The new ‘potty parity’ law will go into effect in 180 days and mandates that diaper changing stations be available to all New Yorkers in public spaces such as theaters, museums and shopping malls.
Potty Parity is now law in NYC. Yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill, sponsored by Council Member Espinal, which requires that public buildings provide diaper changing stations to all New York City parents. With the new law, the city is one of the first in the nation to make this enforcement in new or recently renovated buildings.
“After witnessing a father changing his daughter’s diaper on an unsanitary sink in a public space, 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,” said Espinal. “Requiring diaper changing stations in all public restrooms, regardless of gender, will go a long way to promote gender equity and encourage dads to also be on diaper duty.”
The law will go into effect in 180 days and requires that diaper changing stations be available to all, regardless of gender identity, where public restrooms are available in spaces such as theaters, bowling alleys, museums and shopping malls. This requirement will only apply to new constructions and substantial renovations. Building owners who violate the new law could face fines ranging from $300 to $1,600 if someone complains about a lack of changing tables.
“The challenges of parenting are so often seen from a mother’s perspective that we tend to overlook the obstacles that fathers face daily,” said Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo. “Every parent, regardless of gender, should have the same resources to ensure that they can provide the best level of care to their child(ren).”
In 2015, actor Ashton Kutcher famously spearheaded the “potty parity” movement before President Obama signed into law the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act (BABIES), requiring restrooms in publicly accessible federal buildings to have diaper changing stations.
Over the last three years, New York City has made some significant strides towards gender parity: The city has passed legislation to create citywide lactation rooms at social service agencies, to provide extensive maternal health services through ThriveNYC and to offer universal Pre-K and 3-K.