For travelers with disabilities, finding an accessible restroom facility is becoming much easier, particularly in the United States due to the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many of us require assistance in the bathroom, which can pose difficulties if the person helping us is not of the same sex.
A private, family restroom facility is the best accommodation to meet this need. Certainly, an unoccupied gender-specific bathroom can be used and the door locked, but in restaurants, department stores or tourist attractions it can be difficult to find them empty. Where can these types of restrooms be found?
I recently received this e-mail from a WheelchairTravel.org reader, concerning the availability of accessible restrooms in the Atlanta, Georgia area:
My husband is now confined to a wheelchair, but he still wants to go places with my help. To make this happen, I have to assist him in the bathroom – frequent restroom stops. Access to Family Public restrooms is critical as we move forward.
We know that Lenox Mall has a Family Restroom.
Please guide us to a list of Family Public Restrooms within the Atlanta area – hopefully, that information is available. Possibly, in family with children data?
This is a great question, and one which I hoped to find an answer for. Unfortunately, internet resources are limited in this respect. I discovered a website, FindFamilyRestroom.com, which has a database containing the location of such private restroom facilities throughout the country. A search for the City of Atlanta returned only three results.
While the website allows users to add restrooms to the database, this requires individuals to participate and share their knowledge. This is a resource that I would like to see grow. Go to the website, search areas/cities you are familiar with, and add any restrooms that are not presently listed.
One recommendation I gave to the reader was to check hotels. Oftentimes, hotels will have private restrooms on the ground floor that are open to both guests and the public. I have used these restrooms before myself, and the hotel staff have never had a problem with it.
A Call to Action
It is my hope that a requirement for family bathrooms will be added to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please consider writing your elected officials – legislators, representatives and senators, to encourage new legislation. It is sad to think that people might stay at home because they are afraid that there won’t be a place for them to use the bathroom.
Are you aware of another resource for locating family restroom facilities? If you or a person you are traveling with need assistance in the bathroom, where do you go? Please share your experiences in the comments below to help open the world to all.