Yesterday, I took my LOs to an FEC (Family Entertainment Center), which has lots of toys, indoor playground equipment, etc. The set-up is one giant room with couches integrated throughout. There’s a café off to the side with tables, but eating is permitted anywhere on the premises.
At one point, DS (age 20 months) started reeking like poo, so I took him to change his diaper. The place was PACKED, and it was lunchtime. All of the tables and couches were filled with people eating. The bathroom was not an option. Even with a belt, DS is uncontrollable on the changing table, and it presents a falling hazard. The bathroom floor is unsanitary. I finally found a place by the side of a couch where my friends were sitting and changed a very messy diaper.
Twenty minutes later, an employee approached me and told me VERY kindly and politely that somebody had complained about me changing a diaper in “the eating area.” She explained that they didn’t like to see that while eating their lunch.
I replied just as politely that while I was sorry to offend customers, I was also in sort of a bind. I explained that bathroom changing tables don’t work with a squirmy toddler (and can even be a hazard), and the bathroom floor wasn't the most sanitary option. (I do use a changing pad, but DS is constantly squirming off of that! His poo stays contained on the pad when he does that, so I just use a sanitary wipe to get it off when I’m done). The employee was really sweet and promised to work with management to brainstorm some solutions.
I should make it clear that nobody involved over-reacted—not me, not the employee, and frankly, not even the customer who complained. I totally get not wanting to see a poopy diaper while you eat lunch! I’m just not sure what I should have done in that situation.
There weren’t really any remote places there. I agree that the sanitary aspect of changing a diaper (blech!) needs to be balanced with the need to find a sanitary place to do it. I'm just not sure how to strike that balance. (Read: I really do want to do the right thing, so no flames, please! )
It also got me thinking….most public places aren’t even half as accommodating as this business, which is clearly designed for small children. What is the right thing to do when you’re in public, the bathroom isn’t an option, and there’s no room in your car? How do YOU deal with changing your tot’s diaper in public?
Edited by Turquesa - 3/29/11 at 4:52pm