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Why You Shouldn't Change Your Baby's Diaper on a Restaurant Table

Photograph by Getty Images

When Candice Pouliotte, who lives in Ontario, Canada, noticed her infant had a diaper issue, she asked the wait staff at the restaurant she was dining at if they had changing tables in their restrooms. The answer was no, and she inexplicably asked if she could use a table in the dining area to do the deed. And just as inexplicably, the waitress said yes, so she popped her baby up on the table and changed her diaper.

After the restaurant owner came over to inquire about what the heck she was doing, the mom's grandmother asked if they should leave, to which the owner replied in the affirmative. They gathered their things and hustled out. Pouliotte is now speaking out and says that changing tables should be mandatory in all public businesses in Ontario.

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OK, I have four kids, and all four of them have pooped when I have been out and about. I have changed diapers in all sorts of places, including my car and the bathroom floor with a changing pad. Not ideal, but still totally reasonable. Never in a million years would I have thought it was OK to wipe my kid's feces-laden butt on a restaurant table. Or for that matter, I never would have changed a urine-soaked diaper in the same place. On a table. Where people will later eat.

However, her story does bring up another important topic. Not every public place accommodates parents with diaper-clad children.

Yes, the waitress erred when she told this mom that it was fine to change the diaper on the table, but the mother should have had enough common sense to not ask in the first place. If she saw someone changing a baby's diaper on a table, would she be OK sitting there later with her family, even though the area had been cleaned? Unlikely.

However, her story does bring up another important topic. Not every public place accommodates parents with diaper-clad children. While many businesses are in older buildings that really don't have room for changing tables, it really is important, if possible, to provide parents a means to relieve their kids of their dirty-diapered misery. And we're not just talking about the ladies' room—I know of many dads who have been out with their babies and have found a surprising lack of changing facilities in the men's restrooms.

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No, parents shouldn't expect the world to cater to them just because they have offspring, but at the same time, I don't understand the hostile feelings some have towards moms and dads of young kids. We are all humans and we were certainly all infants once.

Making the life of a parent a bit easier by providing at least a fold-down changing table in a larger restroom stall is a small price to pay for a child's comfort and a customer's happiness and loyalty. Yes, this mother should have made a different choice at the time, and should have known better than to change a diaper on a table, but I can certainly understand her frustration at the lack of amenities.

Is that something you would ever do?

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