Diaper Changers in Restaurants

If you have small children, you probably already know finding a place to change a diaper can be difficult once you leave the house.

What you may not know is a Florida lawmaker wants to make things a little easier by requiring every restaurant and hotel to have diaper-changing tables in the restrooms.

As the mother of seven-month-old Shelby, Sen. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz knows how complicated changing a diaper can be when you're away from home. She is sponsoring a bill that would make restaurants and hotels install diaper-changing tables in both women's and men's restrooms.

"It might seem trivial to some, but if you've ever had to change a baby on the floor of a restaurant and have people stepping around you and dealing with the difficulties of that, it's a real problem."

New mom Marcia Bremer thinks it's a great idea, especially having changing tables in the men's room.

"Dads have to go change diapers to so I think they should be required to have some accommodations for children,” says Marcia.

You'll probably find a changing table in at least one restroom of most of Florida's family-style restaurants already, but fine dining is another story. One restaurant owner we talked to off-camera says frankly, an upscale eatery is no place for a young child and he doesn't appreciate government butting into his business.

Restaurant manager Matthew Lippman agrees diaper changing and dinner don't always mix.

"In fine-dining establishments where families don't usually bring their kids, I wouldn't say it should be a requirement," says Matthew Lippman, restaurant owner.

And with 42,000 restaurant licensed in Florida, critics say it will probably not be practical to require all of them to install changing tables.

Sen. Wasserman-Schultz's bill would require new buildings licensed after January 1 to have diaper changing tables in men's and women's restrooms. Existing restaurants or public lodgings would have to have the tables installed when they renew their license.