By Natasha Sim | Parents Avenue’s Writer
How many of us have entered a restaurant only to leave because there were no baby chairs available?
Or as parents on-the-go, shared with others the very familiar feeling of having to plop our child on our lap while having a meal.
What about having to walk all the way back to our car from that one far end of the shopping mall just to change a diaper?
All these experiences we’ve had as parents in Kota Kinabalu just begs us to question if our public spaces are equipped with the amenities we need with hauling small children out and about.
For convenience sake, let us turn our focus to four major shopping malls in KK, where parents are caught pushing strollers every weekend.
Do they have the facilities we need as parents?
Let’s imagine our ideal spacious and gender-inclusive public parents room/ nursery.
It would need to have toilets, of course! For adults and adorably-sized ones for child. Ideally, a small play area equipped with simple toys and TV for active toddlers. Private and comfy breastfeeding cubicles. Hot water dispenser for parents who need to make formula milk; microwave to reheat baby food or to sterilise bottles and pumping equipment. Not to forget, sufficient number of nappy changing tables!
As one of KK’s newer malls, Imago has a spacious enough parents room on the 3rd floor. Despite having no play area, the room is equipped with enough nappy changing tables and it provides private cubicles for breastfeeding mommas. Hot water is also provided, as well as sinks near the changing area. There is a toilet that is for both parent and child too.
Meanwhile, benches are parked right by the entrance of the room for other waiting members of the family. The room is easily accessible by lift and is located just around the shops where families would frequently go to.
Though we do feel as though another one of these nursery rooms would greatly benefit the public due to Imago’s high traffic.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Suria Sabah is the next popular mall for parents. Located in the heart of KK, this mall attracts locals and tourists with family too. But the sole parenting facility at the mall is not immediately visible and accessible.
Parents would have to go inside the only department store at the mall to change baby nappies. And to those who have never been to the mall or rarely frequent there, you would have to play a little game of hide and seek to find the parents room.
We do applaud the effort for providing the small space for mummies to nurse. But those with babies on formula milk will have to bring their own hot water and sterilise bottles beforehand at home.
Other than that, the mall’s public restrooms do not provide nappy changing tables.
Rating: 4 / 5
City Mall is a very popular suburban mall. It houses one of Malaysia’s largest hypermarket chain, has a cinema, a bookstore, and a variety of dining and retail options that are very attractive to families. However, there is not a single nappy changing table at each of the publicly available restrooms.
Here, we’d also like to mention how unfriendly the space is for parents with strollers and to our disabled friends. There are no ramps near the staircases that lead us from mall exits to the outdoor restaurants.
Also, there are not enough lifts to service traffic at the mall, while lifts are located at the very far end of each floor. So, parents with strollers and families with wheelchair-bound members need to walk quite a distance to get there.
Sure, the mall is relatively small in size, but we attest that all public spaces need to be inclusive of everyone of varying degrees of mobility. If you are alone with your child in a stroller at City Mall, we clap at your effort for trying to navigate the mall independently.
Rating: 3 / 5
Like City Mall, ITCC Penampang currently has no dedicated parents room. Lucky for parents, lifts are accessible and the mall is generally okay for pushing strollers about.
Edit: Thanks to one of our readers, we’ve learnt that ITCC does have a parents room at the second level of the mall. We apologise for the mistake made.
However, we also learnt that the sofa chair for breastfeeding mothers has since been replaced with a plastic chair. And like with Suria shopping mall, the parents room is located at an obscure end of the shopping, which makes it less visible to parents.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Copyright © 2019 ParentsAvenue.com. All Rights Reserved. Parents Avenue - Sabah's First Online Parenting Guide. Wholly owned by Bay Media.