It’s bad enough when there’s nowhere to change your baby’s diaper. Imagine what the family of a special needs child must go through.
While everyone is swooning over how wonderful the new @johnlewisretail advert is… just take a moment to look at this photo which was taken in one of their stores because they don’t provide #changingplaces for severely disabled people & refuse to do so. Priorities. pic.twitter.com/rekU1zKpK9
— Mum On A Mission (@MumsMissions) November 10, 2017
As the Manchester Evening News reports, that’s why one anonymous mother snapped a photo of her daughter waiting to be changed on the bathroom floor of John Lewis, a U.K. department store.
Considered a high-end store, John Lewis is known for splashy (and expensive) holiday ad campaigns. But that has left parents of special needs kids even more frustrated.
— Mum On A Mission (@MumsMissions) November 14, 2017
The mother who took the photo wanted to maintain her privacy, but she allowed it to be shared by disability advocate Laura Moore, who posted the photo on Twitter and wrote:
While everyone is swooning over how wonderful the new @johnlewisretail advert is … just take a moment to look at this photo which was taken in one of their stores because they don’t provide #changingplaces for severely disabled people & refuse to do so. Priorities.
Moore, who has an 8-year-old son with special needs, is behind a campaign to get more retailers to install adequate changing facilities, including a full-size changing bench and a hoist. As yet, Ikea is the only store in the U.K. attempting to include such facilities in all their stores.
Nicole McClean, whose 5-year-old daughter has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair full-time, has started a petition for mandatory changing areas. As McClean wrote on Change.org, there are many places she cannot take her family because there is nowhere to change her daughter other than on the bathroom floor:
When I need to change her, I am faced with an accessible disabled toilet which is great for size but not for equipment we need. I am faced with nothing to change her on my ONLY option is the floor.
As well as the floor being unsanitary, unhygienic it’s incredibly undignified. It’s completely unacceptable
I wouldn’t lay down on it, would you? What about severely disabled teenagers & adults?
So far, McClean’s petition has garnered approximately 4,000 signatures. Moore’s tweet has been shared broadly, with many people expressing their sympathy and support.
Yes, it’s what @flo_warriors is talking about. Looks like this pic.twitter.com/uHChqneLlj
— Mum On A Mission (@MumsMissions) November 11, 2017
A spokesman for John Lewis tweeted in response to Moore, saying that they lacked space to provide the changing areas Moore supports:
We’re working hard to increase facilities for all customers in our shops & now offer disabled customer toilets and parent & child facilities in our shops — the limited space we have means we are sadly unable to meet the full spec that Changing Places desire at this point in time.
The statement continued with a promise to consider installing better facilities:
We will work with our construction & procurement teams to review the feasibility of a hoist & changing bench for our new stores & consider this when refurbishing them. We also continue to work closely with shopping centre developers to influence the addition of these facilities.
Moore told the Evening News that she’s not persuaded by the claim that the store lacks the resources to make a change:
“I watched the advert and thought it’s convenient that they can scrape [$9 million] together for their Christmas advert but don’t want to spend any money to put Changing Places toilets in their stores.”
Referring to the ads, which feature an adorable monster under a child’s bed, Moore added:
“The real monster in John Lewis isn’t just one under the bed, there are 77,000 of them on their toilet floors and they expect disabled children to lay down there with them when they need to use the toilet.”