Obama's new act requires male bathrooms to have baby-changing facilities

The BABIES Act was proposed in April

Obama's new act requires male bathrooms to have baby-changing facilities

President Barack Obama holds a baby as he greets guests attending an event to welcome participants in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride to the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 16, 2015. | Image: PA Images

President Obama signed the BABIES Act this week, requiring all bathrooms in public buildings to have changing facilities, including male bathrooms.

The bill, called the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation Act, was proposed in April by Rep. David Cicilline and co-sponsored by 26 other Democrats and one Republican. It was opposed by 34 votes, all of which were Republican, according to the official House records.

“Government needs to do more to ensure that public buildings are family-friendly. No mom or dad should ever have to worry about finding a safe, sanitary place to change their baby ― least of all in a federal building that’s paid for by taxpayers,” Cicilline stated on his website.

The law defines “baby changing facility” as “a table or other device suitable for changing the diaper of a child age 3 or under” and mandates that these facilities be “physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate”.

The changing stations aren't mandatory if the public building already has one in an accessible bathroom on the same floor or if the bathroom in the public building isn't for the public's use.

Actor Ashton Kutcher criticised the lack of changing stations available to dads in a Facebook post last year, launching a Change.org campaign calling for businesses to implement them.

There is currently no similar legislation in place in Ireland. According to their website, the Department of Justice and Equality are not preparing future legislation.