When diaper duty calls, changing tables are a must.
That’s why Florida dad Donte Palmer, whose struggle to change his son’s diaper in a restaurant bathroom went viral last year, is joining forces with diaper brand Pampers to equip thousands of men’s public restrooms with changing stations.
The effort is part of Pampers new “Love the Change” campaign, in which the company pledges to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s bathrooms across America and Canada by 2021.
“It really blew my mind to get a call from Pampers,” Palmer told Atlanta Black Star in an exclusive interview. “It’s really mind-blowing, and I’m just excited to be in the loop with Pampers and Koala Kare, and to get started.”
The baby care brand says it found through its research that 90 percent of fathers have walked into a public restroom only to realize there’s no changing table. For Palmer, the scene is all too familiar.
The Florida educator and father of three made headlines in 2018 when he posted a picture of himself struggling to do the oftentimes messy task of changing his son’s diaper. With no changing station in sight, Palmer was forced to handle his infant’s diaper emergency by sumo-squatting against the stall of a restaurant bathroom, creating a makeshift table with his lap.
Although hilarious, the photo sparked a much-needed conversation about the lack of diaper-changing resources in men’s public restrooms.
“It got a bigger response,” Palmer said of the post. “And it was a lot of dads and moms from around the world saying, ‘Hey, we’re experiencing this too.'”
Now the doting dad is working with Pampers as well as fellow father and R&B singer John Legend to begin addressing the issue.
Over the next two years, Pampers, in collaboration with janitorial supplier Koala Kare, will provide diaper changing stations for installation in men’s restrooms in “high-need” public locations. These places include your local parks, libraries, and community and recreation centers in cities including Dallas, Cincinnati, and Detroit, just to name a few.
After going viral, Palmer launched a movement of his own called #SquatforChange to provide diaper-changing stations to all public designated restrooms. What started as a local push for change has since grown into a nationwide effort to give hands-on dads the proper changing resources they need.
“People may say, ‘Oh, it’s only 5,000 changing tables,'” he told ABS. “But these 5,000 changing tables will impact tens of thousands of … hands-on fathers like myself and John Legend to [be able to] take our babies and change them peacefully and not worry about putting them on a dirty floor or on top of a toilet tank.”
“It got to the point where I don’t go to certain places because I know they don’t have changing tables,” Palmer added. “It happens a lot.”
Fathers aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from having access to changing tables. According to Koala Kare, third-party market research has shown that “parents are more loyal, visit more often and spend more money” at businesses and other commercial establishments that provide high-quality, well-maintained child care amenities.
With 500 locations already identified, installations are set to start in the next few weeks, according to a company press release. Parents across the nation have since begun sharing their favorite baby bonding moments via the hashtag #LoveTheChange to help contribute to the provision of more restroom changing stations.
“This initiative we’re pushing with Pampers is really going to end that cycle of the lack of changing tables so that fathers around the country and Canada can embrace bonding with their children as they’re changing them,” Palmer said.
Watch more in the video below.