This post contains affiliate links.
It's very likely that before having kids you never thought very hard about the restroom you frequented when out in public. Your worst fear was that a stall wouldn't have toilet paper, or someone hadn't flushed the toilet, or that you had to stand in line.
But, once you have a child, you realize how terribly designed and poorly thought-out a vast majority of restrooms are for small children and babies. In fact, many are downright cruel.
1. The Automatic Toilets
I'm gonna start off with this "genius" idea that germophobes/clean freaks invented: automatic toilets. Automatic toilets to a child are akin to a monster reaching their hand from the depth of the toilet pipes and trying to drag them down the drain.
As a newly potty trained child of about two or three, my daughter was traumatized at a public park when she was happily sitting down, doing her thing in the restroom, and the toilet monster "Auto Flush" scared the living daylights out of her. She flew (literally FLEW) off the toilet seat and lay face-down, bare-bummed, onto the nasty restroom floor crying hysterically.
Now, as a 6-year-old she still hates automatic toilets, but can finally manage to do her business without flipping out.
2. The Dyson Airblade Hand Dryer (or any hand dyer)
I'm going to assume you know exactly what hand dryer I am talking about, but here's a picture in case you don't.
Before kids, you think these hand dryers are the thing of the future! Dry both hands in a matter of seconds? No paper towel waste? Awesome sauce! What could be better?
Lots of things. Like paper towels.
These "wave of the future" dryers are extremely loud. When you are, say, changing an infant right next to it, your baby will most likely flip out. Even when a child is old enough to use it themselves, they often don't want to, for the same reason — it's so dang loud.
Even traditional hand dryers are a pain. If kids can even reach them to turn them on, they're still standing directly below the blower getting hot air blown right into their face. Everyone loves that....
Lastly, if a public restroom only has hand dryers, and you forgot diaper wipes, or you need to clean up your child's mess/spill/bodily fluid, or you need to wrap up a child's messy poop-stained clothes, you are sorta out of luck. Try using the single ply toilet paper.
3. The largest stalls have the tallest toilets
I am all for handicap accessibility, and understand why their commodes are higher up. But when you escort small kids you also need the largest stall, which is the handicap stall.
Unfortunately, this also means that the toilet seat is super-high for your child, and with their blossoming independence this can lead to some scary incidents of kids placing hands and faces and more directly onto (or in! Eek!) the toilet seat.
4. Everything Is Too Tall
|Nice one, bathroom designers.|
They may magically reach the water in the sink, only to find the soap dispenser and paper towels an additional foot or two higher on the wall.
Even trash cans can be hard to reach, especially if they're underneath the hole in the counter. Door locks and sometimes even the flush handle can be out of reach!
The other day my three year old experienced a new item that was too tall for him in the restroom — the toilet paper itself! Even with a small strip hanging down from the dispenser, he couldn't reach it! I didn't try it myself, but even I may have had to lift my tush off the seat in order to grab some!
5. Some Restrooms Don't Have a Changing Table
Apparently, it's only cool to complain about no changing tables in a restroom if you're Ashton Kutcher, but any way the message gets across to store owners that baby changing tables are a must for their customers, I'm totally okay with.
There have been way too many times when I've changed a baby in my lap, on a slanted car seat, or in the back of my vehicle's trunk because a place lacked proper facilities. A few times I changed a diaper (quickly and discretely) while sitting somewhere in the establishment.
And seriously, put them in the men's room too!
6. Counters Are Too Deep
There is something fancy about big, pretty sinks and counters. But they also mean that your child can't reach the sink handles, push buttons, or auto sensors at the back, let alone the soap dispenser above said deep counter.
These deep counters mean practically pulling a child's arm out of its socket to reach the water or soap, or finding a way to use your own hands while simultaneously handling a child in a public restroom that's a minefield of nasty. It's also likely your child may have indents in their abdomen from leaning so hard and so far forward to reach.
I rarely find a public restroom that keeps a stool in the restroom that would help remedy this situation...
7. The Gap in the Seat
I have zero idea why it's so popular for public restroom toilet seats to have a space in the very front of it. Like, someone decided the front portion of the seat was optional, and was a smart way to save a few cents in production.
This cheapskate decision means that many a child's small bum slips between the gap, as well as increases the likelihood of them accidentally peeing on their clothes (even when female.)
|Ah, toilet gaps. How I love to hate thee...|
8. NOT Family-Friendly
If you are a parent to multiple young children, then you fully understand the horror that is restroom trips.
Fitting 3 or 4 children and yourself in one tiny restroom is not for the faint of heart, especially if all of them don't have to use the facilities. It leaves too much empty time, too much freedom in a room full of germs.
Many times I have a child sliding themselves along the restroom floor, sitting on the floor, messing with the tiny trash cans in the stall (full of other people's bodily fluids), and occasionally putting things in their mouths or tasting/licking surfaces.
(It's worse if you actually need to go — I may or may not have used a toilet while wearing my daughter in a baby carrier on my chest.) Family restrooms help, but nothing can fully prepare you for the stress that is multiple children in a restroom at the same time.
Trips to public restrooms as a parent really are things nightmares are made of, but at least they're helping build up my child's immune system, my nerves, and my patience.
Oh, and hey, a lot of restrooms have the automatic soap dispensers going for them. If they are at the appropriate height and counter depth, they are fantastic. Automatic soap dispensers for the win!
What do you hate about public restrooms now that you are a parent?