Jacksonville dad fuels nationwide movement to provide 5,000 changing tables in men's restrooms

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It started with a picture of a local father that went viral.

Donte Palmer fueled a nationwide movement.

The photo shows Palmer squatting in a men’s restroom at a restaurant in Jacksonville so he could change his son’s diaper because there wasn’t a changing table.

Palmer said he posted the picture for his family to see, but it resonated with parents worldwide.

STORY: Jax councilman wants baby-changing tables more available in public buildings

“To see so many dads from across the world, from Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, back to the states, it’s mind-blowing,” Palmer said.

A diaper company’s recent survey found 90% of dads have gone into a public bathroom without a baby changing table.

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“No father, no mother should be changing their child on a dirty floor or on the sink or on top of the toilet tank,” Palmer said.

Palmer teamed up with Pampers and Koala Kare to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s public restrooms across the U.S. and Canada by 2021.

Pampers committed $1 million to the initiative.

On Tuesday, Palmer helped install a changing table at 1st Impressions Barbershop on Old St. Augustine Road.

“For this to be like the first in Jacksonville at a barbershop where dads come, it means a lot,” Palmer said. “It’s really exciting.”

Palmer said he picked a barbershop because it’s a place where dad’s come with their children.

The owner of the barbershop, TJ Williams, said the changing table makes his business stand out.

“One of my clients actually just changed his 3-month-old on my waiting bench in the waiting area.

"He don’t have to do that anymore,” Williams said.

Palmer said stories like that show him the effort he put into the initiative is paying off. And, for Palmer, it means so much more.

“To have my boys and my wife look at me and knowing that I’m doing something for the world, it means a lot. It’s an honor,” Palmer said.

Pampers and Koala Kare said they will identify high-need public locations and provide baby changing tables for installation.

The first 500 locations have already been identified and installation is expected to be complete over the coming weeks.

The next stops include Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago, among other cities.

Pampers said it’s closely monitoring social media for requests.

If you want a changing table in your business, use the hashtag #LoveTheChange and someone from Pampers will be in touch.

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