Baby Changing Station Buyers' Guide
If your business is open to the public, it is almost inevitable that families with small children will come in, and having the proper accommodations for them can have a huge impact on their perceptions of your business. A survey of parents by Koala Kare1 revealed that parents seek out businesses with baby changing stations and other childcare accommodations, and are likely to be loyal to and spend more money at those businesses. There are several baby changing options available, so there is a model available to fit into almost any restroom layout.
Baby changing stations can be installed either on a wall or countertop, with potential benefits to each. Wall-mounted changing stations can be folded up onto the wall to save space, but countertop tables have the benefit of being sturdy without hinges that can wear out over time. Each installation option has different variations to consider.
Counter-mounted changing tables are most often seen in large restrooms, and have the benefit of giving parents a countertop surface to place changing supplies on. Models are available that can be installed on top of the counter or recessed into it. While the recessed model has fewer corners and is therefore easier to clean, it is also more difficult to install and will require a separate wall-mounted liner dispenser, since the recessed model does not have a built-in liner dispenser. The countertop changing table does have two liner dispensers, and rises 31⁄4 inches over the countertop. Both models have a nylon safety strap, and replacements are available for when those get worn or damaged.
Like the countertop changing stations, wall-mounted changing tables can be mounted on or recessed into the wall. When closed, surface-mounted models extend 4 to 51⁄4 inches out from the wall, so small spaces may benefit from a recessed changing station, which is flush with the wall until opened. For both of these options, horizontal and vertical models are available to fit into different spaces. Each model has nylon safety straps, and many also have bag hooks and shelves to keep changing supplies convenient.
When installing a wall-mounted changing table, it is important to keep ADA regulations in mind so your restroom's amenities can be accessible to all who need them. When closed, the handle of the table should not be more than 48 inches high. When opened, the work surface should not be higher than 34 inches. The bottom of the open table should not be lower than 27 inches, allowing ample room for wheelchairs underneath.
Most commercial baby changing tables are made of polypropylene plastic, which is durable and easy to clean, and have an antimicrobial compound molded into that plastic to help prevent the growth of harmful and odor-causing bacteria. This plastic comes in varying shades of gray and brown to allow the units to fit in with bathroom décor.
For upscale restrooms, a stainless steel unit may be preferred. While the bed of each changing table is made of plastic, there are wall-mounted models available with stainless steel exteriors in both vertical and horizontal orientations. Steel tables are only available in rectangles, but plastic tables are available in rectangular and oval designs. The stainless steel is more durable over time, but does show fingerprints more than a plastic table will.
If you select a changing table that does not have a liner dispenser built in, a wall-mounted sanitary liner dispenser allows you to provide parents with some peace of mind when it comes to the sanitation of the changing table. These dispensers are available in plastic and stainless steel. Stainless steel diaper kit dispensers are also available and offer vending of packages that include a bed liner, two wipes, and a disposal bag.
- Parents for Changing Tables. Koala Kare. Accessed April 2017.