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Baby change facilities for men – Japanese style

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baby changing facilities, baby change, baby change station, men's toilets, men's lavatories

I’m not in the habit of publishing images taken outside public lavatories. What you see here, however, is worthy of comment. It is a sign outside a lavatory in Japan that offers considerably more than somewhere to do a number one or a number two.

The picture was taken by an old work colleague of mine called Karen Li while she was on holiday. Karen is the rarest of people, not only incredibly thoughtful but also a former work colleague I actually want to stay in touch with. She took this image having read my recent post about the poor state of baby changing facilities available for men in the UK.

To quote Karen directly: “Japan has this worked out well. Disabled toilets are multi-purpose rooms with nappy changing facilities and sick bay even.”

So there you have it, it’s not a disabled toilet, but a “multi-purpose room” that men and women can use for changing the baby. It’s a somewhat different approach to ours in the UK and presumably disabled users aren’t inconvenienced or locked out as they would be in Blighty.

It also calls into question a national stereotype. I was of the opinion that gender roles were very rigid in Japan and men didn’t do things like change nappies. How wrong I seem to have been.

I should add that Karen also writes a very entertaining blog called The Year of forty and Beyond. I recommend you have a read, especially if you’re into tales of life as an expat with a young family.

So what’s your experience of changing facilities overseas? Can you recommend a nation of people that have this well and truly sewn up? Or have you had horrendous experiences while on holiday you’d prefer never to repeat?

11 thoughts on “Baby change facilities for men – Japanese style”

  1. Having travelled to Australia last year with a 5 month old I have found that the Westfield company (who have several shopping malls in Sydney and around Australia) have got it sewn up in terms of baby changing and feeding. They have what they call ‘family rooms’ – which are brilliant and so reassuring to know they have taken the hassle of changing a wriggly baby and a challenging toddler and provided a service that makes things easier. It was great! I even checked whether this had translated into their recent openings in London at Stratford and Shepards Bush which I was pleased to note it did – other shopping centres and public places such as airports should take note!
    http://uk.westfield.com/london/kids/kids-services/london-family-rooms
    Also wanted to point out I don’t work for them – but was just so impressed I felt compelled to post!!

    1. I was in a Westfield a month or so ago and I failed to spot the ‘family room’ but I will keep this in miknd next time I visit. Or indeed, if I’m lucky enough to go down under. Thanks for commenting.

  2. What kind words for an old work colleague. Thank you.

    The other observation I made was the frequent availability of baby change facilities in Japan that were clean and spacious. Not just in shopping malls but in train stations, on trains and inside the temples too. Including nursing rooms. I was very impressed.

    When I made a trip to Hong Kong a couple of years ago, I was appalled at the lack of facilities for anyone to change a nappy or feed a baby.

  3. I just moved to the UK last year and I was shocked by how difficult to find a toilet for children when we are out and about. Not only how they have baby changing facilities in lots of toilets but the number of the toilet is a thing. In Japan toiltets are everywhere! Those disable toilets are often called “universal toilet” or “Everyone’s toilet” nowadays. See, it’s big enough for people who carries a buggy. Here in the UK, Starbucks is a place with a family friendly toilet I found so far…. Tho… Condition isn’t great…..

    1. I tell you Nana, I’ve just today been to a newly-refurbished cafe. The women’s toilet was also the disabled toilet and the only one to have changing facilities in it. Good luck if you happened to be a wheelchair using man with an infant!

  4. Tom @Ideas4Dads

    We are currently on holiday in the UK and the number of toilets we have visited that dont have a gents baby changing option is staggering – I feel a campaign coming on….

    1. Interestingly, I was in a furniture store the other day. I won’t name it, but it is a large, famous, Scandinavian business. There was one change facility in the ladies’ and one in the disabled toilets. The signs on the doors were of women wearing skirts changing a nappy. Must. do. better.

  5. Pingback: Baby change facilities – a new weekly feature | Dad Blog UKBaby change facilities - a new weekly feature - Dad Blog UK

  6. Karan johar asked if he changes his babies nappies he said i don’t change. I am terrible at change the nappies. And i don’t want my babies to have badly change nappies. I love them and I adore them there are my life but i don’t change there nappies

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