The trend in the United States is for school campuses to extend their operating hours and use their facilities to serve neighborhoods as community centers. As a result, families often “come to school” with small children. They come for weekend recreation and sports activities, and after-hours programs.
Unfortunately, the restrooms in many of these schools aren't prepared for small children. Diaper-changing often has to take place on tailgates and back seats. Also, the children often are unsupervised when their parents are using the restroom.
To address the situation, schools are equipping some of their restrooms with family-friendly accessories to serve the needs of small children. Baby changing stations are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and finishes, and can be installed on a wall or on a countertop adjacent to sinks. Sometimes they are situated inside toilet compartments.
Selections include horizontal and vertical wall-mounted and recessed models crafted of polyethylene, with stainless-steel cabinetry available.
Changing stations should:
Be equipped with full-length steel-on-steel hinges with 11-gauge mounting support.
Comply with consumer safety performance specifications in ASTM F 2285-04, with third-party confirmation of testing.
Provide a smooth, concave changing surface that has no pinch points, crevices, and other dust and dirt collection areas.
Be constructed of high-density polyethylene with stable, embedded anti-microbial technology.
Include replaceable nylon safety straps, hooks for bags and purses, instructional graphics and Braille.
Have built-in sanitary bed-liner dispensers.
An additional family-friendly accommodation is the installation of child-protection seats so children have a safe place to sit while a parent is using the restroom.
Separate from restroom facilities, family rooms provide a rest area for parents and guardians and their young children. These rooms often are equipped with baby-changing stations and child-protection seats.
Leigh, director of marketing for Koala Kare Products, Centennial, Colo.
- Read more on "Restroom maintenance tips" from the Collaborative for High Performance Schools
In inches, the bottom leading edge of a baby-changing unit (that protrudes from the wall no more than 4 inches when closed) should be installed at this height from the floor to comply with ADA regulation 4.4.1.