Changing pads are an essential piece of kit for any modern parent or caregiver. You might sometimes find it hard to choose the right style, design or version for your needs. You could opt for a newborn changing pad or you could be on the hunt for the best baby changing mat on the market. This useful list will make sure to cover the most useful features of changing pad stations that you can avail of while using yours for those all important diaper changes.
Are Changing Pads Essential?
Most modern parents today will probably agree that change pads for babies are one of the most effective and useful practical parenting tools that you can use. They provide a safe structure and area to change diapers on, they keep things clean when you are dealing with toilet material and they help you manage the logistics of a diaper change much more easily. These pads offer a parent or caregiver a hygienic space to work on, to ensure less risk of germs spreading, as well as a soft and comfortable place for the baby to be placed where there is no risk of them being hurt. It also saves on having to wash lots of towels which can have an effect on the environment and the financial costs of the household. They are also brilliant to use if you are on the move with your child as there are portable versions that can be used anywhere and everywhere.
Where to get Changing Pads on the Move?
No matter where you are, on vacation, at work, anywhere really, you can get hold of the best infant changing mat almost anywhere. You can buy one online at an online retailer such as amazon or Ebay, or you can go to your local drugstore or pharmacy to get them. Parenting stores also offer a wide range, and you can even get them in home ware stores such as IKEA and others, so there is an increasing amount of choice.
How to Protect your Changing Pad?
A top change pad can last for a long time and through several children, if it is respected and used correctly. This means keeping it clean and maintaining it properly. There are many tricks and tips for how to go about this, because a good one can be an investment and you will want to keep it looking and operating in tip top condition. Firstly, you can always make sure to wash your hands before and after changing a diaper (this is common sense, of course!) but it isn’t just to protect you and baby, but also to keep the pad clean. Then you can make sure to use a good quality antibacterial wipe or spray to wipe down the surface of the pad before and after use, so that all germs are eradicated.
You can also add an extra layer of protection by putting down a layer of muslin cloth or a small towel so that baby doesn’t feel cold (or that soft skin doesn’t stick to it!) and also to catch any ‘nasties’ that may end up on the pad itself. Finally, a great rule of thumb is to make sure you have everything you might possibly need to hand before putting the pad out, because you never know what can happen during a diaper change!
Things to Consider When Buying a Diaper Changing Pad?
Size: Yes, they come in all shapes and sizes, and you will probably have a personal preference if you want a large changing mat, a travel diaper changer size, or a baby changing item for dresser then there is so much choice out there. You can get large foam ones that can fit up to six months, or molded shapes that have a firmer structure to them. Other options are more soft, floppy type ones that fold into a bag. Whether you want a large changing mat or a table top changing pad, the choice is yours.
Portability: Some are designed to be kept on a changing table and are therefore not portable, others are cleverly constructed with poppers and buttons to keep them folded and closed inside a compact bag, and are easily opened up for use anywhere, on holiday, while shopping or in other’s houses. You can buy a baby travel changing pad that you can take along with you as you move, or a pad for dresser top, that is also really useful.
Belts or Straps: Pads with straps takes inspiration from car seat safety, and come with a built in set of straps for your baby to be kept safe and secure as they are being changed. This works well if your mat is also secured to the table or changing unit. They are also useful if you have a slightly older child who is not yet potty trained for medical reasons, and a toddler pad with straps can be really useful in these cases.
Waterproof: This is probably one of the most important considerations when looking for a mat, because as we know, its going to get completely soaked and covered in unmentionable things, so you’d rather not have one that is absorbent in any way, shape or form. Probably all changing mats are waterproof to some degree, but some are probably better quality than others. Foam change pads are also waterproof, because they are usually covered in a protective outer layer to stop absorbency.
Non Slip Surface: Sometimes the more traditional mats can be prone to slipperiness, and when you get a wet child on top of this, all hell can break loose, so having a mat that is made of a non-slip surface is very important, you want your little one to be safe and secure at all times when you are changing them, and you certainly don’t want them falling off the mat from a height. This is definitely a consideration to think about when buying a mat.
