Learning something new and growing every day, it seems like your baby is changing constantly. It may also seem like you're changing baby's diapers just as often. That's when a reliable system really comes in handy. While some parents swear by the convenience of a changing table, others turn to changing pads for use on the dresser, floor or bed. Whichever works best for you, a clean, safe and comfortable place to change baby will make the process easier. Check out our guidelines on changing tables and pads to see what will match your needs.
changing tables 101
A changing table offers a safe place to lay baby while giving you the convenience of height for easier access and a better hold. Most changing tables come with barriers on all four sides and a safety strap to keep baby secure. For added accommodation, changing tables usually have drawers, shelves and/or baskets for you to store changing essentials such as diapers, wipes, ointments, layettes and blankets.
open-shelf changing tables have a protective guardrail on top that helps prevent baby from falling. All changing needs are kept within arm's reach in the open shelves below.
dresser-drawer changing tables provide convenience and versatility. They have spacious, concealed drawers and shelving to keep diapers and other necessities out of sight. As your child grows, you can use it as a dresser.
changing table/dresser combos are a space-saving solution. A contoured changing pad fits securely on top of a dresser with drawers for storing layettes and other essentials. This versatile piece continues to serve as a dresser through the years. Some have a matching hutch, which is sold separately.
Whichever style of changing table you choose, never leave your baby alone on it- for even a moment. Be sure to stop using your changing table once your little one reaches the manufacturer's weight or age limit, which is typically 30 pounds or 2 years old.
changing pads 101
A changing pad is a portable, cushioned surface for baby to lie on while being changed or dressed. It can be used on the top of a sturdy dresser, floor or any secure, flat surface and is designed to ensure your little one's comfort.
contoured changing pads have upward curved edges that prevent baby from rolling over. For additional safety, most pads include adjustable safety straps to help hold baby in place and non-skid bottoms to prevent the pad from slipping. Vinyl exteriors make them easy to clean, and machine-washable changing pad covers keep baby extra comfy and complement any nursery.
multi-use, waterproof pads are designed with vinyl or waterproof cloth exteriors and can be used nearly anywhere. These mulitiple use pads are great for a quick change in the crib, on baby's day out or even while traveling.
disposable pads are quilted on top providing absorbency as well as softness next to baby's tender skin. They're also waterproof on the bottom to help avoid moisture from soaking through. Because they are disposable, they are ideal to take on long trips.
While a changing pad is included with some changing tables, you can also purchase them separately. If your changing table does not have safety straps, be sure to buy a changing pad with them.
Just like with changing tables, never leave your baby alone on a changing pad, even if it's being used on the floor or has contoured sides. Constant supervision is an absolute necessity.
Having a designated area for changing baby, whether on a table or a pad, will make diapering and dressing your little one quick and manageable!