Best Diaper Changing Pad for Your Baby

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
February 4, 2015
baby getting diaper changed on a changing pad

You smell that? No, it’s not the smell of success (I imagine that would smell better). It’s your baby’s overflowing diaper, and it needs to be changed. Again. Quick, over to the diaper changing pad to begin Operation: Poop Cleanup.

What? You don’t have a diaper changing pad? It’s a necessary piece of baby equipment. Not only does it protect your baby from dirty surfaces but also helps prevent diaper leaks from spilling over the changing area. Less cleaning up? Sounds great.

So now you have decided to buy a diaper changing table for your baby. The problem is, there are so many different styles and brands available that it can be difficult to choose the perfect diaper changing pad for your situation.

Fear not, dear reader, for that is where I come in. Below you will find an incredibly detailed guide on everything you need to know about baby changing pads. By the time you have finished reading this guide you will be a diaper changing pad expert.

Use the links below to jump to your preferred section of the guide or continue reading from top to bottom to learn everything you need to know about changing pads.

  1. Different types of diaper pads
  2. What to look for when buying a diaper changing pad
  3. The best diaper changing pads
  4. Must know diaper pad secrets

Okay, enough procrastinating. Lets explore the wonderful world of diaper changing pads.

The different types of diaper changing pads

There are four different types of diaper changing pad commonly available. Lets take a look at what makes each of them unique.

Standard Diaper Pad

baby changing pad with strap

Essentially a mini mattress reserved solely for diaper changing time. A standard diaper changing pad can either be slotted into a baby changing table or used on its own on any surface around the home, such as a dresser.

Many standard diaper changing pads will require the use of a changing pad cover to protect it from diaper leaks. Similar to a bed sheet, when dirty, simply change the changing pad cover.

Travel Diaper Changing Pad

travel diaper changing kit- flannel

A standard diaper changing pad is just too chunky to take with you when you travel. A lightweight and reusable option is needed while you are changing your baby away from your home.

Travel diaper changing pads are lightweight and almost towel like. They easily fold up and take up minimal room, making them a great portable alternative to a standard changing pad.

Diaper Changing Kit

travel baby changing kit

A diaper changing kit not only includes a changing pad but also has room for everything else you could need while out on a day trip. There is space for all the essentials such as diapers, baby wipes and storage pockets for your keys or phone.

The appeal of a diaper changing kit is that it is super portable, folding up into its own carry bag. This allows you to go on short trips with your baby without the need to lug around a heavy diaper bag.

Disposable Diaper Changing Pad

disposable baby changing pad - munchkin

Designed to be thrown in the trash after use, disposable diaper pads give you one less thing to clean up when changing time is over. Simply screw the diaper pad up and throw it in the trash.

Disposable diaper changing pads are incredibly lightweight and do not take up much room when folded. This allows you to easily squeeze them into an already overflowing diaper bag. Disposable changing pads are generally sold in packs of 10 or greater.

Features to look for when choosing a diaper pad

A diaper changing pad performs two functions.

  1. Protect your baby from dirty surfaces.
  2. Protect surfaces from poop explosions and diaper spills.

Steer clear of any baby changing pads that will not adequately fulfill the above two points. Further to basic functionality, let's take a look at other changing pad features you will need to take into consideration when buying.

Curved vs flat

Diaper changing can be a very traumatic experience for a baby, causing them to wiggle all over the place. I can't blame them. If someone was to put a cold baby wipe on my bottom I would be wiggling around all over the place too.

To help keep your baby in one place, many changing pads feature a curved top. The curved top helps keep your baby in the center of the changing pad, no matter how much he fusses.

The safety belt

If you discover that diaper changing has become a team sport (one person to hold the baby in place, another to change the diaper) then you should definitely consider a safety belt.

Safety belts are quickly becoming a popular feature on diaper pad. If your baby is super wiggly during changing time then you will absolutely love this feature. The belt sits just over your baby’s torso, keeping him in one place.

Cleanability

topless baby lying on bed

There will be poop. Lots and lots of poop. And pee. Now if you think you will be able to make it through the majority of diaper changes without spillage you are seriously mistaken. Where do these spills fall? Directly on the changing pad of course.

Since spillage is unavoidable, you want your diaper changing pad to be easy to clean so that it is ready at a moments notice for the next diaper change (the next diaper change time will come around super quickly).

There are two different ways that diaper changing pads deal with spills.