10 Best Baby Changing Pads
1. Munchkin Baby Pad
This pristine, neutral Munchkin Baby Pad is a very good option because it has clever safety straps that keep it from shifting or moving out of place as your baby wriggles around during changing. The surface is wipe-clean and easy to maintain and it is suitable to use on most changing dressers or tables. It boasts all safety measures so parents can buy with confidence and reassurance that things will be safe. It measures 16 inches by 31 inches and the fabric is cushioned and totally waterproof, so any naughty little leaks are easily dealt with and won’t damage the lining of the pad. Munchkin, as we know, is a safe, tried and trusted brand for babies.
2. Portable Changing Mat
Is this a changing mat? Or a changing bag? It’s kind of a mini version of both, actually. It has handy features that offer a really swift, easy diaper change no matter where you are. It is a clutch-style bag, so it is portable and easy to carry around and it has a special, soft pillow built into the mat so that your baby will always have its head resting on a soft area as you change that all important diaper.
The diaper changing mat can be zipped off which is handy for cleaning and the wipes case is see-through, which is really helpful because you can see when you’re going to run out. It can manage up to four diapers for emergency changes as well as having storage space for some creams and other important baby items. You can even keep your cellphone or change purse in the front zipper pocket. It fits into a bigger bag and even has a handy wrist strap that can be put on a wrist or the bar of a stroller. This is a clever one, for sure and for more ideas for dads check out this review on diaper bags for dads. .
3. Breathable Baby Changing Pad
This one is a little different. It comes as a three piece set and has a range of choice depending on where you are and what your changing needs are. The set comes in a range of colors also, which is quite nice if you already know the gender of your baby, the color scheme of their room or if you are buying as a gift for a gender reveal party, baby shower or christening. It comes in three sizes, 27.5 x 41.3 inches, 27.5 x 19.7 inches or 17.7 x 13.7 inches.
The pad can be used anywhere because it can be folded and kept easily within a changing bag or large handbag. It can be machine or hand washed too, which is a real advantage if it happens to get covered in…well, you know what! There is however a little note of caution from the makers that they can’t be dried in a dryer, but should be hung to dry. It is made of totally organic cotton, so it is friendly for those who are interested in environmental issues and sustainability and it also is quick to absorb moisture, so its a great option.
4. Infant Contoured Pad
This is an example of a specially molded or shaped pad that is easy for the baby to feel comfortable in. It is made of quilted vinyl which happily makes it totally waterproof and very strong – hopefully strong enough to last for a few babies! It is easily wiped clean and disinfected and also has a helpful shape to stop baby rolling around or away into danger. The clever safety strap is also great because you can attach it to a piece of furniture, a normal table, desk or a baby changing station and it won’t come loose. It measures 16 inches by 32 inches and will be suitable for most standard tables. This is a really versatile, practical infant changing mat that would be a popular choice.
5. Travel Mat Station
This is another portable version, and is the best diaper changing kit for slipping into a changing bag or handbag or even for bringing to a swimming class if you don’t want to trouble yourself by bringing too many baby items. It can be easily folded away so it takes up very little space and has a cushioned area to use as a pillow when your baby is lying down having their diaper changed. It can fit any size of baby and is made in a waterproof design so it is easily wiped clean and kept hygienic. It can be folded right down into a clutch bag shape and is designed in neutral tones so it can easily be used for any baby and also makes a great practical yet gender neutral gift.
6. LA Baby Changing Kit
This American made changing kit is very useful. It has quite steep sides, around four inches, which means that baby won’t easily roll around or out of reach. It measures 32 x 16 x 4 inches in total and boasts a specially designed bottom side that has material that means it won’t suddenly skid off the table you’ve set it on. It provides peace of mind and practicality for the parent and safety for the baby. It has a quilted cover that is made of vinyl which means it is 100% waterproof and hypoallergenic as well as having no toxic materials also. An added feature with safety in mind is a security strap which holds baby securely and is also easily released with one click. It also claims to not hold any stains and is cleaned simply with soap and water.
7. Diaper Bag & Changing Cover
This is possibly the best diaper changing clutch – it has a stylish design and is fully portable, and easy to carry around, whether you have a bag, just a stroller or even your handbag. It is especially useful when traveling or flying with a baby. It has several useful features, with totally waterproof materials so it won’t get soggy and is easily cleaned and wiped down. It has a soft cushioned area and is made with polyester and polyerhelyne foam so it is squishy but will keep its shape. It has a handle and a shoulder strap that can be adjusted for your needs as well as a stroller strap so it can be quickly strapped on and you’re good to go. It has a couple of helpful sections inside where you can store all your changing accessories as well as a special pouch for wipes.
