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to use a disabled toilet if I've got the buggy?

(801 Posts)
MrsHelsBels74 Fri 23-Nov-12 12:28:58

Pretty much as the thread title says, if you're out in public & need to loo but can't fit the buggy into a normal cubicle is it acceptable to take the buggy into the disabled toilet? I'd never use a disabled parking space but did this today in desperation. So, is it ok or still a no-no?

threesocksmorgan Mon 26-Nov-12 11:36:40

EndOfTheRoad2011that is so true about the time wasted that you can never get back

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 10:39:31

Don't cry, but it is very enlightening when you first read it and realise that yes, you or someone you love has limited spoons.

One thing I have noted is that there are different ways of spending them too, physically obviously, but mentally and emotionally too. So sometimes just thinking about what needs to be done, takes away a spoon, and feeling stressed saps those spoons away.

I am only beginning to understand how all-encompassing it is to have a disability, and the people I am meeting and learning from, some of their stories are heart rending. People who need help, and get none, people who constantly are questioned about the validity of their illness, people who are losing assistance left, right and centre... it might seem silly, but that toilet is just the cherry on top of a whole load of shite, and so it might seem a bit silly to fight about who can use it, but honestly, you feel like you gotta fight for almost everything as it is, why can't you just get the toilet in peace?

EndOfTheRoad2011 Mon 26-Nov-12 10:14:45

Rabbits- ...that is an amazing article and has me in tears. Dd has a limited number of spoons each day and her condition is life limiting and it is so so hard to get people to understand that she just does not have the energy to complete certain tasks with facilities that are not suitable....some people have all the time in the world ..... Others don't....having to wait to use the disabled toilet, ot wait for another bus or even having to go the long way to your destination because people are blocking the way with buggies or cars is precious time wasted and precious energy that once used means its gone.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 09:19:30

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Mon 26-Nov-12 09:18:17

I have all the usable toilets around my town memorised, and usually plan my route of shopping/activities around the toilet "route". I often stop off at a toilet and go, even if I don't need, just in case.

I am always scared to go out to new places because I am not sure how I'll manage them, but I am starting to expand my repertoire with one of the next towns over, and a couple of the activity places for the kids. I always take someone with me to help if I go out to new places for the kids entertainment and they tend to be gobby enough to tap people on the shoulder and explain my need, thank goodness for carers!

I mostly have the choice of grabbing my walking stick and going into the normal cubicles, so it's not extreme if there's a buggy in the disabled space, but there are days I could really do with it. Sometimes the less I walk the better, because I have a severe spoon deficit (

My council have been pretty good, we have men's and ladies toilets, a parent toilet and two disabled toilets, but to access them you need to go in a lift and do a fair bit of walking, so I'm buggered if I am in my scooter, which doesn't fit in the lift. Macdonalds is hit and miss because the kids know the code for the door, and the mums do have to use it as the other toilets are upstairs. There's a toilet round the way in Costa, but again it's the only one downstairs and that's a gathering place for mummies with prams.

Cahooots Mon 26-Nov-12 08:32:13

I think threads like this are brilliant. Although not everyone agrees on exactly what to do at least it gets everyone thinking. I like to think I am a nice, charitable, socially aware type of person but I have never really thought about why people may need to use disabled loos. I used to think it was more about access. blush.

tazzle22 Sun 25-Nov-12 23:25:55

I have followed this thread with interest for several reasons.

It's been many years since I have had the delight / issues of having DC in prams/ buggies........... and I cannot remember specifics on how we "coped" with my / our toilet needs, just that we did. When they were young I used a sling most of the time do guess I just "went" with that in place ! There were not that many "disabled" toilets around either sad

These days I know (and work with / support ) far more people with disabilities than I know with young DC so see the issue from that angle more. I know how hard it can be sometimes to locate an accessible loo.... and just how necessary they are ..... there most definately are far, far more toilets available to "mums / parents and babes" without accessability problems.

I can however also see the point that, statistically speaking, at any one time there may be more people with buggies around than people in a wheelchair .... so maybe a wheelchair accessible toilet may be "free" for a greater amount of time. Not sure that is a valid reason to use it though if one does not need the facility ! A service provided for a mum to BF may be vacant most of the time but non bf people do not go in for a sit down ???

