INDIANAPOLIS — A stay-at-home dad says a McDonald’s restaurant on the south side of Indianapolis removed the baby changing station from its men’s restroom during a remodel, and he’s calling for its return.
Chris Brand contacted WXIN after more than a year trying to get the issue resolved with McDonald’s managers.
Brand used to take his young daughter to the location at US 31 and Stop 11 Road all the time, but after the restaurant remodeled he noticed the change.
“I walked into the bathroom and all of a sudden, there’s no changing station,” Brand said.
Brand talked to managers and even contacted McDonald’s corporate. He says someone did call him and said they would look into installing a changing station, but that never happened.
“It was a place where I had gone before and I felt like I could go and change my child if I needed to while we were eating, but now all of a sudden I felt like I wasn’t wanted there anymore,” Brand said.
WXIN visited three other south side McDonald’s locations and found changing stations in all of their men’s bathrooms.
David Siler, president of the nonprofit Families First, said he and others at his organization, which offers counseling to families in crisis, just talked about the issue of baby changing tables in men’s restrooms when they designed the building layout for their new location, which opened in March.
“We thought it wasn’t really an optional thing because we wanted to give the option for both men and women to be able to participate in one of the difficult parenting chores of changing their baby,” Siler said. “We obviously are really supportive of moms and dads playing a really critical role in their children’s lives. We think it’s really important.”
Siler noted that while it’s not a legal requirement to add a changing table to a men’s restroom, it is increasingly standard in public places. Siler stayed at home with his first child, who is now in his 20’s, and said at the time things were much different.
“I remember many times having to take … my son out into the parking lot and use the floor of the car or a trunk of the car,” Siler said.
WXIN reached out to the McDonald’s corporate office and received a statement from the local owner of the southside location.
Owner/operator Pete Wojtowicz gave the following response:
As a 35-year McDonald’s franchisee and local business owner, my commitment to families is very important to me. I have been in contact with the customer who brought this matter to our attention to discuss whether it is possible to configure the men’s restroom with a baby changing table while still complying with other important obligations such as safety and accessibility. I appreciate the feedback and hope our customers continue to share what will improve their experience at McDonald’s.
Brand said he hopes this time, the restaurant will follow through and add the changing station. His daughter has since potty-trained, but he recently noticed the location advertising kids’ nights for other parents.
“I don’t need to use it anymore, but there are still a lot of dads out there who would,” Brand said.