Visiting a public bathroom has never been my idea of fun. Now that I usually have two young kids in tow when I do visit the restroom, I have come to realize one thing. Clueless men and women without children are designing many of the public restrooms I frequent. This must be true as no mother in their right mind would equip bathrooms would certain features if they had young kids.
1. Stall doors with an actual door handle and an easy unlock feature. Turn the handle once and the door is instantly opened.
Try going to the bathroom with a 3 year old and an almost two year old. Invariably one of them (usually the youngest) will want to pull on the door handle which in turns opens the door. This is not good when I’m in midstream with my pants still down and a woman waiting on the other side. This just happened to me last week.
2. Stalls with very short partitions.
Do not give my kids any extra incentive to sneak a peek under the stall or even worse, try to escape while I’m indisposed and can’t chase after them.
3. Loud and overly sensitive automatic flushing systems
Don’t get me wrong. Anything that keeps my kids from touching that horrendous handle on the old style toilets is great. I like to flush those with my foot and it is comical to watch my oldest try to mimic this action. But there is no reason that the automatic flush needs to be freakishly loud or go off when they are still using the toilet and scare the bejesus out of them.
4. Sinks which are too high for a child to reach the water. (I don’t even mean the faucet handle, I mean the stream of water itself.)
5. Soap which is in an awkward position and hard to dispense.
6. No step stool for kids to stand on.
Because of number 4, 5 and 6 I am invariably lifting one of my kids up with one hand while trying to push the button for soap with the thumb of my free cupped hand and catch it just so I can give some to my kiddo. I then have to hold my kid over the sink while he slowly washes then takes forever to rinse his hands. Never fails that they he wants to touch the bubbles that have formed at the base of the sink and I’m stuck rinsing them yet again. While I’m busy with my oldest it is a prime opportunity for youngest to get into trouble.
7. Hand dryers are the only available option.
While I realize that this is meant to be earth friendly, try getting two squirmy kids to wait long enough under a dryer to actually dry their hands. (Not that I can blame them, these drive me nuts too.) Hand dryers are also scary for some kids. My three year old honestly asks to dry his hands on my pants. Hmm…I wonder where he got that idea from? Paper towels are quick and easy and I get to leave the bathroom with dry pants.
8. Hand dryers which are too high.
Even though my youngest enjoys having his hands under the dryer, unless I pick him up he is getting a full blown blast of hot air into his face. If it is automatic and only turns on when his hands are underneath it is constantly turning on and off as he isn’t consistently holding his hands in the proper spot.
9. Diaper changing station out in the open.
I love it when these are located within a stall. While you may have to wait until that stall becomes free, you get to change you child with a little privacy. Most other bathroom guests I would assume do not really enjoy looking at your child’s poop smeared butt. As a mom who is occasionally stuck doing this I hate the feeling of all eyes on me as I change my son’s diaper.
10. Swinging doors.
Seriously what are some people thinking? That is just a recipe for disaster with a young kid who is attracted like a magnet to a door that swings open. Either it knocks back into him or he gets whacked as someone is coming into the restroom. While I appreciate not having to touch a door handle and the nasty germs it collects, it definitely isn’t kid friendly.
Who passes and fails this test for me locally?
FAILS MISERABLY: McDonald’s
Ironically it is my local McDonald’s that was the inspiration for this post. While the bathrooms are very new and you would assume kid friendly, I am driven insane every time I’m forced to use them. My McDonald’s violates more than half of the complaints listed above.
PASSES AS THE MOST KID FRIENDLY BATHROOM I’VE ENCOUNTERED: Barnes & Noble.
They have a small step stool available along with paper towels easily in reach next to the sink. There is even a diaper changing station and diaper genie located in their handicap accessible stall. It is the only bathroom I’ve been in that included a step stool and now I find every bathroom that doesn’t have it lacking. Since we attend a weekly story time and use the bathroom with each visit, I certainly appreciate these small conveniences.
Now it is your chance to spill. Anything in particular drive you nuts when you visit a public restroom with kids?