I liked carrots thread reitterating that we dont know for sure the issues affecting even the people that are "able bodied" and that no one should judge by the appearance of the person coming out whether they are "entitled" to use the facility or not.

On a good day I can work normally, I can push wheelchairs etc and walk long distances.

On a bad day I can be on crutches and / or I can get desires so intense to urinate/ defecate that I cannot move a step without "leaking". To make it to the nearest loo can be painstaking and if the disabled loo is the nearest , even by a few metres then that is where I go. ( might also need the extra facilities in that loo) When I come out ( with whatever expression an observer defines) sometimes the expression might be absolute blush if I have not made it in time and I know I smell .... or it might be huge relief . Whichever it is I hope no one has hoisted judgeypants and questions me 9even if I have my newest DGC in a buggy with me grin0
as I hope not have to relate my medical history to justify my use of a loo. .......

Would also like to say that there are of course disgraceful incidents / misuses... like queues of people with buggies outside accessible loos for convenience rather than need and flipping eck people not taking buggies out of wheelchair spaces on buses ...... but a lot of the time its about confusion as to the defnition of the space. The label on the door can be defined differently by different people.

However in my local A**a store....... get this

one door with wheelchair logo
one door with female logo and a crutches logo
one door with a male logo and a crutches logo
one door with a baby change logo

( the female loo I know has an ickle toilet and two full sized )

all logos also in braille they seem to cater for everyone /every interpretation ...... unless YOu know different !

threesocksmorgan Sun 25-Nov-12 23:17:04

" Facilities for people with disabilities don't just make life easier, they make it actually possible."

well said

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sun 25-Nov-12 22:25:09


" Facilities for people with disabilities don't just make life easier, they make it actually possible."

This point has been made quite a few times in this thread, yet virtually noone has picked up on it? I wonder why?

verylittlecarrot Sun 25-Nov-12 21:15:58

To answer your question, FlaminNora, I generally hope not to use toilet facilities at all whilst out. My family is pretty used to the "travel wee" concept where we all go before a journey in the hope that we will not need to go whilst out.

But I do not know the specific facilities provided by every shop I may go to, I may find myself in a town which is not my own, and it is conceivable that I may find myself struck with an urgent situation on occasion. There is a reasonable expectation that certain places do provide toilet facilities and that is as much planning as is necessary. I haven't memorised where the toilets are in every place I might visit. I can assume that if there is a Tesco, Asda, Starbucks, McDonalds, then I can buy something and use the toilets too.

Yes, I am fortunate. I do realise this. I can make the assumption that I will find public toilets somewhere within a reasonable distance when I am out and I will be correct. I understand this is not the case for people with disabilities and that is unacceptable. The situation should be the same for people with disabilities. There should be more disabled facilities. I grasp this.

I don't plan trips around toilets because I don't need to, I can be fairly confident that I will be catered for. I hope the same convenience will eventually be available for those with disabilities too.

whathasthecatdonenow Sun 25-Nov-12 20:38:51

Exactly, Flamin. For years, many people with disabilities had a choice between going out and knowing that there was unlikely to be any facilities they could access, or staying in. I'm not sure why it is so difficult for people to grasp this. Facilities for people with disabilities don't just make life easier, they make it actually possible.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Sun 25-Nov-12 20:34:42

I feel that expecting people to plan trips and journeys around the prior knowledge of toileting facilities with the main goal of ensuring one never requires the use of a disabled toilet is also unreasonable.

Why is it unreasonable to expect able people to do something that disabled people have no choice but to do, especially when they have far more options open to them than a disabled person?

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Sun 25-Nov-12 20:31:27

However the one peek i have had no one in a wheel chair would be able to use the baby change as at normal height. so must be for others to use as well..... so why lock it or mark as a baby change as well?

