Time for a Change

Fathers can take their turn at diaper duty with ease at the Children's Museum in Boston. Baby-changing tables have been installed in both the men's and women's restrooms. The idea also belongs in airports, restaurants and other public places.

Babies are more than tolerated at the museum. Infants have a special section in the "Play Space" exhibit, which was designed for children under 5. Although some babies simply arrive with an older brother or sister during a family visit, others are brought in by themselves by what one museum spokesperson described as "precocious parents."

Whatever the reason, baby-changing tables in men's rooms are an acknowledgment of the changing times. A 1980s father is expected to share child-rearing duties, including the responsibilities that were once reserved for mothers. In turn, 1980s babies are expected to go along--strapped into car seats, backpacks and other contraptions--unlike the babies of earlier generations who spent their earliest months at home.

The Boston Children's Museum isn't alone in this recognition of the changing family structure. A changing table was installed eight months ago in the men's room at the Los Angeles Children's Museum. The babies who depend on Dad to keep them fresh are grateful.

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