Father’s ‘sexism’ claims over baby changing facilities

A public toilets WC sign EMN-160113-162711001
A public toilets WC sign EMN-160113-162711001

A father has accused a council of ‘sexism’ for failing to provide any baby changing facilities which can be used by men.

Dad-of-three Joe was visiting Camber Sands for the day with his children and partner on Sunday June 11 when his nine-month-old baby needed changing.

After walking ‘quite a distance’ to the nearest public toilets, Joe was told by a car park attendant that the only baby changing facilities were in the ladies toilets so he was not allowed to use them.

Instead he was offered a key to the disabled toilets and told to change his child on the floor.

Joe said: “As a man in this day and age, I would not expect to struggle to change my baby. I have never experienced that before.

“I come from north Kent and I certainly have never had a problem here.

“I cannot go and ask complete strangers to change my child for me and I don’t expect to change my child on the floor of a disabled toilet.”

He added: “I feel it is discrimination and sexism because as a man I am unable to change my baby.”

Joe was forced to change the baby on decking outside a cafe, which left him feeling ‘awkward’.

Following the incident, Joe submitted a Freedom of Information Request and discovered that of the 32 public conveniences run by Rother Council, only nine have baby changing facilities - all in the ladies toilets.

He said: “If I need to change my child anywhere in the Rother area, I would not be able to in a public toilet.

“The issue is the fact the council does not have facilities for men.”

An RDC spokesman said: “We are committed to doing everything within our limited means to meet the requirements of all members of the community when providing services, and generally have a good record of doing so.

“Many of our public conveniences are in older buildings where provision of all facilities is restricted and, although we have been able to make baby changing facilities available, these have generally been in the female toilets.

“We are sorry that the facilities at Camber did not meet the satisfaction of the member of the public.

“We have reviewed the three conveniences at Camber and believe it may be possible to install a baby changing facility in the men’s toilet.

“We are currently drawing up plans for this work.”