Changing pads are included with most changing tables. If your changing table did not include the changing pad, they can be purchased separately and in a variety of sizes, shapes, and thicknesses.
Changing pads are usually made of polyurethane foam or hypo-allergenic foam. Changing pads are typically flat rectangular pads or rectangular pads with contoured sides that curve upwards to cradle your baby. The foam in flat changing pads is usually one inch thick. Contoured changing pads tend to be one inch to three inches thick along the sides. Most contoured changing pads have open ends, although you can find four-sided contoured pads that completely enclose your baby and protect your furniture from any unexpected leakage.
There are three types of changing pads: vinyl, cloth, and disposable.
Vinyl changing pads are the most common and most convenient because they are waterproof and wipe clean easily. Vinyl changing pads come in both flat and contoured styles and are usually quilted.
Cloth changing pads are less common, but are becoming more popular for those who are environmentally conscious. It is important that a cloth pad have a waterproof layer on the reverse side or inside to help keep the changing table sanitized. Cloth changing pads are safe to throw in the washer and dryer.
Low-end cloth changing pads are made of 100% flannel and may not be waterproof. High-end cloth changing pads are made of premium woven ticking and are stain resistant, fire-resistant, waterproof, hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
Disposable changing pads are ideal for traveling if your diaper bag is not equipped with a travel-sized vinyl change pad. Disposable change pads are available in packs of 4 or rolls of 16–20. The top side is a soft, absorbent cloth-like paper while the back is a slightly sticky, non-slip, waterproof plastic.
The key to choosing a changing pad is how easily it can be cleaned. A quick wipe with a wet cloth or a toss in the washer is really all you want to deal with when it comes to cleaning changing pads.
- The selection of changing table pads are few. My overall favorite is the simple Contour Changing Pad by Child Craft. It is a simple pad with a safety belt and a non-skid bottom. It took about a year of daily use before it began to show signs of wear in the corners which is a good run for a vinyl pad. It was easy to find plush covers so my daughter wasn't lying on cold vinyl and it cradled her nicely. I was quite happy with our contour changing pad and after using the contour shaped pad, I would never go flat.