Inclusive Restroom Design
According to U.S. Census data, 61 million U.S. adults and more than 3 million children younger than 18 are currently living with a disability. Providing accessibility according to the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a requirement, but in recent years, many parks and recreational sites have been seeking to surpass these basic requirements to provide parks that are truly inclusive.
Inclusive design goes beyond the standards set by law, and asks planners and design professionals to consider the entire spectrum of disabilities and reexamine each touchpoint in the overall design. For example, the most common disability among children is cognitive difficulty, which is not addressed by ADA standards, but is a central consideration in inclusive design.
Inclusion Beyond the Playground
Playground planners have been among the first to take their designs beyond mere accessibility to promote true inclusion, but inclusive design should not stop there. When planning a truly inclusive space, you should also consider site amenities, like restrooms.
Restrooms, like playgrounds, can be designed for ADA compliance, but that doesn't necessarily mean the restroom is inclusive. Additional adjustments may need to be made to ensure restroom facilities are inclusive.
Restroom buildings should always include at least one single-occupant ADA-accessible restroom. A single-occupancy restroom allows people to feel secure and ensures they have privacy—especially important for those who need assistance from caretakers.
When it comes to restroom fixtures, your plan should consider patrons with sensory disabilities, for whom loud or unpredictable noises from flush systems and hand dryers with automatic sensors can be problematic. Choosing manual features over automatic sensors can help prevent this problem.
Consider installing ADA-compliant adult changing tables as well. While baby changing stations are familiar, they do not address the growing size of individuals who need assistance.
The location is also important. Be sure it is easily accessible, with paths wide enough to accommodate mobility devices. Locating the restroom near the playground is helpful, as many children will wait until the last minute.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Public Restroom Company