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Group of dads launches effort to add changing tables in Columbus businesses

Columbus offers free changing tables to businesses through March 31.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A family outing should not have to be cut short because of a diaper blowout. A podcaster from Westerville found out the hard way at his son’s second birthday.

“I had to take him out in the middle of October in a rainstorm in the hatchback of my Ford Escape, and change a diaper as water was dripping down my back, and families coming in and waving hello,” said Matt Lofy.

His motivation to get more public changing tables installed started right then and there. His podcast and blog work on his Dadvocate for Change campaign to push for better facilities in restrooms.

"We need to make it easier for all families to be able to change diapers in public bathrooms throughout Columbus, Ohio, and especially getting more access to men's and gender-neutral bathrooms to have changing tables,” said Lofy.

The potty plea has reached the chambers of city hall. Columbus City Council is now offering a Changing Station Accessibility Grant for up to three tables in small businesses.

“The city has provided this grant with about $150 per changing station,” said Councilmember Rob Dorans. "The businesses themselves will be responsible for installing them. But we're making sure the upfront costs of the changing station are paid for by the city.”

Dorans is part of an unofficial subcommittee of four council members known as the Dad's Caucus.

"Whether it’s your movie theater or a grocery store or a gym or a bar or restaurant,” said Dorans, “our goal is to make sure that when folks go out with their kids across the city, that they don't have to rush home, because of you know, nature calling for that little one.”

To apply for Changing Station Accessibility Grant, click here.

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