Social Question

answerjill's avatar

Is it appropriate to change a baby's diaper on a subway or other form of public transportation?

Asked by answerjill (5693 points ) July 2nd, 2010

I take public transit quite often, but today I saw something that I had never seen before. A woman stretched her toddler daughter(?) out on her back on the seat of the subway and then proceeded to change her diaper. (I don’t think she put a mat or blanket down first.) Just curious to find out what people out there think about this sort of thing.

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15 Answers

beccalynnx's avatar

It’s a mother’s instinct – You gotta do what you gotta do!
Of course I think it’s rather inappropriate. At least she could have put a mat or banket down, perhaps sprayed some air freshener when she was finished?

answerjill's avatar

Thanks, I am especially curious to hear from parents!

zenele's avatar

I spent most of my daughter’s first year with her – and we used a lot of public transportation. I don’t recall any emergencies that required that – there’s always a bathroom somewhere, or a park in the summer. I did, however, have to discover which men’s rooms had changing tables – not that many back in the early 90’s. I actually made a lot of complaints and did some letter writing to have that changed – it was taken for granted that only mom’s changed baby’s diapers and it was difficult to find mens rooms with changing tables.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I see no problem with it but I’m a parent of two kids under 4. Believe me, we don’t do these emergency maneuvers out of an intense need to annoy other people but because, for example, we can’t leave an infant in a poopie diaper because that will really hurt their already inflamed butt since they’ve been pooping 5x a day. And though, yes, you should put something under them, sometimes we (gasp!) forget the wee wee pad at home.

answerjill's avatar

I wasn’t particularly annoyed.

tranquilsea's avatar

I agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir if you have a baby/toddler who is prone to diaper rashes then the last thing you want is to have them sit in a poopy diaper for any length of time.

This woman you saw on the train could have been travelling all day or any number of things that caused her to need to change her child’s diaper on the train.

netgrrl's avatar

It doesn’t really bother me, and I’d certainly prefer it to hearing a cranky, wet baby.

gemiwing's avatar

I don’t mind- it makes it better when I ask to play with the baby. Non-poopy babies are more fun than sad, poopy babies.

marinelife's avatar

Are you sure she didn’t put an extra diaper down under the baby?

Seek's avatar

As a parent of a toddler, I’m with @Simone_De_Beauvoir on this one.

As soon as fecal matter comes in contact with baby’s skin, the bacteria starts eating it away. The longer it sits, the more damage is done to the delicate skin. Sometimes, you just gotta deal with it. Better a few annoyed passengers than a baby in pain.

john65pennington's avatar

Approprate may not be the key word here. mandantory smell-reduction may be a better choice.

janbb's avatar

It’s nicer all around to put a mat down under, but I agree with the “you gotta do what you gotta do” school of thought. Nobody changes a diaper on the subway for the fun of it!

YARNLADY's avatar

Oh, that poor woman. I would have placed an extra diaper or a pad under the child, or changed her on my lap – which I have actually done before. What I hate is seeing used diapers along side the road.

I personally believe in leave no trace. I don’t even leave used diapers in the trash cans unless they are outside, and then only bagged.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In an emergency if it can’t wait on going into a restroom then sure. I don’t have a hangup about seeing someone’s naked kid getting tended to but in public then I’d like as little exposure to poopy/pee smells, barf and stuff. Where I work there is a very nice restroom with changing table, double sinks, lots of light and papertowels but I still see some parents plop their kids down on the playroom carpeted floor and go at changing which does annoy me. Why can’t they walk a few feet to where clean running water and human waste specific trash cans are?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

As a young father teaching evening classes in statistics with a child on my back, I sometimes had to take a “diaper breaks” in class. It was unusual but with some forethought and planning I could handle it without offending the 50 students facing me.

A parent on public transportation can do the same.

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