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Better Together – Disability Parent Q&A
with Jennifer Allen

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Q: Public restrooms are hard to find. How do you meet the need for frequent accessible restrooms while traveling? What about outdoor adventure – how do you meet bathroom needs where there is no bathroom? What do you do for someone who can’t fit on a changing table, but needs to be changed lying down?

A: This varies drastically by bathroom needs. For children and young adults in diapers, many people use the back of the car, parked so that the trunk faces away from the other vehicles. Outdoor blankets and pee pads are another great option if you’re in a more secluded area.

For children and adults who use a toilet, there’s actually a lot more flexibility. Most national parks, and many state parks have accessible restrooms – these make great outdoor destinations. If you’re road-tripping, hotels and hospitals, instead of gas stations or fast food chains, are great places to stop for clean accessible restrooms.

Plan ahead so that you don’t end up in a tricky situation. For example, we use a catheter before starting a hike, no matter what time we did it last, so that we’re not worried about bathroom needs on the trail.

There are apps like iAccess Life and GoWhee that can be used to find accessible restrooms. Unfortunately, because they’re crowd sourced, they may not turn up a lot of results in the area you’re visiting.

Next Issue: What do you do about travel insurance? What do you need, and what’s covered, for a child with a disability?

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