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Please improve our Public Toilets in Singapore for People with Disabilities

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Dear Mr Tan Chuan-Jin,

Re: Changes proposed for our Public Toilets for People with Disabilities

We are writing to you to request for changes in our public toilets for people with disabilities (PWD), to improve accessibility and use of these toilets, for all people of various disabilities. Public toilets are an essential part in any community, and adequate provision is essential to participate in community and social life. Poor public toilet provision has a major impact on many people, more so those with poor health/disability conditions. Lack of suitable public toilets for PWD can have a negative impact on their independence and confidence, which can lead to poor health, isolation and loneliness.

We request for larger sized public toilets for PWD. The size of our public toilets for PWD is currently too small to maneuver an adult wheelchair, and at the same time, have 1-2 caregivers assisting the person with disabilities.

We are also requesting for larger and stronger change tables in our public toilets for PWD. Our older children with disabilities, who need to be laid down for diaper changes, are currently being changed on the floor of our public toilets for PWD. Not only is this undignified and unhygienic, but it is also unacceptable of a first-world country. The baby change tables in these toilets are too small and will not take the weight of older children or adults. Most baby change tables have a maximum weight of 9-12kg. The average 1-year old weighs 10kg, so even toddlers need larger tables.

The elderly and adults with disabilities who need to lie down for a diaper change, have to endure sitting in their dirty diapers until they reach home, as there is no clean, hygienic place for them to change their diapers when they are out in public. Is it any wonder that the elderly and adults needing the use of an accessible public toilet, would rather stay at home, or cut short their outings, or decide not to venture too far from home? Singapore is currently looking towards improving the social integration of people with disabilities. We need to consider how people with disabilities will be able to relieve themselves and maintain their hygiene, in a clean appropriate environment, so that they will be willing to stay out for longer.

One of the goals of the third Enabling Masterplan, is looking at the well being of caregivers. We need to consider what we can provide to ease the physical demands of handling heavy, older children or adults. We believe a hoist system in the public toilets for PWD will not only help in ensuring the safety of the person with disabilities, it will also protect the backs of caregivers. We can further improve the safety of people with disabilities, and the health of their caregivers, by having the change table to be height adjustable, to accommodate the different heights of both the person with disabilities and their carers.

As a country that prides herself as being world class, and believes in equality for all, as stated in our national pledge, we should strive to ensure equality of access to public toilets for all people with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities.

These are the changes we are seeking:

1. Larger sized toilets to accommodate easy maneuvering of an adult wheelchair, with space for 1-2 caregivers to assist if required.
2. Sliding doors to ease entering and exiting the public toilet when seated in a wheelchair.
3. Larger, stronger and height adjustable change tables, with safety-rails that can be folded up or down safely.
4. A hoist system to support and safely transport people with disabilities, from their wheelchairs to the change table or toilet, and vice versa.
5. A height adjustable hand basin, to accommodate both children and adults, either seated in a wheelchair or in standing.
6. The new improved toilets in all public places, including but not limited to: airport, swimming pools, hospitals, government buildings, malls, transport terminals, etc.

 

These changes are based on the standards set by the “Changing Places” consortium, for providing a truly accessible public toilet for people with disabilities:

http://www.changing-places.org/install_a_toilet/design/changing_places_standards.aspx

 

If you agree that it is unhygienic and unacceptable for anybody to be changed on a public toilet floor in Singapore, and agree that our proposed changes will be beneficial for people with disabilities, and their caregivers, please take a moment to sign and share this petition in asking for Equality of Access to Public Toilets for All People with Disabilities, and help us build a better and brighter future for people with disabilities in Singapore.



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