You might think baby changing areas supply everything you need – but they don’t. Even worse, some places don’t even have a bin for old nappies!

We imagine what makes the best baby changing area with nine features we think they should have. What’s more, we’ve included our top tips to help you out when you come across baby changing facilities that aren’t exactly first class.

9 Things Baby Changing Facilities Should Have

1) Baby Changing Unit

We wish: baby changing facilities had a suitable changing unit. It might seem obvious, but a pull-down station mounted on the wall should really be part of all baby changing facilities. It makes nappy changing much easier when you don’t have to crouch over your little one.

But in reality: you might find ‘family-friendly’ public areas that expect you to change your baby on the floor! And while desperate times call for desperate measures (like changing your baby in the boot of your car!), baby changing facilities shouldn’t be an inconvenience. It’s a good idea to bring a travel changing mat along with you, just in case.

2) Bin

We wish: every baby changing facility came with a bin! A nappy disposal system with a closed lid and scented bin liners would be bliss. Plus, it needs to be emptied regularly to avoid a build-up of old nappies!

But in reality: they might have a bin, but it’s more than likely spilling over with used nappies, which isn’t nice for you and your baby. It’s sad to say you might encounter many horrors in a public toilet, but baby changing facilities can be the worst. If you don’t want to add to the pile of overflowing nappies, use a disposable nappy sack and pop it in your own bin at home.

3) Space

We wish: that baby changing facilities had lots of room for us to tackle the job. A wide, open space is perfect for manoeuvring around with a wriggly baby.

But in reality: we can’t even get the pram through the door! Too many baby changing facilities have very narrow entrances that won’t fit a buggy through. And once you’re inside, there’s barely enough space to move. There might be enough room for your travel changing mat – but nowhere for you to fit!

4) Changing Bag Hook

We wish: there was a hook for us to hang our baby changing bag. Even a clean surface designed for you to rest your changing bag on would be useful.

But in reality: you might find yourself trying to carry your bag, dig around for nappies and keep a hold of your little one all at the same time. This balancing act is no fun for new parents who are still learning how to change a nappy. Instead of waving your changing bag around in your baby’s face, you’ll probably have to leave it on the floor.

5) Seat

We wish: that baby changing facilities had a comfortable chair. If you have more than one young child, you won’t want to leave them outside while changing your baby. But bringing a fidgety toddler in with you could be very distracting when you’re trying to concentrate. At least if there’s a seat, your other child can take a break while you get to work. You don’t need to use this chair for baby feeding though – breastfeeding in public is allowed. You shouldn’t feel like you have to nurse your little one near a toilet.

But in reality: baby changing facilities don’t always have an extra chair to accommodate other children. Keeping a toddler distracted is no mean feat, so bring some pocket toys in your bag to keep them entertained for at least a few minutes.

6) Hand Wash

We wish: baby changing facilities had hand sanitising amenities like a soap dispenser. The NHS recommends washing your hands after every nappy change to avoid spreading germs and infection. Plus, you never know when you might encounter a poo explosion that goes all over!

But in reality: you press the soap pump as much as you like, but nothing comes out. Familiar story? Baby changing facilities aren’t always well-maintained and often run out of essentials like soap. Carry alcohol-free hand sanitiser in your baby changing bag so you can always stay clean.

7) Fresh Air

We wish: for a breath of fresh air! It’s not practical to have windows in a baby changing room, but a little air freshener could go a long way. A plug-in dispenser that neutralises the pongy smell (rather than just mask it) would be a great feature in baby changing facilities. Scented nappy sacks would be nice too!

But in reality: many parents must get used to the whiffy smell in baby changing facilities. Once you get used to taking your baby out, you’ll likely find some changing rooms are better than others when it comes to bad smells.

8) Good Hygiene

We wish: all baby changing facilities were squeaky clean. We’d expect all baby changing areas to be sterile and hygienic.

But in reality: you might be better off bringing your own wipeable travel changing mat to ensure you always have a clean, safe surface to change your little one. You can even find travel changing mat packs which can carry everything you need for a simple, clean nappy change on the go.

9) Baby Changing Supplies

We wish: someone would give new, busy parents a helping hand and store the essentials in baby changing facilities. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if nappy changing areas came with nappies, wipes and disposable sacks, just in case you run out?

But in reality: it’s up to you to bring the baby basics. Even if baby changing facilities supply spare nappies, you can bet they run out just as your little one needs changing. Stay prepared by pre-packing everything you need in your baby changing bag before heading off on a family day out.

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Baby changing facilities might call themselves just that, but some don’t even have a basic station or unit to lie your baby on.