Parents around the United States breathed a sigh of relief in 2016 when the BABIES Act was signed into law, requiring public places to install a changing station in both men’s and women’s bathrooms.
Even with this victory, parents may find themselves in a place where the facilities are not so accommodating or clean enough for their standards. What’s more, parents may be in places where there are no facilities at all such as an outdoor setting.
There’s no need to concern though, because changing a diaper, no matter where, is all about two things: safety and having the right tools.
To start off, moms and dads should use the most stable surface available and make sure they always have at least one hand on their child. Picnic tables, beds, the backseat of a car, strollers, changing rooms, countertops and park benches are all viable options. Parents can even change their baby’s diaper on their own laps or, if they are feeling especially agile, while standing up.
Regardless of where that diaper gets changed, a parent’s job will be much easier if they have the right tools on hand. Diaper bags should always be stocked with the necessary supplies, including wipes, diaper cream, diapers, hand sanitizer and a change of clothes for accidents.
In addition, a baby’s diaper bag should always have at least two receiving blankets. These handy bits of cloth can easily function as a layer between the baby and just about any flat surface.
The most important item in that diaper bag, though, will be a portable changing pad. These essential devices come in a variety of flexible materials that fold up neatly into smaller shapes that can easily be tucked into a diaper bag or even backpacks and large purses. They provide a sturdy layer between one’s child and whatever surface parents are using to change him or her. Some changing pads come with shoulder straps, while others can merely hang around the wrist, and others have pockets meant for diapers and wipes. Regardless of design, a portable changing pad is a parent’s best friend when they are on the go.
So, what to do with that dirty diaper?
If there’s no trash can—and chances are there won’t be—parents can use a plastic bag to wrap up the mess until they can dispose of the diaper in an appropriate place. For this reason, parents should try to keep two or three plastic bags tucked into diaper bags or changing stations.
Above all, parents should stay calm. Yes, changing a dirty diaper without accommodating facilities can be a huge pain, but it’s also a terrific opportunity to get creative. The faster that diaper gets changed, the faster the family can go back to enjoying their outing!