2018-02-14 / Features

Bill Requires Entertainment Venues To Provide ‘Family Accommodations’

Parents and caregivers with small babies and toddlers will have easier access to places of entertainment under legislation written and introduced by Astoria Assembly Member 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 can’t find appropriate places to change diapers, leave a stroller or breastfeed in privacy.

The new legislation requires places of entertainment (as defined in the NYS 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 highchairs 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,” Assembly Member 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 Assembly Member 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 of A Better Balance (ABB) said, “ABB applauds Assembly Member 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.”

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