How to Find the Best Changing Pad for Your Baby (2018 Reviews)
Is it challenging to find a place to change your baby, especially when you’re away from home?
Do those disgusting changing stations in public restrooms leave you ready to coat your baby’s whole body in hand sanitizer?
Are you confused about what you should look for in a home changing pad?
What you need is the best changing pad you can find. Read my guide to learn the ins and outs of choosing changing pads for at home and on-the-go use.
Why Do I Need a Changing Pad?
When you become a mom, your baby is going to need thousands of diaper changes just in his first year (source). And some of the places you’re going to have to change your baby are going to leave you seriously grossed out.
In addition to the built-in wall changing stations at shopping centers that look like they haven’t been cleaned since the day they were installed, you’re also going to find scandalously dirty changing stations at restaurants and gas stations.
I once saw a shopping mall changing table that was so gross, I walked 10 minutes to go outside to my vehicle just so I could change my baby in my car because I had forgotten to pack a changing pad in the diaper bag. I was keeping my fingers crossed that she wouldn’t pee all over the seats in my car when I was changing her, but I had no choice. I’m not a picky person, but I draw the line at using a changing table that obviously wasn’t cleaned after another baby had a poop blowout.
Since you can’t control where your baby does his business, you’re going to have to be prepared to change him no matter where you are. That’s where a changing pad comes in handy.
Don’t Some Businesses Offer Disposable Changing Pads?
Some of those places I mentioned above will have disposable changing pads for you to use, but they don’t provide enough protection.
You still need your own changing pad.
Here’s what’s wrong with those disposable changing pads. They’re flimsy, not nearly long or thick enough and you should never depend on them being there because most businesses don’t offer them.
More on Diapers: What are the Best Diaper Pails?
Changing Pads Also Offer Protection to Your Possessions
Sometimes, having a changing pad is less about protecting your baby from filthy changing stations and more about saving other items from the contents of your baby’s soiled diapers. Poop blowouts are a fairly common happening in your baby’s first year. Once an item is soiled by a poop blowout, there’s no coming back. It’ll leave a huge stain and smell depending upon whether that item is machine washable or not.
Related Reading: How to Remove Baby Poop Stains
How Many Changing Pads Do I Need?
You’ll likely want two changing pads -- a portable one to use when you’re out of the house and one to use at home on your changing table.
I bought two with my first baby. One went in my diaper bag and the other was at home on my changing table.
I loved the soft feel of my at-home changing pad and the fact that it had straps to firmly attach it to my changing table. But my changing pad at home wasn’t one that would fold up well.
My diaper bag changing pad wasn’t as thick and fluffy as my at-home one was, but it was way more portable. It folded to take up virtually no room at all in my diaper bag.
More on Diapers: What are the Best Diaper Rash Creams?
What Should I Look For When Buying a Changing Pad?
In your search for a changing pad, you need to keep a few things in mind to make sure you don’t take a bath on the purchase. Here is what you need to know before you buy a changing pad that isn’t right for you.
Portability: If you can’t fold up your portable changing pad and fit it easily in your diaper bag, you’ve made a poor selection for a travel pad. That happened to a friend of mine. The changing pad she bought looked like she was carrying a gymnast’s mat with her because it was so thick and long. She hated lugging that thing around and I didn’t blame her.
Will it fit on top of your changing table: You probably already have a changing table picked out, or you might have bought a crib that has a built-in changing table at one end. If you already have a table, you need to make sure the pad you’re looking at will fit on it.
Do you need straps: You’ll see some changing tables with straps and some without them. The straps are there to secure the changing pad to furniture, whether it’s a dresser or a changing table (source). That helps stop the changing pad from sliding while it’s in use.
Do you need a non-skid bottom: Babies wiggle around a lot when you’re changing them. If you’re changing them on a higher surface that could be dangerous to them if they fall, you may want to consider a non-skid bottom, especially if your changing pad doesn’t have straps.
