To a new parent, or even an experienced one, changing a nappy sounds simple. All you have to do is try not to get peed on and put the nappy on correctly, right? Not quite. It’s actually riskier than you’d think, especially if you haven’t baby-proofed your changing table. Here are a few tips on how to make your baby change table safer, and to make the nappy-changing process stress free.
Never leave your baby unattended on a baby change table
Even newborns like to wiggle, and if you’re using a raised table or stand for changing nappies, looking away or leaving the room puts your child at risk of falling and getting injured. If you forget an item and have to leave the room, take your baby with you. Keeping a hand on your baby all the way through the changing process is a good idea as well, as it keeps them still and puts you at ease knowing the baby won’t try to roll or wiggle too wildly.
Always be prepared
Your changing table should be well stocked at all times, preferably with duplicates of everything, just in case you run out of wipes, nappies, or creams. If your table has storage space, keep everything you’ll need on the shelves or in drawers. Having a changing bag works, too, as you can take your supplies with you into different rooms and always be prepared for sudden nappy accidents.
Keep things in reach, but out of reach of baby
Babies develop quickly and are changing constantly, and one of the ways they learn is by touching, grabbing, and trying to eat things. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), babies can easily suffocate on nappy sacks and have been known to try to eat nappy cream or suck on sanitary wipes. If that’s not enough to worry about, that mobile you have hanging over the changing table is a risk as well. While it’s great for distracting your baby, if it hangs too low, the baby could pull it down and choke on a piece of it.
So when it comes time for a nappy change, keep all supplies out of the baby’s reach, but close enough that you can reach everything you need without turning away. And because accidents do happen, it can’t hurt to take a first aid course so you as a parent can know what to do and be prepared.
To make changing time even more stress free, try to keep your changing table/bag organised. You can even label shelves and drawers if that works for you. Keeping your supplies inconsistent spots prevents you from searching for an item you need and ultimately makes changing time faster.
Maintain good hygiene
Finally, keep things clean for you and your baby. Always sanitize the changing space after every nappy change. Tie up and dispose of dirty nappies immediately in an outside bin, or place reusable nappies in an enclosed bin until you’re ready to wash them. Wash your hands each time, too, even if you think you kept your hands clean. Babies are extremely susceptible to germs, so whenever you touch a dirty nappy you should wash your hands before touching the baby’s face or hands. Keep a bottle of sanitizing gel close by for when you can’t get to a sink. To keep things fresh, open a window and let some airflow into the space if possible. And if you’re using a changing mat or towel, wash it regularly in hot water.
At the end of the day, safely changing a nappy comes down to two rules: Be prepared, and pay attention. Babies require a lot of care, and it’s up to you to ensure they’re safe, comfortable, and happy. And it all starts with the nappy. Keeping your changing table — and your baby — clean and safe is easy if you follow these simple tips.