U.S. House Passes Cicilline’s BABIES Act

Sep 21, 2016

WASHINGTON – The United States House of Representatives today passed U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline’s Bathrooms Accessible for BABIES in Every Situation (BABIES) Act (H.R. 5147). Cicilline’s proposal, which is co-sponsored by 27 Democrats and one Republican, requires that all publicly-accessible, federal buildings be equipped with baby-changing facilities in both male and female restrooms.

“Federal buildings belong to the American people and they should be welcoming and accommodating to all. 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,” said Cicilline. “The BABIES Act is a commonsense proposal that makes government buildings more welcoming for families and helps promote good public health. I’m pleased that the House passed this bipartisan bill today, and I look forward to advocating for quick action by the U.S. Senate.”

Within two years of enactment of the BABIES Act, publicly-accessible federal buildings – including Congressional offices, Social Security offices, some post offices, and courthouses – will be required to have at least one baby-changing station available on each floor, as well as signage indicating the location of the nearest available baby-changing station. The General Services Administration will be required to approve baby-changing stations as “physically safe, sanitary, and appropriate.”

Nearly 80 percent of parents with children under the age of 6 have used a baby changing station, with 34 percent reporting that they use a station at least once a month.  Several cities and counties have already passed laws requiring changing tables be available in men’s and women’s restrooms, but this legislation imposes those requirements in federal buildings all over the country.

The lack of adequate baby-changing facilities in publicly-accessible federal buildings has forced some parents to change their children on the floor or on the countertop of a public restroom. Not only does this put the health and safety of the baby at risk, it also puts the health of other restroom patrons at risk. Equal access to baby changing stations in federal buildings in both men’s and women’s bathrooms across the country is essential to protecting the health and safety of children and encouraging a family friendly environment.