I saw this question and it got me thinking about the etiquette of dads using baby changing facilities. I've recently started to notice these things and have seen that a lot of baby changing facilities are in the ladies' toilets.

When out and about with the little bundle of joy would I be breaching etiquette for using these facilities? Should we squelch around until we find a gender-neutral location? I'm sure they'd object if we did it in the middle of the shop...

asked 01 Feb '10, 16:35

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 19%

edited 01 Feb '10, 17:14

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

Great question.

(01 Feb '10, 17:10) ceejayoz

Whether a changing table is available in the men's room varies considerably from place to place. Here is my algorithm:

  • For a single person restroom (one toilet, locking door), I would use the one with the changing station, even if the room is marked for women. And lock the door, of course.

  • For a multiple person restroom (many stations, unlocked door), I would not use the women's room, even if it were the only one with changing table -- that's just not fair to the women customers who expect not to have a grown man in their rest room. I've changed diapers on sink counters and floors if no changing table is available, it's not the end of the world. (I did carry a small changing blanket with me along with the diapers, it wasn't like the baby was actually on the bathroom floor.)

Either way, complain to the management if there appears to be a disparity between men's and women's restroom facilities.


answered 01 Feb '10, 18:33

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

I've also changed baby's diaper on a chair or on the seat of a booth, if no changing table was available (also on a changing pad).

(01 Feb '10, 23:34) Fun2Dream

I've had to change my kids on the bathroom floor because there wasn't even a changing table in the women's restroom. In a couple restaurants that didn't have a changing table, I took my kids out and changed them on a table (with a changing pad underneath) or bench seat.

(02 Feb '10, 16:06) mkcoehoorn

I don't know where you are, of course, but here in Vancouver/Canada generally any facility that has a baby-changing room, the room is gender-neutral. Many places have a Men's room, a Ladies' room, and a gender-neutral / "Family" room for changing babies. Alternately, many Men's rooms have a baby-changing table built in. (As, presumably, would the Ladies' room in that case.)


answered 01 Feb '10, 17:09

Jeff's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%


Oh, Canada. You have 1 year maternity leave, too. One of these days I'm really going to move there from the US...

(02 Feb '10, 17:07) Anne

@Anne: Keep a house down there for the winters though. Snow gets pretty annoying around this time of year, and doesn't leave for a bit. ;)

(03 Feb '10, 01:07) Scott ♦♦

What snow, Scott? The Olympics start here in a couple hours, and we've no snow to speak of. They're actually trucking in snow from the interior to cover the event slopes. ;)

(13 Feb '10, 00:34) Jeff

I imagine that different countries may have different facilities available. In most places in Canada, both the men and women's washrooms (toilets) have baby change tables. Often these will be in the wheelchair accessible stall as there is more room. There are also many places now, where there are family washrooms, which are unisex (stalls and changetables only).

I think in general men should bring their children (regardless of gender) to the men's room and women should bring their children (regardless of gender) to the ladies room. If there is no change table available in the appropriate washroom, I think it's best to find another solution (you can change a baby almost anywhere if you have a changing mat) rather then a man going into the ladies room or vice versa.


answered 01 Feb '10, 17:13

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Tammy ♦♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 01 Feb '10, 19:37

do you mean "to the" rather than "the the", or are you just a fan? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_The)

(01 Feb '10, 17:28) Rich Seller

Thanks Rich, yes I am prone to typos.

(01 Feb '10, 19:37) Tammy ♦♦

I wouldn't enter the ladies' room under pretty much any circumstance, and I'd be rather annoyed if a woman entered the men's room.

I've changed our daughter on the floor before. We have a handy wipe-able changing mat for just such circumstances. Still I'd be annoyed if I found a men's washroom without a change table. Oddly enough, we did find a "neutral" washroom at a car dealership without a change table recently. At least it had a locking door.


answered 02 Feb '10, 11:04

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

Well, I used to go by the handy algorithm: "Oh, the changing table is in the ladies: it's your turn".

But since a friend told us he just goes into the ladies, that argument no longer cuts ice. Since then I think I've been just once (there's only one shopping centre near here where this problem arises).

If the ladies aren't happy (it hasn't happened yet), I'd just tell them to go and complain to the store manager about his non-PC toilet configuration. I'm not an expert in ladies' toilet etiquette, but as far as I know, they don't tend to walk around airing their 'parts' (unless they're doing it dramatically wrong). So apart from initial surprise, I don't think that there is real cause for embarrassment.

(I do make a point of talking to my daughter fairly audibly, so any lady who was already in a cubicle when I arrived has time to 'compose herself')


answered 02 Feb '10, 06:17

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


It's not the female customers' fault that the men's room doesn't have a changing table, so it seems to me that they deserve no less than the full level of privacy they usually expect in a women's rest room (regardless of whether you or I would be embarrassed if we were in their place -- it's their privacy at stake, not ours).

(02 Feb '10, 06:27) lgritz

Nice, I'll try that on my wife :)

(02 Feb '10, 07:04) Benjol
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Asked: 01 Feb '10, 16:35

Seen: 5,642 times

Last updated: 02 Feb '10, 11:04