Traveling with your baby can sometimes be inevitable. From doctor’s appointments to staying over at your in-laws, it will always be a challenge for parents no matter how long they have been in the game of baby-raising. Changing your baby’s diapers at home is a coin toss between uneventful but adorable moments and hair-raising events. Now imagine that unpredictability happening on the road, at a park or at some public restroom. New mothers tend to overlook the fact that changing your baby’s diapers outside the safe haven of your home exposes your child to germs and to the possibilities of an accident.
It is unsanitary to just take a baby blanket or a towel to place on any public restroom surface and be done with it. We cannot predict the slip and grip of these materials and they might not even have enough padding to keep your baby’s head comfy. Now, not only are we compromising the baby’s health and safety, the inevitable clean-up may not be so clean after all. Instead of leaving a squeaky clean surface, you might have spread even more germs that may affect people with compromised or weak immunity.
While changing pads are a mainstay at your home’s nursery or diaper station, you can’t just lug one around for your convenience. Portable changing pads are now available in a variety of forms. Some will be the simple roll and fold mat, some may come as a kit and others are the disposable kinds. Portable changing pads should make you and your baby’s life easier while on the go. It is not an unnecessary expense created by corporations and capitalists. These changing pads are so dependable; you don’t even have to be on the road to use them. They can be used at home, too. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that a portable changing pad protects your baby from any surface and protects a surface from your baby.
Summer Infant QuickChange Portable Changing Pad
The Summer Infant QuickChange looks plain but do not mistake its simplicity for inefficiency. The white surface goes on top and black underneath. The simple colors make it easy to spot any dirt. It has an easy-to-wipe plastic surface that can be cleaned with a wet or dry cloth. Detergents and bleach thinned downed by water can be added to wipes to make it more sanitary. It can be folded easily, with Velcro strips to keep it in place, and tucked into any bag or compartment. It is fully padded to cushion your baby against hard surfaces like tables and bathroom changing stations. The dimensions of this portable changing pad are 23.5 inches by 12.25 inches. Because of its price point, you can buy several pieces to place in your bag, your car or at home. The pad weighs 4.8 ounces.
Munchkin Arm & Hammer Disposable Changing Pad
Incorporating the good ol’ Arm and Hammer baking soda into the disposable pads is the best idea ever. Diaper odor should not have to follow you around or stick to you and your baby’s clothes. These pads come in really handy during travels because you can just chuck them out when you’re done. Cleaning up now requires less effort and eliminates the hazard of spreading more germs. The Munchkin is made of several absorbent and leak-proof layers to make sure that your baby stays dry and happy, cos a happy baby is a happy mommy. They come in packs of ten 18 by 26.75 inches unscented disposable pads. You can be guaranteed that no friction burn and no allergies can come out of use of these Munchkin mats. Green moms won’t have to worry since you can get a few uses out of one pad and they are environmentally friendly, too. A pack of Munchkin Arm and Hammer disposable pads is 1.4 pounds total.
Brica goPad Diaper Changer
The Brica goPad is not just a portable changing pad but it is the whole station rolled into one convenient package. It is slim clutch that rolls out into a large 20 by 28.25 inches cushioned changing pad complete with a baby head rest. It is so big that you’re sure that your baby would not outgrow this in a few months. Included is a Bag ‘n Toss Dispenser containing up to 25 bags for clean and discreet diaper disposal. It also has a mesh pouch where you can keep a few diaper, wipes and baby clothes. It only takes a wipe to clean the whole unit. Despite all its features, the lightweight Brica goPad is the ultimate grab ‘n go in baby products. The whole unit weighs 14.4 ounces but for versatility, you may detach the changing pad from the clutch.
Baby Loovi Changing Mat
With an area size of 25.5 by 31.5 inches, your baby can roll around this changing pad as it can double as a protective mat for cribs, beds and the floor when you decide the baby doesn’t need a diaper on. Even with a big mat, this can be taken anywhere since it is made of lightweight material. It is made of three layers of eco-polymer (PEVA vinyl) and syntapon sponge, making it allergen and odor-free, and environmentally-friendly. This baby mat is PVC-free and has a waterproof backing resistance. It has an aesthetically pleasing design of a quilted cover with yellow and pink bears. It does not require a machine wash because room temperature soap water and a soft dry cloth will do. No need to toss this mat into the dryer because it easily dries with a towel. It only weighs 3.2 ounces.
Skip Hop Pronto Portable Changing Station
This portable diaper changing station is like the Trapper Keeper of baby needs. It comes in a clutch that has an easy-clean changing pad, a built-in pillow, and a refillable wipes case. Its mesh pocket can be filled with diapers and other baby essentials such as creams and powder. Moms aren’t forgotten since they can use the front pockets for their keys, phones, loose change and other personal effects. With the minimalistic chevron design, it is fashionable enough to tote around. The 23.5 by 21.75 inches changing pad is detachable from the whole unit. The Skip Hop weighs a total 12.8 ounces with the changing pad attached.
What to Look For
Portable changing pads are quite a tricky purchase for new moms. You might think it’s just a mat; all you need is something with a beautiful pattern and something you can fold and tuck away during travels. Actually, there is more to that than portability and design. Here are a few things to consider when looking for a portable changing pad.
- Lightweight – since we are looking to travel with this changing pad, the material should be light but durable enough to withstand constant folding, rolling, and being tossed around. It should be easily rolled or folded compactly without losing its form. Lightweight does not mean we have to compromise the baby’s comfort; it should still have good padding because we wouldn’t want to risk bruising when they roll their heads or flail their limbs.
- Non-slip – a changing pad shouldn’t move around when your baby does. As much as possible, it shouldn’t slide off from flat and slippery surfaces, since we can’t always find cushioned changing stations everywhere. A non-slip changing pad is important for your baby’s safety.
- Easy-to-clean – some pads have a waterproof surface but you must remember that liquid will pool due to lack of absorbency. Other pads are disposable making for an easier overall clean-up. If you choose to get the traditional mats that can be machine washed, you have to make sure that the padding and lining does not bunch nor pill after. It shouldn’t bleed any colors nor release any chemical odors during washing. Don’t forget to check the cleaning instructions or recommendations to keep from damaging the mat.
- Material – aside from being lightweight, the material used should not cause any discomfort to your baby’s skin and health. Chafing and allergies are a big no-no. You may also check if the overall changing pad is environmentally-friendly. You would want to choose a portable changing pad that does not emit any odor no matter the temperature or humidity. It should be made from materials that do not deteriorate or disintegrate when in contact with human waste.
Travelling can be hard with a baby in tow, especially when the comforts of home will be left behind. Not to mention that leaving home is always a risk of exposure to dirt and a higher chance of accidents. No matter what type of portable changing pad you choose, it must be chosen to serve to protect your precious one and accommodate your needs as a parent. Your baby’s health, safety, and comfort are non-negotiable. That is why we have chosen the five best portable changing pads that can be your travel companion and diaper assistant. All five have the five elements of a great changing pad: lightweight, non-slip, easy-to-clean and made of quality and non-hazardous materials.