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Airports Install Adult Changing Tables To Aid Caregivers


Adult disabled changing table in public bathroom. Courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Airports across the nation have started installing adult changing tables to help family caregivers.

Sky Harbor Airport in Maricopa County, Ariz., has already installed such units and is working on adding more. There are 12 adult changing stations throughout Sky Harbor, including in the newly renovated Terminal 3, local NPR-affiliate KJZZ reports.

Norbert Senftleben was an architect at Sky Harbor before retiring from the city of Phoenix. He developed a design and brought it to the city’s Commission on Disability Issues.

“And then of course we did not have a prototype,” Senftleben told KJZZ. “So here at Sky Harbor, the facilities and services division had carpenters. We worked together and produced this first prototype.”

Senftleben’s design, which looks like a sturdy bed with rails, was the first of its kind to be installed at a U.S. airport.

Earlier this year, Orlando International Airport added similar units.

Orlando’s changing tables are in two companion bathrooms near ticket counters for Delta and Southwest airlines, The Orlando Sentinel reports. More are expected this spring.

“From a customer service standpoint, it’s the right thing to do,” Brian Engle, the airport’s director of customer service, told the newspaper.

According to Engle, the tables can hold a maximum of 400 pounds and use a hydraulic system that allows them to be lowered within inches of the floor.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has offered such facilities since 2013 when three family-assist restrooms were outfitted with them.