Diaper Duty: OK to Change in Public?

From restaurants to airplanes, when is it OK to skip the restroom?

-- Once I was at dinner with a large group of people, including babies. One of the babies needed a diaper change and the mom stepped away from the table to do the deed.

Rather than go to the restroom, however, she went to a nearby bench at the outdoor restaurant and changed the baby's diaper. It was a tiny bit close for comfort but, in fairness, it was out of the way of the other diners.

And then she came back to our table and proceeded to place the soiled diaper on top.

Yes, it was the end of the meal. And, true, there was no garbage can in eyesight. But still, it was not OK. At least not for me.

So it’s not surprising that a woman was asked to leave a Spring, Texas, restaurant recently because she changed her 4-month-old daughter's diaper at the table. Miranda Sowers told a local television station she initially took the baby to the restroom but there was no changing table.

Restaurant employees said customers immediately started complaining. Sowers said her family's food was brought out in "to go" containers and they were asked to leave.

The question is: What was she supposed to do? Is it ever OK to change a diaper at a restaurant table? How about on an airplane seat? On a park bench? Where's the line when there's no restroom with a changing table nearby?

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"Your baby's No. 2 doesn't constitute a crisis that needs to become everyone else's stinky problem," Babble blogger Meredith C. Carroll told ABC News. "Parenthood means thinking on your feet."

In a restaurant:

Verdict: Not OK. "Are you in a restaurant with two kids old enough to sit at the table by themselves while you walk out to your minivan for three minutes to change your baby's diaper? Then go outside."

On an airplane:

Verdict: Sometimes OK. Said Carroll: "Are you trapped in an airline seat because the Fasten Seatbelt sign is on, there's turbulence and your baby is wailing because his or her diaper has blown out? Go ahead and change the diaper using a cover for the seat and disposing of the evidence in a bag that you hold onto until you're personally able to dispose of it in the lavatory trash can (don't put it in the trash bags that the flight attendants offer when walking up and down the aisle).

In the park:

Verdict: OK: "If you're at the park and you have a diaper pad or blanket, or even if you don't, use the grass, not the bench. The grass won't mind but the behinds of others wishing to sit on the bench after you will."

Editor's Note: Disney is the parent company of ABC News and Babble, an online parenting magazine and blog.

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