of workplace products and services, has worked with parents across the UK to conduct research into baby changing facilities. Its results found a distinct lack of changing facilities within male public toilets leaving dads with few options when out and about with children.
One of the parents involved in the study said: “If I visit my small, local coffee shop it’s understandable if the changing table is confined to the toilet, but often, the changing table would only be in the female toilet, leaving men unable to change young children. It’s these factors that outlets need to consider.”
Its research also found that many places are failing to meet even the minimum standard expected by parents, deterring them from returning.
As part of the research, last year Direct365 partnered with ten mums across the country and tasked them to visit a number of outlets, including nationwide chains and independent outlets, to investigate the onsite baby changing facilities. Now the business is calling for dads to get in touch if they’d like to do the same.
Examining the pros and cons of the tested facilities, the top five products that the parents agreed should be compulsory are:
1. A safety strap for the changing table
2. Clear signposting to the changing room or area
3. Hand sanitiser in addition to a sink
4. Nappy bin and nappy bags
5. A seat for breastfeeding or for an older child to sit on
Kathyrn Skinner, at Direct 365, commented: “Baby changing facilities are of paramount importance to parents and to discover the lack of options available to fathers is a concern. Last year, there were 14 million parents with dependent children in the UK, and more than 3.2 million families had at least one child aged between newborn and four years old.
“A customer base of this size can’t be ignored and outlets that don’t adequately cater for this audience could be unwittingly deterring parents from returning, especially men. Our testers all expressed that they were instantly more inclined to return regularly to a place where changing their baby wasn’t a stressful experience because of the standard of facilities.
“Feedback from the exercise found a number of reoccurring issues that places could quite easily rectify. For example, a common finding was overflowing nappy bins and a noticeable odour due to bins not being emptied regularly. Not having hand sanitiser, which can be more convenient for a parent to use should they be holding a baby, was also a problem. These issues can be easily fixed.”
Another parent tester added: “It can be stressful taking young children on trips such as a supermarket food shop. Therefore, anything that an outlet does to take some of that stress out of your visit won’t go unnoticed by parents. Having features such as space for your pram and a safety strap on the changing table are invaluable and make the customer experience as a parent a positive one.”