Monday, June 6, 2016

8 Ways Public Restrooms Suck When You're a Parent

I'm excited to introduce you guys to Katelyn Fagan from What's Up Fagans? She's here to tell us all about every parent's worst nightmare: the public restroom. Have you ever avoided taking a kid to pee at the mall? Then she knows exactly how you feel.

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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.

I’ve done the mom life thing for 14 years now and I can definitely say there’s not much I hate more than taking my toddlers into public restrooms. A quick trip to the bathroom is now a germ-infested free-for-all that makes me never want to leave the house with my kids again! #parentinghumor #toddlers

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.

Here's a trick - Put toilet paper over the sensor. Way better than squeezing behind the toilet seat while carrying a purse and/or another child, in order to place your hand in front of the sensor the entire time.

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

8 Ways Public Restrooms Suck When You're a Parent -- Taking your kid to pee at the mall is every parent's worst nightmare... for all of these 8 reasons.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Nice one, bathroom designers.
When your child is three feet tall, everything is too tall in the restroom.

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.)

8 Ways Public Restrooms Suck When You're a Parent -- Taking your kid to pee at the mall is every parent's worst nightmare... for all of these 8 reasons.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
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?

About the Author:
Katelyn Fagan is a young Latter-day Saint wife and homeschooling mom of four kids: twin 6-year-old girls, a 3-year-old boy, and an 8-month-old baby girl. She likes to keep a sense of humor about the challenges that come from raising kids, living in an apartment, trying to keep a clean home, and staying sane. You can find her tips on raising kids, pinching pennies, and living simply over on her fun and practical blog What's up Fagans?. Grab a copy of her laundry stain removal cheat sheet, then be sure to follow her on social media: Facebook | Pinterest | TwitterInstagram..

I’ve done the mom life thing for 14 years now and I can definitely say there’s not much I hate more than taking my toddlers into public restrooms. A quick trip to the bathroom is now a germ-infested free-for-all that makes me never want to leave the house with my kids again! #parentinghumor #toddlers

I’ve done the mom life thing for 14 years now and I can definitely say there’s not much I hate more than taking my toddlers into public restrooms. A quick trip to the bathroom is now a germ-infested free-for-all that makes me never want to leave the house with my kids again! #parentinghumor #toddlers

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AnneMarie said...

I don't take little kids to the restroom with me (yet), but I still think that automatic toilets are awful. Seriously! They always start to flush before I'm ever ready for them to!

Katy said...

YESSSSS. The air dryers drive me nuts. Too loud (or too wimpy to dry anything) and they frighten my daughter.

Nice to meet ya here!

Anonymous said...

I bring a pack of baby wipes with me and the boys are told we have wipes just line up now and I'll do your hands, cuts out the sink, soap, dryer and bin problems. My six year old is now fighting to go in with me but I don't want him in a public toilet with out an adult he knows with him, it's getting difficult as they get older....lots of baby wipes!

PurpleSlob said...

Oh my! Katelyn! I feel your pain! I have an almost 3 yo grand daughter, and it is HORRIBLE!! Yeah, what IS up with that gap??? It pinches too!!
and the flushes, and heights, and on and on...
Now her sister is 2 months old. Dreading the day (about 2 1/2 yrs away) When they both have to go! At the SAME EXACT time of course!!
And I have "urgency" issues of my own, so....
Thanks for this article.
Maybe if we start a petition????? ALL parents have the same problems!!

Katelyn Fagan said...

Right! Even as an adult I don't like them!

Katelyn Fagan said...

Yes, or some hand sanitizer too. Unfortunately, my purse/diaper bag isn't always as stocked as it should be...

Katelyn Fagan said...

Agree. A petition for better bathrooms everywhere! I don't know why bathrooms are soooo different from place to place. And yes, multiple children going at the same time is terribly fun.

Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood said...

This is amazing. For one, WTF is up with not haivng changing tables everywhere? BEfore you have kids, you just assume they are. After, you realize that no where you frequent has them. Not cool.
My FAVORITE place to go is Babies R Us because they have little seats your can sit and buckle your kids into while you use the bathroom and it's basically magical.

Queen Mom Jen said...

Oh yes. My 3 year old is scared of the sound of the flush in public restrooms and screams loudly when people a stall over flush. Fun times, huh?

Jenny Evans said...

Those things are awesome. Never had the pleasure of using one, but I have seen them paces and think they're genius every time.

Jenny Evans said...

I bet that scares the daylights out of the neighbors!

Julie @ Just the Joy's said...

I loathe the day I have to learn how to take my children into public restrooms. I avoid them for my own use as it is because they are so gross!

Jenny Evans said...

If you think that's gross, just wait til you get to take them into port-a-potties!

Katelyn Fagan said...

Yes!! Those little seats are AMAZING!

Katelyn Fagan said...

LOL. Jenny makes a good point! Although mine haven't been too disgusted by those. I mean, there aren't loud sounds in them, just *loud* smells. So there's that going for them.

Katelyn Fagan said...

My favorite of taking my kids to the restroom with other people in there is when they start narrating their "business." "Mom, poop is coming out of my butt!" I hear lots of chuckling from stall neighbors. ha ha ha.

Jenny Evans said...

I don't mind that so much as when they start commenting on or asking questions about things they're hearing going on in the stalls next to us (i.e: "that lady farted!") That's when we have to hide in our stall in shame until the other person washes her hands and leaves.

Katelyn Fagan said...

Thanks! Nice to meet ya over here too!

Kelly said...

My son hates public bathrooms! He'd rather piss himself. Sooo frustrating!

Anonymous said...

I have a potty training 3 year old, we've been working at it for a year, and her favorite thing in the public restroom is the sanitary trash cans right in her little arms reach all my germaphobianess inside me dies every time. I think she is more drawn to it because I tell her no yucky. YUCKY!!!!!

Jenny Evans said...

There's nothing worse than the little sanitary box. Right at eye-level for a toddler. It's worse than the alarm button on elevators!

PurpleSlob said...

Katelyn, today I linked to Jenny and you for this post.