Diaper Changing Table Safety
Changing baby’s diaper is part of your daily, even hourly, job description as a parent. In the first year of life, the average baby goes through around 2,500 diapers — which amounts to 2,500 trips to the changing table. Most of the time, even when you’re bleary-eyed and uncaffeinated, your diaper-changing routine is predictable, and it probably doesn’t require much thought or strategy. But that doesn't mean your time at the changing table isn’t without frustration — or in some cases, without significant risk.
Changing table accidents are more common than you think
Squirmy (read: developing and curious) babies aren’t always excited to be confined to a changing table, which can easily translate to potential injury. In 2012, there were more than 5,000 ER visits due to changing-table accidents. Most of these injuries were falls, which are a common form of injury especially for younger babies. For children under age one, falls account for more than half of non-fatal injuries. Since infants have more fragile skulls, falling from a changing table can have fatal consequences — experts compare babies falling a few feet to an adult falling several stories.
The attention of a responsible caretaker and a safe changing table setup can help prevent these accidents. Consumer Reports recommends caretakers opt for changing tables with barriers on all four sides, and that parents always use safety straps on the changing table or pad. It may go without saying, but parents should never leave babies of any age unattended on a changing table, even to step away for a quick second. It’s also a good idea to keep at least one hand on the baby at all times. One good way to make sure that happens is to keep essential supplies, like diapers, wipes, and creams, closeby (or inside!) the changing table for quick and easy grabbing.
If you’ve ever changed a diaper, then you know an angry or squirmy baby can be near impossible to corral, even with all the precautions in the world. So you might have to employ a bit of forethought and creativity to keep your child happy and still along the way. One solution? Buy yourself some cooperation with a distraction in the form of a unique toy or some brief but engaging screen time.
Since you need both of your hands to get the changing job done — and handing your child the phone isn’t exactly without risk, either — you might need to enlist some help. Diapertainment, which mounts your device on the wall at the perfect viewing angle, is an easy way to keep your baby calm while you swap diapers. Just hit play on your child’s favorite show or video, slide your phone inside the tray, and start changing.
Then, in the absence of your kid’s normal screaming fits, take a deep breath and get the job done quickly. By keeping your baby entertained, you just made the diaper-changing process faster, easier, less messy, and more importantly, a whole lot safer.