Festival Walk

Toilets for children still out of reach

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am

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Despite efforts to install more toilets for children in shopping malls and public places, none of them work effectively, a survey by a political party has found.

The existence of a children's toilet area within a public restroom might not be a huge concern in other countries, but in crowded Hong Kong, it is, especially when parents often prefer hitting the mall with their kids than staying in their tiny flats.

An inspection targeting all lavatories in shopping malls, MTR stations and recreation centres in West Kowloon was carried out by the Democratic Party. It found that most of them are not friendly enough for children, which means they are not able to use them without their parents' help.

Most toilet bowls or urinals are too high for children to use by themselves. And the long distance between taps and the edge of sinks means running water is out of their reach.

'Hand dryers turn into hairdryers for children,' said Sham Shui Po district councillor Henry Chong Chi-tat, referring to a drying machine hanging way above a child's head.

It is also inconvenient for parents to hold them in their arms to do a wee in a tiny washroom, he said. Children may also accidentally fall into the toilet bowl.

In Kowloon Tong MTR station, a toilet bowl can be as high as 55cm - too high for a little boy to do his business. The suggested accessible height for toddlers is around 30cm.

But it gets worse. In Festival Walk where, which has many children's shops, there is no toilet area for children at all. Lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he would lodge a complaint in Legislative Council and propose a regulation on standardising children's toilets.