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Water & Sanitation

New York City Is Making Diaper Stations Mandatory in Bathrooms — Including the Men's Room

To every parent or guardian who has resorted to changing a baby’s loaded diaper on a dirty bathroom sink ledge, windy park bench, or — yikes— your own lap, New York City sees you.

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a new bill into law mandating that all new public restrooms — for women and men — include a baby-changing station. Advocates have particularly hailed the inclusion of changing stations in the men’s room, a move that bucks the tired notion that only women are responsible for dirty diaper duty.

“Breaking news, everyone: It’s the 21st century and men change diapers now,” Mayor de Blasio said at the bill signing.

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New York City’s population of roughly 8.5 million people means that about one in every 38 Americans calls the Big Apple home. Meanwhile, the city’s striking number of infants help account for the metropolis’ reputation as the City That Never Sleeps.

In 2015, more than 116,000 babies were born in New York City, according to the State Department of Health’s most recent data.

That’s a lot of diapers.

“When you do have the security of finding a restroom — which is by no means a guarantee, by the way — and you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for what you might find when you start removing layers, there should be a space for you to change a diaper,” said former city councilman Dan Garodnik, who co-sponsored the bill last year.

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Global Citizen campaigns on ensuring all people — including babies — have access to safe and clean sanitation systems. You can take action here.

Councilman Rafael Espinal, another bill co-sponsor, said he was motivated to introduce the legislation after watching a man change his daughter’s diaper in a dirty public bathroom sink.

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“I realized diaper changing stations must be a requirement in all public bathrooms, because moms and dads should have equal access to sanitary and safe spaces when changing their baby's diapers," Espinal said in a statement.

At the event, he celebrated the new law’s focus on equal responsibility for diaper duties.

“Potty parity is finally coming to New York.”