Do you want a belt: Although I never had a need for it, some moms like the idea of having safety belts on changing pads. This can come in handy if your baby likes to kick around a lot during diaper changes. It gives you added peace of mind that your baby won’t shift off the changing pad if you turn your head away for an instant.
Waterproof material: Sometimes babies give you an extra surprise when you change their diaper -- they pee the second you whip off that used diaper and before you’ve had a chance to put the new diaper under them. So you need to ask yourself, would you rather have a waterproof material that will keep your changing pad like new, or would you rather have a washable cover that soaks up the pee (source)?
Changing Pad Reviews
Here are some of the most awesome changing pads that you’ll need for an assortment of situations:
Best Changing Pad for Changing Tables
Using changing tables for swapping out diapers is a convenient way to go. When you shop for pads for changing tables, you’ll want to find a thick, contoured pad with a strap that will discourage your baby from rolling side to side or accidentally falling off the table.
This changing pad is a great choice for moms who are worried about the safety of their baby when they use a changing table. It comes with a thick strap that keeps your baby in place and safe while he’s being changed. Plus, the plush strap won’t leave your baby with red marks on his abdomen.
The strap is adjustable to fit a variety of ages, from newborns to toddlers.
The foam changing pad is contoured, which makes it harder for your baby to roll from side to side. It’s a good size at 16 by 32 by 3.5 inches.
- The cover uses waterproof materials.
- You can remove the strap when you need to clean it and throw it in the washing machine.
- The materials used for the pad are non-toxic.
- The foam pad is recyclable when your baby outgrows diaper changes.
- Some babies may find the loud Velcro belt too loud, especially if they are sleepy.
- Older babies will be smart enough to pull off the Velcro strap, which is easier to open than traditional click straps.
Best Changing Pad for Infants
The best changing pads for infants will be soft fabric that won’t irritate their sensitive skin. You’ll want something that won’t feel cold on their backs because infants spend a lot of time sleeping. You don’t want them to wake up when they’re getting sleepy just because of a frigid changing pad.
This changing pad is 16 by 32 inches and will fit most changing tables. It has security straps to firmly attach the pad to furniture.
You can buy covers for this pad in a number of colors or patterns to ensure your baby feels soft, warm fabric with every diaper change. The pad itself is made of waterproof material that you can easily clean up in case of accidents.
It has contoured walls to stop your baby from rolling from side to side. It also has a belt to keep your baby from accidentally falling.
- This changing pad is inexpensive.
- Easy to clean.
- It doesn’t stain.
- Universal changing pad covers fit on this.
- There’s a bit of a plastic smell to this pad.
- Despite the fact this changing pad has a non-skid bottom, it slides around like crazy on a hard surface.
Best Changing Pads for Small Spaces
Not everybody lives in a mansion. When you’re cramped in your house, you need a changing pad that won’t take up a lot of room. Babies already need so much space for all their gear, you don’t need a big, bulky changing pad hogging the room.
If you’re so short on space that you don’t even have a changing table, this pad may be a good solution. With the four sides, you don’t need a table, this will fully cover whatever surface you put it on. When you’re done with it, you can simply stash it in a closet until you need it next time.
It has contoured walls and a safety strap, which will keep your baby safe even if you use it on a higher surface.
The cushioning is double layered so it will be a durable option that you’ll get a lot of use out of.
- It can be anchored to a dresser if you want.
- It’s a good price for a changing pad.
- The four sides make it harder for a squirming baby to do much moving around.
- It’s nice and thick, which will be comfortable on hard surfaces.
- It’s difficult to clean because there are decorative perforations in the changing pad that are hard to reach with a normal washcloth.
- Because of the deep four sides, it’s hard to find a changing pad cover that will fit it.
Best Changing Pad for Diaper Bags
You need a changing pad that will easily fold up so it fits in your diaper bag without taking up all the valuable space in there. You’ll have to cart around a lot of diapers, wipes and extra clothes anytime you leave the house, so you’ll need all the space you can get. That’s why having a compact changing pad is important.