Possibly for other disabled people who do need it be at normal height eg me.

verylittlecarrot Sun 25-Nov-12 20:26:23

I rarely post on these threads. Because I feel that yes, there are some circumstances where it is acceptable and appropriate for an able bodied person to use a disabled toilet. And I feel that the expectation that a disabled toilet should always remain completely unused whilst an able bodied person struggles in a less than ideal situation is an unreasonable one. I feel that expecting people to plan trips and journeys around the prior knowledge of toileting facilities with the main goal of ensuring one never requires the use of a disabled toilet is also unreasonable. As is the assumption that every able-bodied person has impeccable bladder and bowel control and can therefore wait.
My DSIL is disabled, but, I suspect, has better toileting control than I, and I'm pretty sure would insist I went ahead of her in a toilet emergency. Whether I would take her up on this would depend on the urgency of the impending disaster.
I do take every reasonable step to ensure my actions do not inconvenience others, in particular those with disabilities. I have never and would never park in a disabled parking spot. But toilets serve to provide a facility for a biological, sometimes urgent need that we all have. We are all humans deserving of respect and dignity. If a fellow human being needs to use a toilet and there are no viable alternatives and it will inconvenience no-one then I'm not going to prevent them nor castigate them for using it. I don't want to see anyone struggle, whether disabled or able-bodied.

I know this is an unpopular view, and I have hesitated to bring down the wrath of Mumsnet by expressing it. Hopefully I've expressed it respectfully. However, despite having read multiple viewpoints on the subject before, I still feel this way on the subject. I sincerely hope I do not cause offence, and I respect those who feel differently.

Pilgit Sun 25-Nov-12 20:17:53

This thread is really interesting and i think says more about thoughtless town planning than anything else. However i have a connundrum for you all. Cannon street station in London has just finished being refurbished. They have a disabled (think these keys are a great idea) toilet that is key access on the main concourse that is key locked. All very well and good . It also has a baby change facility in it - again all well and good as disabled people have babies too. However the one peek i have had no one in a wheel chair would be able to use the baby change as at normal height. so must be for others to use as well..... so why lock it or mark as a baby change as well? There are changing facilities in both the main toilets ( yes men can change nappies too which is great) but these are down two flights of stairs and getting a buggy into the ladies is going to be tricky due to the door configuration and there is no lift down (i've looked as 8 months pregnant and it's a hassle up and down the stairs). The whole set up smacks of really bad planning and complete lack of thought.

someone further up said that parents should clean up after their children if they've used the disabled loo. completely agree - on what planet would it be acceptable to leave urine on the toilet seat - whoever it had come from!

in my home town we are lucky - the shopping centre has family toilets with two toilets in and enough space for a buggy, all behind a locked door.

SauvignonBlanche Sun 25-Nov-12 19:47:36

It may not be illegal but it is still immoral.

Sirzy Sun 25-Nov-12 19:34:12

It may not be illegal but it is still selfish.

faulkernegger Sun 25-Nov-12 19:33:45

Disabled loos are not exclusively for disabled people. They are just loos that have facilities for the disabled. It is not illegal to use one, although it IS illegal to use a disabled parking space.

Sirzy Sun 25-Nov-12 18:59:50

Well if one person has been made to think twice then the thread has been successful!

GhostShip Sun 25-Nov-12 18:50:48

Really? hmm Sure..

thekidsrule Sun 25-Nov-12 18:49:24

that about the black looks was meant tongue in cheek,fgs i think this thread is taking up far to much of your time and your loosing all sense of humour

GhostShip Sun 25-Nov-12 18:34:36

thekidsrule what a ridiculous thing to say. As many posters have already said, some disabilities arent apparent so you could be shooting your pathetic dirty looks at a disabled person.

thekidsrule Sun 25-Nov-12 18:30:54

after catching up with this epic

i was a the begining didnt see a huge problem

but after reading personal accounts and understanding more about the issue,i for one will not be using the disabled toilet ever again

and now will probably be giving dirty looks to those that do for convenience (pardon the pun)

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 25-Nov-12 18:10:25

Actually, thinking about it, some of the worst offenders for tight aisles round here are exactly the little independent shops that we all ought to support otherwise all that will be left are the high street chains. Not surprising that a recent casualty was a high end baby shop that had a step up and a heavy door to navigate, then no space to get to the back of the shop...

I complained about a badly laid out part of the big M&S here and next time I went back they had rearranged it clothes were still grim though

Sirzy Sun 25-Nov-12 17:52:54

Families - I already refuse to shop in a local card shop (part a national chain of cheap cards) because it is impossible to manoeuvre a pram around let alone a wheelchair. I did complain the their head office but unsurprisingly it was ignored.

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