Babies aren’t known for their good timing or their ability to wait patiently until you’re home before unleashing a diaper explosion on you.
When it comes time to fix that mess, you want a good place to lay your baby down and get rid of any incriminating evidence. Having a good changing pad can save you a lot of time, hassle, and mess.
We’ve spent hours researching a wide range of changing pads, asking experienced moms what works best for them, whether it be for use at home or on the go. We’ve come up with this list of the best changing pads, so you’ll never have to worry about being stuck in a messy situation again.
- Comfortable padding
- Attaches tightly to dressing table
- Wipes clean
- Secure safety belt
- Lots of color options
- Non-slip bottom
- Good for smaller spaces
- Fits standard covers
- Comes with security straps
- Long-lasting solution
- Fits into the smallest diaper bags
- Cute, stylish design
- Keeps messes contained
- Doesn't require covers
- Puncture resistant material
- Compact design
- Can be anchored to dresser
- Reasonably priced
- Secure safety belt
- Modern, ergonimic design
- Requires minimal cleaning
- Multi-functional design
- Suits any diaper changing station
- High quality, organic materials
- Super inexpensive
- Waterproof and lightweight
- 10 stylish design options
- Extra wide mat
- Cushioned head support
Is a Changing Pad Necessary?
The average baby requires more than 2,000 diaper changes in their first year alone. Many of these diaper changes will take place when you’re out and about, and public changing tables are rarely cleaned well (1). Often, when you most need it, a changing table just isn’t available.
And when it comes to changing diapers at home or at others’ homes, without a changing pad, you may be left with a nasty mess on your changing surface that isn’t easy to clean.
Having a changing pad both at home and on the go can save you from a lot of trouble. It keeps your baby on a safe, clean surface and prevents further messes.
Keep In Mind
Don’t Some Businesses Offer Disposable Changing Pads?
It’s rare to find a business that offers disposable changing pads with their changing table. And disposable changing pads don’t provide as much protection as reusable options. It’s best to come prepared and always keep a changing pad in your diaper bag.
Changing Pads Protect Your Possessions
Having a changing pad can save furniture and other items from the contents of your baby’s soiled diapers.
Unfortunately, poop blowouts are a fairly common occurrence in your baby’s first year. Once an item is soiled, there’s no going back. You may be stuck with an undesirable poop stain, especially if the item isn’t machine washable. Having a changing pad with a washable changing pad cover will protect your furniture.
How to Choose a Changing Pad
Here are some tips to help you choose the best changing pad for your needs.
- Portability: When you’re away from home, the best changing pad will fold easily to fit in your diaper bag. You don’t want to lug around the equivalent of a giant yoga mat.
- Fit: You may already have a changing table or a baby crib with one built-in, so you need to make sure the pad you’re looking at will fit the surface it’s being used on. You also want to ensure full surface coverage when changing a messy diaper. If you hope to be able to use your changing pad until your baby is a toddler, look for a minimum length of 33 inches and a width of at least 17 inches.
- Straps: Some changing pads include straps for fastening it to the changing surface. This can be beneficial if your changing pad will be in a permanent location such as a changing table.
- Non-skid bottoms: Babies are wiggly creatures, which can be dangerous if they’re being changed on a higher surface. Consider a changing pad with a non-skid base, especially if your changing pad doesn’t include a safety belt.
- Belts: A safety belt can come in handy if you have a busy baby or toddler who doesn’t like diaper changes. It will give you peace of mind that your baby won’t escape and potentially get hurt when you’re cleaning them up.
- Waterproof material: Sometimes babies give you an extra surprise and pee on everything before you’ve had a chance to load a new diaper. Having a waterproof changing surface and a machine washable cover can save you from a lot of extra clean-up.
The Best Changing Pads of 2021
These are the best changing pads for at-home and on-the-go use.
1. Munchkin Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad
If you’re worried about your baby’s safety while on the changing table, this is a great choice. It has grips to keep the pad in place so it won’t move while you change your baby. It also has high contoured sides so your baby can’t roll off, and a safety strap that secures around your baby’s abdomen.
