When Are Baby Changing Stations Required? (5 Things to Know)

Wall-mounted baby changing stations are designed with safety in mind and are regulated by several local ordinances, as well as state and federal rules. 

Baby changing stations provide a safe and convenient place for parents and caregivers to take care of their child’s needs on the go, but exactly when are baby changing stations required?

When Are Baby Changing Stations Required?

Any space that is open to the public is required to have an operable baby changing station. In addition, these changing tables are required to be handicap accessible and available in both men’s and women’s bathroom facilities.

In addition to recommended outing heights and location suggestions, baby changing tables are also governed by federal acts, including the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Requirements of the BABIES Act

Signed into law in 2016, the BABIES act recently took effect in 2018 and was created to guarantee that baby changing stations are always available in both male and female restrooms in federal buildings throughout the country.

Additionally, the BABIES act also applies to public places such as shopping malls, grocery stores and restaurants in the state of California. New York requires that any newly constructed or substantially renovated buildings include changing stations in men’s and women’s bathrooms.

ADA Changing Station Requirements

ADA requirements are somewhat like the BABIES Act, but the ADA has been in place since 1990. Per ADA guidelines, baby changing stations must be installed in all public restrooms, including buildings like libraries and recreation centers as well as restaurants, hotels, and arenas.

The ADA mandates that baby changing stations be present in both men’s and women’s restrooms and must be placed at a height of 27 inches from the floor. ADA regulations also state that baby changing stations must be located in an area that is easily accessible and free from obstructions.

Five Tips for ADA Compliance:

  1. For smaller spaces, refer to ADA section 4.2.5, Forward Reach. This section outlines ADA guidelines pertaining to horizontal changing stations only.

  2. For medium to large spaces, ADA Section 4.2.6 (Side Reach) details the proper placement for baby changing stations to make sure they are handicap accessible. This section is specifically for installations that enable wheelchair users to approach the unit from a parallel angle and applies to both horizontal and vertical baby changing stations.

  3. Protruding Objects, ADA Section 4.4.1 is specific to baby changing stations located in hallways, aisles, and other areas joining two or more spaces. The leading edge of the changing station should be no higher than 27 inches off the floor or ground. Any wall-mounted object should not protrude so much that it obstructs the safe maneuvering of a wheelchair.

  4. ADA Section 4.27.4, Operation is related to the controls used to open and close the charging station along with the straps to secure the child while the station is in use. All control mechanisms should be easily within reach, move without excessive force, and must be operable with one hand without causing injury.

  5. The ADA has specific instructions regarding braille for visually impaired persons. Baby changing stations made of Polyethylene must have braille usage instructions embedded into the unit. Stainless steel models require that braille labels are affixed to the unit and these labels must be ordered separately.

Allied is Here to Help

The ADA is intended to make sure all baby changing stations are safely installed and can be used by both non-disabled and disabled persons, including those who use wheelchairs or are visually impaired.

For the widest selection of ADA-compliant baby changing stations and expert advice, contact Allied at 1-800-535-4393.

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