NEW YORK – Parents and caregivers with small babies and toddlers will have easier access to places of entertainment under legislation written and introduced by Astoria Assemblymember Aravella Simotas which will make spaces more accommodating and family friendly.
The Family Accommodation in Entertainment Act (A9775) would help to bring down the barriers and solve the problems that overwhelm parents when they try to attend events with their young children and cannot find decent places to change diapers, leave a stroller or breastfeed with privacy.
The new legislation, introduced on February 7, requires places of entertainment (as defined in the New York State Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, Section 23.03) such as stadiums, arenas, convention centers, theaters, gardens or other places of amusement to provide accommodations, if readily achievable, including high chairs and booster seats (where appropriate), changing tables in all public restrooms, stroller parking, and a private, hygienic location for nursing or pumping breast milk. In addition, public restrooms would have at least one stall with a child protection seat mounted on the wall so that parents or babysitters can use the bathroom without having to juggle a baby.
“This is a practical way to ease the burden on parents and babysitters who want to enjoy entertainment outside their homes,” Assemblymember Simotas said. “If we’re going to claim the moniker of ‘family-friendly’ let’s really help moms and dads who have to grapple with diapers, strollers, feeding, and keeping babies safe just to attend an event,” Simotas added.
Christine Serdjenian Yearwood, founder and CEO of Up-Stand said, “These accommodations enable parents, caregivers, and children to safely and fully participate in public life and our economy. We applaud Assemblymember Simotas for recognizing the need to improve accessibility for this large portion of our society and for introducing this bill.”
Kathleen Boyle, founder of the Queens-based Postpartum Project said, “Access to family friendly facilities will greatly aid new mothers: in the first few months of motherhood, establishing a social support system makes a huge difference. If new moms know they can care for their children and themselves wherever they go, they will be happy patrons of local establishments!”
Dina Bakst, Co-Founder and Co-President, A Better Balance (ABB) said, “ABB applauds Assemblymember Simotas for introducing this bill to make public spaces more accommodating and family friendly. It’s time our laws catch up with the reality of modern parenting and ensure that all parents, regardless of gender, have access to the resources they need to care for their families.”