Bears' Matt Forte Partners With Pampers To Install Changing Table In Men's Bathroom At Maggie Daley Park

Shannon Blum
October 22, 2019 - 1:13 pm
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) – Imagine a dad enjoying a day out with his child and then it’s time to change the child’s diaper, but there is no proper changing table to do it.

The fact of the matter is, a majority of men’s restrooms are not equipped with baby changing tables and it’s an all too familiar story for dads across the country. In fact, according to Pampers research, nine out of 10 dads have gone into a public restroom that has not had a baby changing table. And because of that, the company launched the “Love the Change” campaign in June, committing to install 5,000 changing tables in men’s public restrooms across North America by 2021.

To help in the effort, Pampers called on seven hands-on NFL dads to join in and install changing tables in their hometowns. In Chicago, Bears Matt Forte was selected and he could not be more honored.

“I was honored to be chosen to be in the Pampers campaign to install the changing tables and just be an advocate for it, because it is a personal experience,” Forte said. “You never want to be caught somewhere when you are out and about with your kids and you have the materials to change them, but not the station, which makes it a lot easier...I love my kids and love being a dad and emphasizing what dads do. We do more than just play with the kids and just come home and let the wife handle everything.”

Matt Forte joined Pampers and Koala Kare on Tuesday to install a baby changing table in the men’s bathroom at the field house at Maggie Daley Park, as a part of Pampers "Love the Change" campaign. 
WBBM Newsradio/Shannon Blum

Matt Forte joined Pampers and Koala Kare on Tuesday to install a baby changing table in the men’s bathroom at the field house at Maggie Daley Park - a place Forte was surprise was not already equipped with one.

“I was really surprised. I often come here. I still live in Chicago and I often bring my kids out and play at the park, and I was really surprised that they did not have one. But it just shows you the need, that there is a huge need for changing tables in men’s restrooms in recreational places, as well as public places,” Forte said. “I just thank Pampers for even doing this and hopping on to create the change that is needed.”

When Forte heard the statistic that nine out of 10 dads have gone into a public restroom that has not had a baby changing table, he said “it’s absolutely accurate. It might be 10 out of 10, because I have been out and about with my family many of times, and you know you try to give your wife a break, and you don’t want her always doing the work and changing diapers, and I’ve always been a dad like that and wanting to be hands-on and changing the kids diapers, and I have been in places where there just aren’t any changing tables, and so then you have to put your son or daughter on your lap and it makes it very difficult to change their diaper, especially barring with what they ate, so it might be even more difficult.”

Matt Forte joined Pampers and Koala Kare on Tuesday to install a baby changing table in the men’s bathroom at the field house at Maggie Daley Park, as a part of Pampers "Love the Change" campaign. 
WBBM Newsradio/Shannon Blum

Speaking of, Forte shared with WBBM Newsradio a baby changing experience that was what he called “horrific.”

“Having to change a diaper in a porta-potty is not fun…I’ve been in places where I’ve had to go into a porta-potty and kind of squat myself and change the diaper, and I got to have good quads for that and strong legs – I am glad I do have strong legs, because I did not want to sit on the seat either, so I am definitely sitting in the porta-potty and it’s summertime, so I am sweating. I am trying to change this diaper. My son is on my lap. He’s screaming. So it was all bad.”

Changing table inequality was placed front and center in October 2018, when Donte Palmer, a dad from Florida, posted a photo on Instagram of him squatting in a bathroom, trying to change his son’s diaper on his lap. The post went viral.

This is a serious post!!! What’s the deal with not having changing tables in men’s bathroom as if we don’t exist!! #FLM #fatherslivesmatter clearly we do this often because look how comfortable my son is. It’s routine to him!!!! Let’s fix this problem! I Kaepernick drop a knee to this issue! @theshaderoom let’s show the innovation of fathers! #squatforchange

A post shared by Donte Palmer (@3boys_1goal) on

“I wish I would have thought of it,” Forte laughed. “I wish I would have thought of doing a video, or something like that…kudos to him. I am glad he did it, because it sparked the change to put changing tables in communities and public places where they don’t have them – especially in men’s bathrooms.”

Palmer has since founded #SquatForChange, an organization committed to arming dads with the proper changing table resources needed to be a hands-on dad; and has also partnered with Pampers to help install some new changing tables.

“We are proud to partner with NFL players and Donte Palmer who are hands-on dads, and want to help enable them and other fathers in their communities to have access to changing tables,” said Andre Schulten, dad of two and Vice President and General Manager Baby Care North America, Procter & Gamble, in a statement. “At Pampers, we are committed to removing barriers that make diaper changes on the go difficult and we’re arming parents with the proper changing table resources they need so they can love the change.”

Over the next two years, Pampers, in partnership with Koala Kare, will identify “high-need” public locations and provide baby changing tables for installation in men’s restrooms. Forte suggested places in "high-need" are where kids frequent, including zoos, malls, movie theaters, Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Busters, and similar places, as well as the obvious – restaurants.

But before more changing tables are installed, WBBM Newsradio asked Forte what his advice is to fellow dads that may be in an unideal diaper-changing situation.

“Well if you don’t have a changing table and you are having to change a diaper in public, the best thing that I can tell you to do is to find a quiet place. I would not suggest a porta-potty, because of my horrific adventure with that. So just find a quiet place and maybe a bench or something, and you got to use your lap, that’s what you got to do. I would not be comfortable putting the kid on the bench, so put them on your lap and try to keep it as clean as possible,” Forte said.

Matt Forte joined Pampers and Koala Kare on Tuesday to install a baby changing table in the men’s bathroom at the field house at Maggie Daley Park, as a part of Pampers "Love the Change" campaign. 
WBBM Newsradio/Brian Gertsch

Seven NFL dads took part in the effort Tuesday including Sterling Shepard from the New York Giants, Tevin Coleman from the San Francisco 49ers, Marvin Jones Jr. from the Detroit Lions, Brian Westbrook from the Philadelphia Eagles, Derek Wolfe from the Denver Broncos, Matt Forte from the Chicago Bears, and Dontari Poe from the Carolina Panthers (who installed a changing table in Charlotte, North Carolina).

“Teaming up with Pampers to install changing tables around the community and different communities across North America is amazing, because it is a much needed thing that fathers need and it just makes it a lot more convenient for us to change our kids’ diapers when you are on the run,” Forte said.

Since announcing the campaign in June, Pampers has installed nearly 1,000 changing tables to-date across the U.S. and Canada.