Safety and Injury Prevention
Choosing Safe Baby Products: Changing Tables
Generally, you can choose from three kinds of changing tables:
- wooden ones with guardrails
- fold-up models
- hinged chest adapters
Hinged chest adapters are not recommended — dressers with these adapters have toppled over when a baby's weight was placed close to the outer edge.
Babies can get hurt if they fall off changing tables, so they should always be watched closely.
What to look for:
- Wooden changing tables with rails are usually the least likely to sway or tip over when a baby pulls on them from the floor.
- Fold-up models should be checked for sturdiness: When the table is open, give it a good shake.
- A wire changing table should have a wide base so that a baby can't pull it over on top of himself or herself from the floor.
- The table should have shelves or compartments for storing everything you'll need. This prevents you from taking your eyes off your baby while you look for that hard-to-find item. You should keep supplies within your reach, but out of the baby's reach, since many diaper supplies are dangerous for babies.
- A flat changing surface should be surrounded on all four sides by a guardrail, which should be at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) in height. The surface should be lower in the middle than on the sides, which helps keep the baby from rolling from side to side.
- Use the safety belt every time you change your baby.
- Never leave your infant unattended even if you think he or she is secure.
- Stop using your changing table when your baby reaches the age or weight limit recommended by the manufacturer, which is typically age 2, or 30 pounds (13,607 grams).
Reviewed by: Susan Kelly, MD, and Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013