8. Foldable Baby Station Pad
This baby station pad is a little more unusual than others. It has a specially shaped design which allows it took hook on to itself to create a small play area to keep baby occupied while you change them. So when you’re next out at a restaurant or struggling to change a diaper on a plane, you can rest assured that baby will be too busy having fun to bother messing around while you change them. It is made of totally BPA free materials that are safe for children and the material is also waterproof so it is easily cleaned and washable. It can be folded up and hooked on to a stroller and has hour handy pockets to store everything you need for that urgent diaper change.
9. SnoofyBee Travel Pad
Another travel diaper changer that adapts to suit baby’s playful antics is the SnoofyBee design. It closes into a small clutch style bag that is able to be stored anywhere you like but it has the helpful feature that allows you to strap them into the top section, occupying them and keeping them busy while you clean and change them. This set is also useful because it comes with a teether which is an added bonus. It will keep your baby happy and they can have a chew on it while they are being tended to. The changer can suit up to a two year old which means you will get long use from it. It measures 37 x 13.5 inches so it is a useful size.
10. Skip Hop Nursery Pad
The Skip Hop pad is a very pretty addition to any nursery. Considering these mats are used for a less than pleasant task, it’s nice to see a dresser top changing pad that is designed both with practicality and style in mind. It would look well on any style of changing table and its neutral yet stylish pale gray color is very attractive. The pad has a helpful safety belt to keep little wrigglers safe from any disasters as well as boasting a non-skid base so the product won’t fly off the table with any sudden movements. It is totally waterproof so will be kept as clean as you want and it is totally PVC and Phthalate free so you can purchase with reassurance that baby won’t be hurt by any of the materials.
How Many Changing Pads do you Need?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? Some people might say that one is enough. But what is required at home on a changing table can be totally different to what you need when you are out and about with your children. You might want one when you go to swimming classes, because as any parent knows, remembering to include everything when you take the kids swimming can be a challenge, so it might be helpful to have a slimline version to go inside a swim bag. It’s also useful to keep one permanently inside the diaper bag.
You might be the sort of family that has more than one diaper bags for twins because you pack one for the nanny, childcare or even have twins, and prefer to keep a separate one packed at home for later in the day or at the weekend. It could even be sensible to have an emergency one in the car, because we often forget the bag and leave the house facing certain diaper disaster. Of course, many of us like to have a more substantial one in the house, possibly in the nursery in order to do more comfortable, proper diaper changes during the night time hours. It’s personal preference but a word of warning – baby brain can make you forgetful, so having more than one might not be the worst idea!
Tips on How to Safely use Changing Pads?
Firstly, make sure the mat is a safe, approved brand that is made from the appropriate materials. Then make sure that you use the pad on a safe, secure surface that doesn’t slip and preferably isn’t too high off the ground. Keep the baby either strapped in or keep your hand on them at all times, the worst fear can come true if you step away from them, even for a second – we all know how wriggly they are! Finally, make sure that you have all the items you need to hand and to have spares handy also, because things can easily get damaged, knocked onto the floor or soiled when you least expect it. Also make sure you clean the pad properly before storing away safely.
Best Overall Pick
Skip Hop Pronto
This one stood out above the others as regards the best overall purchase. Because it offers itself as a mini bag/mat and had so many features that were of good quality, it is an obvious choice. The soft pillow section is great because you know baby will be comfortable and cozy while being changed and the fact that it can be unzipped and cleaned is a real bonus. It has a stylish, modern design that will suit any gender or age of baby and we also thought the sections for storing your own items were a really thoughtful design touch, that would just make parents lives that little bit easier when they are trying to manage the logistics of the dreaded diaper change.
Best Budget Buy
Travel Mat Station
Yes, it’s our trusty basic mat station at number five which is our best budget buy. Because it is portable yet simple, it offers the basics of what you need for any diaper change. It offers a wipe clean mat space, a cushioned section for baby’s head to stay comfortable and is totally waterproof so unlike some other, cheaper budget versions, it won’t get wet or absorb any nasty fluids and is easily kept clean. It’s neutral tones also got it a thumbs up from us because it could be a useful gift for a baby shower or gender reveal party that is useful, practical and thoughtful, but won’t break the bank.