It measures 16 by 31 inches to fit most changing tables. Made of polyurethane foam, it’s comfortable for your little one and very easy to wipe clean after each use.
- Secure grip for extra security.
- Thick padding is comfortable for baby.
- Made of easy-to-wipe, waterproof fabric.
- Fits most changing tables.
- Uncomfortable without a soft cover.
2. Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
This model is 16 x 32 inches and will fit most changing tables. It has security straps to firmly attach it to furniture. The non-slip bottom means your baby won’t go skidding as you try to wrangle a disastrous diaper off them.
The changing pad comes in a variety of colors, and you can buy a batch of matching covers to ensure your baby is soft, warm, and clean with every diaper change. The pad itself is made of waterproof material that you can easily clean up in case of accidents. Both the click belt and the contoured walls stop your baby from rolling or falling off.
- It’s inexpensive.
- Lots of color options.
- Made of non-staining material.
- Fits universal covers.
- Initially has a chemical smell.
- Still a little slippery in spite of its non-skid bottom.
3. LA Baby 4-Sided Changing Pad
This LA Baby changing pad includes a security strap that you can use to fasten it to a dresser or other flat surface. For added safety, it also has a non-skid bottom to keep the pad stable during diaper changes. The four-inch sides help 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. There’s an additional buckle for securing extra-squirmy babies. If you prefer American-made products, this changing pad is a great option.
- Fits shorter surfaces like dressers (30 inches long).
- American made
- Security straps mount to a dresser.
- Straps can’t be removed if you need to wash them.
- The plastic has a crunchy feel to it.
- Shorter design may not work for toddlers.
4. Skip Hop Pronto Signature Portable Changing Pad
This portable pad will carry everything you need to pull off a successful diaper change, all in one mini carry pouch. It even includes a cute baby wipes case. To provide extra comfort, the head section includes extra cushioning.
A mesh pocket on the pad can hold four large-sized diapers, with room to spare for creams and anything else you might need. The front zippered pocket can also hold your cell phone, hand sanitizer, chapstick, and anything else you might need to grab frequently.
This pad also has a strap with a clip that can be conveniently attached to a stroller or carried by hand.
- Holds up well to lots of use.
- Fits into smaller-sized diaper bags.
- Cute, stylish design.
- Red wet wipes container transfers some of its colors onto the wet wipes.
- Waterproof fabric makes it slippery on hard surfaces.
5. Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad
This cute “peanut” changing pad is more like a helpful little cushion that you can wipe down no matter what gross things your baby does while they’re on it. The design is simple, incorporating high sides, a safety belt, and a cushy surface, all in one smooth shape. While a little pricey, you don’t need to purchase covers for it.
There are a few fun colors available, and the base grips any surface, preventing it from sliding around. The material is comfortable, puncture-resistant, and discourages bacterial growth, so you can be sure it’s clean and safe even after extended use.
- Unique design contains messes.
- No need to buy a cushion or cover.
- Easily fits on most surfaces.
- Some parents dislike the oily feel of the plastic.
- The chemical odor can be a little strong.
6. Summer Infant 4-Sided Changing Pad
If you’re short on space and have opted out of using a changing table, this pad may be the best solution. With its four raised sides, you don’t need a table, as this will fully cover any surface. When you’re done with it, you can simply stash it in a closet.
It has contoured walls and a safety strap, which will keep your baby safe even if you use it on an elevated surface. The cushioning is double layered, making this a durable option you can get a lot of mileage out of.
- Easily anchors to surfaces.
- Costs less than other similar changing pads.
- Raised sides contain squirmy babies.
- Extra cushioning makes it comfortable on hard surfaces.
- Decorative perforations make it difficult to clean.
- The deep sides prevent standard covers from fitting.
7. Bumbo Changing Pad
This one-piece design by Bumbo is a perfectly shaped polyurethane pod to change your little stinker on without worrying they’ll stain any cute pad covers. This is a simple, modern-looking piece of gear that can be far more thoroughly cleaned than a foam or fabric pad.
It’s soft, comfy, and comes with a clippable restraint belt to keep baby secure. The material is similar to what’s used on classic Bumbo seats — and just as easy to wipe down.
- Unique, sloping design keeps messes away from baby.