  1. Waterproof surface - A waterproof surface prevents any spills from soaking into the diaper pad. While this may seem like a great idea, be mindful that urine will pool; meaning it will have to be wiped up.
  2. Changing pad cover - A changing pad cover sits over the diaper pad much like a bedsheet. The diaper pad is protected from spills as they are absorbed into the sheet instead. When change time is over, simply throw the cover through the wash. You will need to have a few diaper pad changing covers on hand to ensure you have a dry/clean cover for the next diaper change.

Examine the underside

Your baby is soft and fragile. Except at changing time when he magically possesses the strength of one hundred men. If your baby is a wiggler, and many are, you may find your changing pad slipping and sliding all over the table.

The main cause of slipping is the underside of the changing pad. If the underside is smooth surface such as wood or a slippery material then the pad can slide around with each and every wiggle.

Does it fit your changing table?

Kazuend 3xDGJkLv9EY Unsplash

This may seem like an obvious point but you would be amazed just how easily it can be missed while caught up ion the excitement of buying baby products. If you have a purpose-made change table then you want a diaper pad that fits.

Measure the inside of your change table and be sure to avoid diaper changing pads that exceed these dimensions. The last thing you want is to unwrap your new changing pad only to discover that it does not fit!

The best baby changing pad

Now that you know what to look at comparing changing pads, let's take a look at some of the best baby change pads available. These changing pads are popular amongst mothers and will help to make changing your baby’s diaper a much simpler task.

Best changing table pad

4-Sided Changing Pad

Styles: As pictured
Brand: Summer Infant

  • Double layered
  • Safety strap
  • Easy to clean
  • Fashionable

Cheap. Comfortable. Easy to clean. Summer Infants changing pad is hugely popular among parents with changing tables.

Unlike the majority of changing pads, this one features a full four contoured edges. This makes the changing pad appear somewhat like a shallow pool ( a very likely scenario in the case of a runny diaper leak). Yep, this diaper pad will actually allow you to contain any spills.

If the changing pad is going to hold liquids then you are going to want it to be waterproof. A quilted double layer of vinyl prevents any liquids from soaking into the changing pad.

The raised sides work in tandem with the safety belt, helping to prevent your little muscle man from breaking free during diaper changing time. The non-skid backing is an absolute savior if you change your baby on a dresser table. It seriously helps in minimizing sliding.

There are very few, if any, changing pads that can compete with this one in terms of price and features. No wonder it is a common addition to many new parents' baby supplies.

Best diaper changing kit

Pronto Changing Station

Styles: 10 different patterns and colors
Brand: Skip Hop

  • All in one solution
  • Easy to carry
  • Pockets for essentials
  • Fashionable

A fashion accessory and travel diaper changing pad rolled into one. The Pronto Changing Station from Skip Hop is everything you need to change your baby’s diaper while away from home.

Essentially a large clutch that folds out into a kitted out change page. Don’t let the size fool you, this in addition to a diaper changing pad, there are storage areas for all the necessary items you will need to bring on a day trip.

  • Zipper pocket for objects like keys or phone
  • Mesh pocket holds up to four large diapers
  • A baby wipes case

In addition to the storage, a handy clip means that you can strap it to your stroller, wrist (even better; your husband's wrist) or wherever else you fancy.

baby laying on diaper changing kit

Okay, so we have established that this diaper changing pad certainly is functional, but what is it like changing your baby? While it will not be able to compete with your at-home diaper changing station, it certainly serves its purpose out on the road.

The diaper changing pad itself can zip off completely, allowing it to be used independently of the bag. Absolutely brilliant if it was a particularly messy diaper change and you need to wrap up the changing pad to prevent the smell from assaulting people.

The surface easily wipes clean and is extra wide where it counts, helping prevent your baby’s poop from making a mess of the surface underneath.

mom baby and diaper changing kit

Oh, did I mention that thing is fashionable? With over 10 different patterns and color choices, you are bound to find a diaper pad to match your look. Who said new moms can't be stylish?

Best High-End Diaper Changing Pad

Pronto Changing Station

Styles: 7 different color choices
Brand: Keekaroo

  • Does not absorb liquid
  • Easy to clean
  • Made in America
  • Puncture resistant

Are you one of those moms that don’t mind paying more for quality? This diaper changing pad may be exactly what you are looking for. It is essentially the Rolls Royce of change mats.

The Keekaroo diaper changer is proudly made in America. You know what that means, don’t you? Amazing durability and workmanship. Yep, we Americans sure know how to make a quality product.

