width= How to Choose a Changing Table

 

Changing baby is a joy! The right changing table makes the job quick and easy!

Babies go through six to eight diapers a day and most kids are in diapers for three years. That’s a lot of diaper changes! It’s an unavoidable “must” with babies, so the solution is to create a functional, efficient space in which to change all of those diapers. For most parents, that means a changing table. There are styles to match any nursery decor, but as with all things for your baby, safety is the most important element.

How do I pick a safe changing table?
The construction of the table itself is crucial. Look for baby changing tables that are made of solid hardwood, preferably with metal supports for added security, like the Amish changing tables. If you plan to use your table for changing and dressing through the toddler years, choose one with a weight limit of at least 45 pounds. Choosing a changing table that has sturdy straps attached and a guardrail to prevent your baby from rolling off, creates a safe environment in which to change and dress your baby. Other construction elements to watch out for: no exposed nails and no rough edges. For your own safety, make sure it’s the right height for you so that you don’t strain your back while changing your baby. Lastly, make sure the finish on the changing table is non-toxic.

Can I keep both decor and storage space in mind while choosing a changing table?
You don’t have to compromise style to ensure a safe changing table. There are many styles that fit not only your decor, but also your lifestyle. Changing tables are a great way to maximize the space in your nursery. Changing tables come with shelves, drawers, hutches, or some combination of these features. If space is at a premium, drawers are your best option because they can hold burp cloths, extra linens, clothes, toys, and more. Don’t forget about the diapering essentials, though. Parents who want their baby’s changing table to transition into a dresser need to look for one with a removable tray.

The “extras” of your changing table may make or break its functionality. If your changing table has open shelves, consider using baskets or bins to organize supplies. Look for baskets that will stand up to years of use—sturdy wicker stands the test of time—and are the right size both for your shelves and the supplies you want to put in them. If you use liners to make the baskets more attractive, make sure they fit well and are machine washable. Having your diapering basics handy while changing your baby is essential in getting the job done quickly.

Finally, consider the rest of your nursery decor when choosing a changing table style. If you have a sleigh or wrought iron crib, choose a changing table that complements that style.

Are all changing table pads the same?
No, they’re not. Changing table pads can be flat, contoured, four-sided, or disposable. Find one that suits your needs and fits your changing table. The safest pads available are the contoured and the four-sided changing table pads. A vinyl pad is best as it’s easy to wash and sanitize.

Considering its use, it’s smart to opt for a waterproof changing table pad. You can dress it up—and make it more comfortable for your baby—with the cover of your choice. Make sure that you choose a pad cover that’s designed for your changing pad. A flat cover won’t work with a contoured pad, for example.

It’s good to keep in mind that most changing tables come with pads, but they’re relatively inexpensive to replace if you’re not satisfied with the pad that’s included.

The Bottom Line
A changing table is a safe, convenient place to change and dress your baby, and it provides useful storage space in the nursery.

Our Mom Expert
Caron Webber, 37, is the mother of five children, ages 2 to 12.

“One thing no one tells you about having a baby is the amount of paperwork that comes with them! I was so sick of all the little pieces of paper that I almost threw away the product registration card that came with the changing table. I was glad I took 30 seconds to fill it out and send it in, though, when I was notified that there was a recall on the table I bought. It wasn’t a big deal—the company sent me a replacement safety strap to take care of the problem—but it was a good reminder to send in the product registration card on all of the baby gear I bought for my kids.”

 
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