This changing pad will be big enough that your baby will be fully protected, but small enough that it can fold up neatly to fit into your diaper bag. Once you have it folded, it closes with a Velcro tab, meaning it won’t be popping open in your diaper bag.
Although it is thinner than changing pads you’ll use at home, it’s thick enough to give your baby some comfort when being changed on hard surfaces.
The surface of the pad is easy-to-wipe plastic, meaning it will be a cinch to clean up.
- It’s super inexpensive.
- Easy to clean.
- It’s waterproof.
- Lightweight enough you can carry it anywhere.
- It won’t be big enough for a toddler.
- It’s pretty slippery so you’ll have to be careful if you change your baby on high surfaces.
- The surface won’t feel warm on your baby’s back.
Best Changing Pad for Travel
When you’re traveling, you need a changing pad you can use anywhere. It can’t take up much room, and you don’t want to pay too much for it since you likely won’t be using it very often. You’ll also want it to pull double duty by having another function so you won’t waste the space.
This changing pad doubles as a storage bag. It has three pockets and one compartment to hold small things your baby might need like a bottle, wipes, extra clothes, ointments and multiple diapers.
The changing pad is large enough even for toddlers. It’s waterproof so you can wipe off any accidents. It has a handle so you can easily carry it during your travels. When it’s folded up, it doesn’t take up much room.
It comes with two buckle straps that let you fasten the changing pad to a stroller.
- It will hold everything you’ll need for diaper changes.
- Easy to clean and won’t stain.
- Folds up to a compact size.
- Easy to carry because it has a handle.
- Doesn’t hold up well with heavy washes.
- The outside material is rather rough.
Best Changing Pad for Dresser Tops
When you buy a pad to use on top of your dresser, it’s crucial that you get one with a strap. You’ll need to anchor that strap to a hard surface to make sure the changing pad doesn’t slip off the dresser. It’s an important safety feature you shouldn’t overlook.
This changing pad includes a security strap that you can fasten if you want to use it on a dresser top. For added safety, it also has a non-skid bottom that will keep the pad from sliding off the dresser during diaper changes. The sides are 4-inches high to prevent rollovers.
The outside of the pad is waterproof, phthalate free, non-toxic, anti-microbial and you can easily wipe it clean with a washcloth. It has a buckle to keep your baby in place if she likes to move around during diaper changes.
It’s made in the U.S., if you like to support American-made products.
- Good for smaller spaces, like dressers.
- Standard changing pad covers fit just fine on this.
- Comes with security straps to mount to a dresser.
- The straps can’t be removed if you need to wash them.
- The plastic has a crunchy feel to it.
Best Portable Changing Pad
Whether you’re going from one room to the next or spending the day at a relative’s house, you want a changing pad that’s portable. You’ll want to look for one that’s lightweight and can be cleaned easily.
This portable pad will carry everything you need to pull off a successful diaper change. A red wipes case comes with this pad.
A mesh pocket on the pad can hold four big-sized diapers. Plus, you can store creams and anything else you might need in there. The front zippered pocket can hold your cell phone, chapstick and anything else you might need to grab frequently.
The pad has a strap with a clip that can be attached to a stroller or carried by hand.
To give your baby extra comfort, the head section has been padded with a pillow.
- It’s a sturdy pad that will hold up well.
- It even fits into smaller-sized diaper bags.
- It has a cute, stylish design on the outside.
- The red wet wipes container transfers some of its color onto the wet wipes.
- It’s waterproof on both sides, which makes it slippery on hard surfaces.
And The Winner Is...
My favorite of these changing pads is the PooPoose pad. Aside from its adorable name, the safety belt on this pad is my favorite one. It won’t irritate your baby’s skin because it is thick and plush. It feels snuggly, which your baby will likely appreciate even if he can’t tell you.
It’s pretty expensive for a changing pad, but it holds up well. It’s big enough that you’ll be able to use it even for toddlers.
If you’re worried about safety, this is a great choice with its contoured sides and non-toxic materials.
No matter which changing pad you use, remember to always keep a close eye on your baby during his diaper changes!