- Doesn’t require changing pad covers.
- Ergonomic design is more comfortable than flat changing pads.
- Most costly than other options.
- Foam-like material sometimes peels or flakes.
8. Woven Baby Basket Changing Pad
This uniquely designed changing basket is constructed without the use of hazardous chemicals or materials such as latex, PVC, formaldehyde, or phthalates. The basket is made of natural seagrass, hand-crafted by women artisans, giving it a distinct boho look that is stunning and decorative. It is equipped with two leakproof organic changing liners which are unbleached and undyed and will not aggravate any allergies.
The shape of this pad is great at containing your little one while you change them, and the surface is soft and cushiony for a warm, comfortable feel.
- Multi-functional handicraft.
- Suits any diaper-changing station.
- Made of high-quality, organic materials.
- Cotton waterproof pad sometimes missing upon shipment.
9. Summer Infant Quickchange Portable Changing Pad
This Summer Infant Quickchange is big enough that your baby will be fully protected but small enough that it can fold up neatly into your diaper bag. Once you have it folded, it closes firmly with a Velcro tab, meaning it will not pop open later.
Although it’s thinner than products you’ll use at home, it’s thick enough to give your baby some comfort when being changed on hard surfaces. The material is an easy-to-wipe plastic which is a cinch to clean up.
- Cheaper than other similar pads.
- Lightweight enough to carry anywhere.
- Folds flat to prevent extra diaper bag bulk.
- Not big enough for a toddler.
- Slippery surface is not good for use on higher tables.
- Fabric isn’t very warm or comfortable.
10. Skip Hop Portable Baby Changing Pad
This handy product doubles as a spacious clutch. With two pockets, you can stash any necessary essentials. The large mesh pocket has room for diapers, creams, and wipes. And the front zip pocket has room for sanitizer, keys, phone, wallet, and other personal items.
When you need to change your baby’s diaper, just open the mat and lay it on a flat surface. The extra-wide changing area is 23.5 by 21.75 inches, so it can fit most babies up to a year old. It has a wipe-clean surface, so you can wrap it back up again after use.
- 10 stylish design options.
- Extra-wide changing surface.
- Cushioned head support for babies.
- Smaller clutch doesn’t have room for multiple diapers or clothes.
- No extra padding for comfort.
How Many Changing Pads Do I Need?
It’s best to have two changing pads: a portable option that folds up to fit in your diaper bag and a more solid design for use at home.
How to Use a Changing Pad Safely
- First, install the pad correctly according to the instructions. Anchor the pad to the surface securely using any provided fasteners, and test it thoroughly to make sure it’s secure.
- Pre-wash any covers, if you’re using them, and attach one to the changing pad.
- Make sure the safety belt works, and adjust it to the correct length.
- If your pad doesn’t have a non-slip bottom, consider placing your own non-slip mat underneath.
- Do a safety check: when getting changed, can your baby pull anything down onto themselves, or get hurt on any sharp edges?
- The first time you use the changing pad, lay your baby down and strap them in, then change the diaper. Only unfasten the strap when they’re done and fully clothed.
- Store diapering supplies within reach so your baby is always under direct supervision while you change their diaper.
How to Wash a Changing Pad
How you wash your changing mat will depend on the kind you have and the material it’s made from. Most manufacturers will clearly outline any laundering instructions.
- For plastic, contoured pads: Simply wipe down using antibacterial wipes, a little detergent, or even a weak solution of bleach after each diaper change. Consider keeping a small spritz bottle in a diaper caddy to whip out when you’re finished.
- For foam pads: Cotton or polyester pad covers can be washed as usual in your washing machine, but avoid doing the same with the mat itself, as you’ll likely destroy it. Instead, thoroughly wipe it down, and allow it to air dry to prevent any staining. You could also try vacuuming the pad.
- Pads with softer fills: These can sometimes be machine or hand washed, and you might like to use a splash of white vinegar, bleach, or stain remover to get rid of any soiling.
- For portable pads: Wipe down with an antibacterial wipe or a wet cloth and a little bleach, and air dry it in the sun. Avoid putting in the washing machine, especially if most of the material is synthetic.