I don't know about you, but I believe that everyone should have the right to be able to breath and pee for free? Lets just say that I feel that that these are two of what should be our inalienable rights. However, unfortunately for a lot of people in our world today this is just not the case.
I will cover the breathing part of this in a different blog post but today I wanted to talk a little on the "other".
Above is a photo of one of the many examples of toilets that I come across. This one was taken on our Lake district trip at the beginning of the year.....public toilets with a physical barrier and a price tag! I get frustrated that I have to pay to get through a barrier when I need to use a PUBLIC convenience... but there are many hidden physical barriers for a lot of people and even bigger prices to pay when it comes down to toileting.
I have been meaning to write this blog post for quite some time but I was motivated today to write this after seeing a change.org petition on Facebook....
To Ensure Equality of Access to Disabled Toilets For All by Making the Provision of Changing Places Toilets Mandatory in the Buildings Mentioned in BS 8300:2009
This petition is close to my heart for a number of reasons. As many of you know Heni turned 20 in July... that means 20 years of nappies! (actually it's 22 if I'm being accurate, because she has an older brother).
For many parents of disabled children, that means we have to change our children when we are out and about at the shops, on day trips, in museums, at hospital appointments.... basically everywhere! For a while, when she was very little, we could get by using the changing tables in the baby changing facilities but then she outgrew these and became too heavy to reliably and safely use the pull down tables (or fit on the wall mounted baby benches).
What about disabled toilet facilities I hear you say? Well they are ok..... IF you can transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet and then use a toilet! But, there are many children like Heni who fall in that middle ground..... too big for baby tables AND not able to use the disabled toileting facilities as they currently stand. The plane fact of the matter and end result IS that many parents just like us, end up having to change our children on a dirty grubby floor of a public toilet because there are no facilities that cater to their needs.
As Lorna Fillingham states in the petition:-
this "is unsanitary, unhygienic and in my mind inhumane as well as undignified. I don't know what body fluids may have spilled there, or what might have come in on someone's wheelchair wheels, this in my eyes is a completely unacceptable and unreasonable situation for anybody to be exposed to".
I agree... this seems a rather heavy price to pay? These individuals need a different type of facility.... the type that the petition I saw earlier today is asking parliament to provide.
This is what is being asked for :-
|Specialist equipment needed in a Changing Places toilet||Requirements to meet the Changing Places standard|
|A height adjustable, adult sized changing bench||The changing bench must be a minimum length of 1800mm and width of 800mm
The bench must be height-adjustable
The bench can be either free-standing or wall mounted.
|A tracking hoist system, or mobile hoist||A track hoist system (either wall or ceiling mounted) is strongly preferred.
A mobile hoist is permissible if a track hoist cannot be installed.
The hoist should provide access to the toilet, washbasin, changing bench and open space to transfer.
The hoist should conform to BS EN ISO 10535
|Adequate space in the changing area for the disabled person and up to two carers||The changing places facility must be 3m x 4m or the equivalent floor space of 12m2, with a minimum ceiling height of 2.4m|
|A centrally placed toilet with space either side for the carers||A toilet must be placed in a peninsular arrangement, at least 1m away from the wall on either side.
The toilet should have a seat height of 480mm
The toilet can be a standard manual toilet.
A close coupled or wash-and-dry toilet could be provided, but is not a requirement.
|A screen or curtain to allow the disabled person and carer some privacy||A dignity screen/curtain should be provided|
|Wide tear off paper roll to cover the bench||Wide tear off paper roll must be provided in a dispenser to the adjacent bench|
|A large waste bin for disposable pads||A large waste bin for disposable pads must be provided|
|A non-slip floor||A non-slip floor must be provided|
|Washbasin||Standard washbasins are acceptable.
If possible, a height adjustable model should be provided.
The washbasin must have clear knee space below the bowl.
If the washbasin is not height adjustable, the basin should be installed 720-740mm from the floor.
|Shower/floor drain||Showers are not a requirement of Changing Places. |
A shower/floor drain should be considered for specific relevant type of managed buildings such as leisure centres and transport hubs
Not only would it provide dignity and basic comfort to those whose needs are being taken care of but it may also spare a lot of parents backs ....
Parliament debated on this matter two weeks ago but pressure is still needed to help push this change through. IF you feel that you can help break the barriers to toileting facilities for people like Heni I would encourage you to sign the petition to help boost the numbers and rally the support that it so rightly deserves. This may seem like a small thing but it is actually a BIG deal for people like us and especially for our children.
This will hopefully lead to a "truly accessible toilet" or "changing facilities" that covers EVERYONES needs.
To sign the petition you can click here