Our Guide To Creating Family Friendly Spaces
To celebrate National Breastfeeding Week we have put together our guide to creating family friendly spaces on your premises that your patrons and visitors will love. There are a great number of benefits to developing family areas, and we will discuss these and more in this month’s edition of the Magrini blog.
In order to keep up with the evolving needs and expectations of our society many businesses and organisations are installing facilities geared around family life. As well as offering clear benefits to visitors to your premises it also has excellent commercial benefits that your business will enjoy.
What is a family friendly space?
A space can be defined as family friendly if it is suitable for all family members. This means that it has to be accessible and safe for people of all ages and levels of ability. This is something that is becoming ever more important in commercial spaces such as:
- Shopping centres
- Medical centres
There is no single way to create family friendly spaces and they can be tailored to fit into your business, but they usually have at least a few features that ultimately make them successful; what you choose to include will depend on the kind of premises you have. The following spaces are commonly made family friendly:
- Breastfeeding areas
- Dining areas
The main benefit to making your building more family friendly is the fact that you will be providing a vital service for your patrons and visitors. Parents face plenty of challenges when out and about with their young children, so by reducing these challenges and helping their experience to go as smoothly as possible you are instantly placing your establishment head and shoulders over competitors that do not offer excellent facilities. The commercial benefits to this are clear and will certainly be appreciated.
So, how do you go about creating a family friendly environment? With a little bit of planning, you can create areas that visitors of all ages can appreciate - read on to find out more.
Creating breastfeeding friendly zones
Breastfeeding is becoming a more common sight in our everyday lives as awareness is raised, and mothers are more supported in society. In the UK it is illegal to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, and thankfully more and more commercial and private premises are doing what they can to help women to nurse their babies in peace and comfort.
To assist women visiting your premises and wishing to breastfeed, there are a few things that you may want to consider. It is not necessary to have a completely separate and private room specifically for breastfeeding - most women don’t want to have to hide away while breastfeeding, but they also don’t want to feel too ‘on show’.
A simple solution is to have a quiet zone out of the way of the high traffic areas of your premises where mothers can access comfortable seats and a space where pushchairs can be kept out of the way. If you operate public premises such as a restaurant or cafe, it can help to have a booth that mothers can request if they plan on breastfeeding during their visit. You may also want to provide some cushions which mothers can use to support themselves and their baby comfortably during the feed.
There are organisations in the UK such as The Breastfeeding Network which supply posters featuring helpful advice and phone numbers, as well as letting nursing mothers know that they are welcome to breastfeed in the area - this simple addition can go a long way to empowering women who wish to breastfeed.
How to create a family friendly bathroom or washroom
A family friendly bathroom can be considered the most important step to making your premises more family oriented; there are a few things you can include in your bathroom design that can really be of value to your visitors and can make the difference between choosing to visit your premises again next time or trying to find an alternative.
Firstly, if possible, try to provide generously sized bathrooms. Common layouts for bathrooms include either a single large cubicle with a toilet, sink and hand drying facilities, or multiple cubicles in a room with sinks and hand drying facilities. If you are providing a single cubicle then try to make sure it is large enough to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair or a pushchair while the toilet is in use and make sure that any handrails and emergency alarm cords are within easy reach. If providing a room with multiple cubicles, make sure there is an area where parents can safely leave the pushchair while using the toilet cubicle. It must not obstruct doors and fire escapes. Again, it is vital that handrails and emergency alarm cords are easily reachable.
In bathrooms with multiple cubicles which cannot accommodate pushchairs it is worth installing Wall Mounted Stay Safe Baby Seats. These can be installed within the individual bathroom cubicles and allow parents to take the child into the cubicle in a safe and hygienic way rather than having to leave the child unattended or placing them on the floor. This is sure to be appreciated by any parents needing the loo, allowing them to safely supervise their child. If no separate facilities are offered for disabled visitors, then make sure that they will have access to a cubicle large enough to accommodate a wheelchair and which is appropriately kitted out with handrails and an emergency alarm.
To further improve your facilities, it is important to choose the right commercial baby changing units. The Magrini range offers a choice of high quality baby changing units with specifications to suit all bathroom environments. One of our most popular commercial baby changing units is the Magrini MH42 Horizontal Wall Mounted Baby Changing Unit which is compact, stylish and manufactured using the highest quality materials.
It is still possible to incorporate commercial baby changing units into smaller spaces when you opt for the Magrini MV64 Vertical Wall Mounted Baby Changing Unit. It has a larger bed, but as it is vertically mounted it can easily fit into some spaces that are not quite big enough for the horizontal style baby changing unit. For unsupervised areas and for spaces where wall mounting isn’t possible, you may also want to consider installing a countertop unit, or even our impressively robust changing unit in stainless steel.
In order to create truly family friendly bathrooms you will want to make sure that the men’s room is as equally well equipped as the women’s in terms of accessibility and baby changing facilities. Recent surveys show that dads are taking a more hands on role when it comes to childcare than ever before, so it is important to offer choice. Each Magrini commercial baby changing unit complies with BS EN 12221:2008 +A1:2013 standards.
Make your dining areas family friendly
Making your dining areas family friendly can be as simple as making sure there is enough space to get wheelchairs and pushchairs about and providing high chairs for babies and very young children. Think about how many children are likely to be dining at your premises during busy periods and use this as a guide to make sure you have enough commercial high chairs to meet demands.
The best commercial high chairs have simple yet strong designs and are made from tried and tested child-safe and hygienic materials. The Magrini range of commercial high chairs offers solutions that are stylish and practical and will enhance any dining room. The Breeze has modern looks and robust safety features and is designed for simple and straightforward operation. A more classic look can be achieved with the Texas wooden high chair in a choice of finishes, it also comes pre-assembled for convenience. A space saving solution you may prefer is our folding wooden high chair. These can be conveniently stored away when not in use. Each of our commercial high chairs is fully compliant with BS EN 14988:2017 safety standards for your peace of mind.
Contact Magrini for expert advice
Hopefully you now have a good idea of how you are going to proceed in creating stylish, practical and comfortable family friendly areas; if you would like more information on any of our commercial childcare products or need advice on creating commercially beneficial family friendly areas then please do get in touch with us online or by telephone. We are always happy to help and discuss your ideas.