Miami dads may have run out of luck why it comes to sharing diaper duty. Soon city buildings and public parks in Miami will be equipped with diaper-changing stations — in both male and female restrooms.
"It’s a crutch for them — they use it as an excuse not to have to change the baby,” said Carol Warren, referring to the fact that men’s restrooms very rarely have changing stations.
On Thursday Miami City Commissioners voted to approve “Briana’s Bill.” The measure will add 165 changing areas to city buildings like City Hall. Currently, there are only about 35 existing stations, none in men’s restrooms.
"The car would be the changing station. Sometimes it would be difficult to get out to the car. Sometimes the car was very hot, especially in the summers here in Miami,” said Bill, as he remembered how challenging it was to find a spot to change his children’s diapers.
Another dad, Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo, also experienced that dilemma. Carollo is sponsoring “Briana’s Bill," which is named after his 1-year-old daughter.
Carollo said he encountered the diaper-changing problem every time he brought his little one to City Hall and other city buildings.
"It’s going to make the city more family-oriented, more children-friendly," Carollo said.
But not everyone is in favor of the diaper changes. The measure is expected to cost $45,000. The Miami Fraternal Order of Police has maintained its department saw too many cuts over the last few years, and the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Originally Carollo had proposed using Homeland Security bonds to pick up the tab.
“Homeland Defense bond money should be used for things that the city desperately needs. Bond money shouldn’t be used like a black American Express with no credit limit,” wrote Javier Ortiz, the vice president of the police union, in an email.
He added that the money would be better spent on important defense equipment like a bomb squad truck.
After a heated argument, the bill was approved by commissioners, but only after an important amendment. The money will now be raised through the private sector.
"If the bottom line is the police union will be happy with this, and I can raise the money from the private sector, so be it,” Carollo said.
The diaper changing station installations are expected to begin as early as next month.