There’s really, truly not much that Australia is ahead in when compared to the U.S. Technology here is slow and expensive; architecture is only just beginning to mature; there aren’t 25 varieties of instant oatmeal; many places still don’t take credit cards, or have a $10 minimum (you might laugh, but there have been plenty of times I rolled up to Bucky’s in the States for a latte with nothing but plastic in my purse…that scenario isn’t an option here).
Anyway, at times I find it difficult to say anything good about this place other than, well, dang, it sure is pretty. But I have found a common feature here that is incredibly thoughtful and puts home to shame: appropriate child changing/feeding facilities in the local malls. I’m not talking a “Family Room,” aka a big, private john. I’m talking about a full-blown, well-planned, private suite that actually considers what mothers need while out with their children.
Why does this matter to me and what do I know about it? I’m not a mom, that is true. But I’ve spent countless hours with my niece and nephew basically from their births, and I have experienced first-hand the frustration of bathrooms that don’t even offer the drop-down changing table option, as well as restrooms that are cramped and difficult to maneuver with a stroller and a toddler. I’m offended for all the moms out there; at some point, a woman or even a man with a child will visit your business and will need to change a diaper or do damage control. The least you can do is make the challenge of shopping/dining/living while accompanied by children a little easier.
What they have done in all the average malls here is create entire family suites. Some are prettier than others, but the photos below reflect a fairly average set-up. They open with a sensor-driven door, so no hands are required. They usually include at least one private bathroom which includes a grown-up potty, and a kid-sized one…very cool. They have separate rooms for breastfeeding, plus full changing counters, microwaves, play areas, and even TVs on occasion. In short, for moms and dads, they are brilliant.