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As call for changing tables in men's bathrooms goes viral, Baltimore City Council set to take action

Weeks before pictures of a Florida dad squatting to change his son’s diaper spread across the internet, a Baltimore City councilman was tackling the same issue on his Facebook page.

Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer ran a poll in early September after eating out somewhere that didn’t have a changing table he could use with his daughter.

“Out to dinner tonight and my 1 yr old needs her diaper changed. No designated sanitary spot. Should I change her on the … ” the post read before presenting pictures of the bathroom floor and a booth seat. Ninety percent of people who responded chose the booth.

The Florida dad, Donte Palmer, took a third approach — squatting against the wall of the bathroom with his son draped over his knees. The pictures of Palmer and a hashtag campaign — #squatforchange — jump-started a debate about fathers’ access to changing facilities.

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At Schleifer’s urging, the Baltimore City Council was already considering a bill to help fathers avoid impromptu leg workouts by requiring changing tables in men’s, as well as women's, bathrooms.

All 15 members of the council have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, and a hearing is set for next week.

Schleifer said in an interview that he’s open to hearing amendments to the measure to make it easier to enforce.

One change would make the law apply only to new buildings or those that undergo a renovation.

“There’s always a compromise,” he said. “You also need something that is enforceable. It’s not reasonable to expect the housing inspectors to start randomly going into random places of business and random public buildings looking for changing tables.”

If that change is made, the city housing department is on board and the Baltimore Development Corporation has also given the legislation its support.

Schleifer said that even if the final bill doesn’t require changing tables universally, he thinks the new focus on the issue has encouraged restaurants and other businesses to become more family-friendly.

“It changes the conversation,” he said.

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