Keekaroo is so confident in their changing pad's ability to last that they actually stand behind it with a 5-year warranty. Five whole years! If you are planning on having more than one baby then this diaper pad will definitely go the distance.

baby laying in a keeper diaper change pad

This changing pad does not absorb liquids. Not a single drop. You know what that means? No more change pad covers. I am sure you will agree that washing change pad covers can be a huge chore and will be happy to see it wiped from your cleaning routine.

Despite its hard plastic looks, the Keekaroo change pad is soft to touch, meaning your baby will be comfortable throughout the diaper change. The surface is also nonslip, which will help your wiggling baby stay put.

Now the downside to the Keekaroo changing pad is its price. Seriously, it made me do a double-take, I thought it was a typo. The price you see is indeed the correct price. However, if you compare the cost to a changing pad, and a few covers then the cost difference isn’t too great for the quality product that you get.

Best Travel Diaper Changing Pad

Deluxe Flannel Change Pad

Styles: Over 15 different colors and patterns available
Brand: Kushies

  • Generously sized
  • Soft
  • Machine Washable
  • Folds up small

The problem with most portable changing pads is that they are small. For some reason, manufacturers believe that mothers want an itty bitty changing pad when out on the road. They couldn’t be more wrong.

This portable changing pad is gigantic. It will easily protect your chosen changing area from a poop river. Despite its size, it folds down nice as small, making it suitable for throwing in the bottom of your diaper bag.

Your baby will be incredibly comfortable laying on the soft flannel surface of this changing pad. The pad's ability to quickly soak up any wet accidents is almost towel like.

If a diaper leaks onto this pad while you are out on the road simply fold it up and toss it into the washing machine when you get home. You can even throw it through a gentle dryer cycle without risk of shrinkage.

baby sitting in red sofa

Best value changing pad

Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pad

Styles: As pictured
Brand: Munchkin

  • Inbuilt odor protection
  • Absorbent
  • Leak proof
  • Lightweight

Diaper bags carry just about everything you need for your baby. An unfortunate consequence of this is that diaper bags can get very heavy. Disposable diaper pads are just one way you can lighten up the load.

These disposable diaper changing pads from munchkin not only effectively absorbed spillage, but also have a plastic-lined back to prevent it from soaking through and messing the surface beneath.

A lovely feature of these disposable diaper pads is that they have built-in odor protection. The pad actually helps neutralize the smell of diaper spillage. A lovely feature if you are not near a trash can or diaper pail and have to return the soiled diaper changing pad to your diaper bag until later.

Diaper Changing Pad Secrets

Below I will let you in on two not well-known secrets. They have made my life easier and I believe they can do the same for you.

Cheap disposable diaper changing pads

I am going to let you in on a little secret that changed my life. Washing up after every diaper change is an absolute chore. I feel you. I used to be there.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple solution to covering your changing pad that you could simply throw out when a messy diaper spills? Disposable diaper changing pads certainly are not this option. They are simply too expensive to be practically used on a daily basis.

Okay, enough suspense. It’s dental bibs. You know, that sheet the dentist hangs around your neck? Well, it turns out they are not only good at protecting your clothes from drool while you get your tooth removed. They absolutely rock at protecting diaper changing pads.

Dental bibs are designed to soak up drool and protect your clothes. Guess what? These exact qualities make them perfect to use as a diaper changing pad cover.

While they may not feature the fun and exciting prints that are found on purpose made disposable diaper changing pads, they are cheap. Very cheap. In fact, depending on where you buy them from they can work out to be just a few cents per bib. Frugal mothers rejoice!

The only thing you need to be wary of is the size. Don’t buy a dental bib that that is so small that it cannot effectively be used as a diaper changing pad. These dental bibs are the perfect size .

A dental bib and an inexpensive disposable diaper mean that you never have to spend time wiping up poop again. Simply throw them in the trash and forget about it.

The secret to stopping your diaper changing pad from slipping.

There is nothing worse than trying to change a wiggling baby while the pad is sliding all over the surface.

I’m going to let you in on a second secret. Yep. Two secrets in one article! I am terrible at keeping them, particularly when they can make your life easier.

You know those non-slip rug pads that stop your rug from sliding across a wooden floor? Well it turns out they are absolutely amazing at keeping your baby’s changing pad steady.

Simply lay your non slip rug pad down where you frequently change your baby and place the changing pad down on top.

MAGIC!

No more slipping.

The good news is that rug pads come in rug pads come in
all different sizes and shapes meaning that you can find a suitable solution no matter how unusual your changing pad's size or shape.

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