Are Changing Tables Dangerous?

Updated on November 03, 2011
L.B. asks from New Rochelle, NY
27 answers

My husband was changing our ten month old's socks on the bed the other day, and somehow, in the twinkling of an eye, he managed to roll off the bed on his head. He is okay, but needless to say, we were all pretty traumatized. Now my husband is PARANOID. He wants me to get rid of the changing table, or at least stop using it for changing. I feel extremely confident that I can safely use the changing table, because my hand is always on the baby, and I am very cautious. But even the pediatrician said we should start changing him on the floor. But there's no floor space in his room! There is a crib, a twin bed (which he rolled off of) and the changing table, so there isn't much floor space left. I agree that maybe my husband shouldn't use the changing table, but am I being overconfident thinking I won't have a problem continuing to use it?

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answers from Spokane on

I used a changing table for both my kids and for all the kids I changed in daycare (that's a LOT of infants and toddlers in 8 years time). I have NEVER had a kid roll or fall off the table, and neither have any of my previous co-workers.
This is because we were trained from the very beginning to always have one hand and two eyes on the child on the table. I really don't see a changing table as a threat to toddlers safety... unless the adult in charge isn't paying attention.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Changing table pads often have buckles to strap the baby. They also have spots where you can attach the pad to the table with screws. If you utilize both of these, then there should be no accidents!

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answers from Anchorage on

using a table is fine as long as one hand is always on the baby, accidents happen when the adults get careless, it is not the fault of the changing table.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You say there's no floor space. But there will be if you get rid of the changing table!

They are just something sold to parents as a "necessity" when they are not necessary at all and yes, I do believe they pose a risk to children -- why change them up high when you can change them on the floor, anywhere, any time? It only takes one distracted second for a child to roll off. And kids grow so fast that before you know it they're really too long and/or heavy for the table but if they're still being changed on it -- that's a recipe for the table to turn over.

A lot of parents use the table really as a storage place and think they can't live without the drawers and shelves it provides, but why not get rid of the changing table and instead get some good closet storage units that go inside the closet, or move out/get rid of the twin bed and get a good chest of drawers? Whatever you do -- be SURE to babyproof by attaching furniture and especially chests and bookcases, to the wall behind them. THere are special straps to help you do this. Chests of drawers, TV stands and bookcases all should be secured to walls while there are young children in the house; imagine one of them falling onto a child.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I used a changing table for YEARS and never had a problem, nor did anyone else who changed my babies on it (hubby, mom, babysitter, etc). You stand right in FRONT of it and always have a hand on the baby. So there is nowhere for them to go, unlike the bed where they can roll off, as you experienced. I'm a big girl so if I got down on the floor, I couldn't get back up and I would think there would be more work involved in getting the baby on the floor and remembering to get everything down there too, what if you forgot something? You just leave the baby laying there? Then you have to pick it all up again after you are done. Nah, I would use the changing table. Just my opinion. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

When my son was a baby and my husband and I were working opposite shifts so we didn't need child care (now this story was not told to me until YEARS later), my husband had our son on the changing table and WALKED ACROSS the ROOM to GET A DIAPER and guess what? Our son rolled off of the changing table.
My take is, ANYTHING, used improperly, CAN be dangerous.
If my husband had BEEN PREPARED, grabbed a diaper FIRST, then nothing would have happened.
(Can you tell I still get PO'd about this? LOL)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

Are changing tables dangerous? No. Neither are baby walkers, Bumpo seats, and about a million other things that have been labeled "dangerous" for babies. What is dangerous is people using these things improperly. If you are confident and like using the changing table, by all means keep doing so. You know how quickly a baby/toddler can ooch or roll off, so you keep your hand on the child all the time. Maybe someday it will make more sense to change the kiddo on the floor, and maybe your hubby is more comfortable doing that now, but let's not jump to the conclusion that the baby should never be more than 6 inches off the ground because he fell once.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would get rid of it. By 9 months I did not feel my son was safe on his changing table and he was fighting and struggling during diaper changes. A pad on the floor was just safer. BTW, my son was big, and strong and really fought diaper changes and anything that required him to be restrained. My daughter would have been fine on a changing table but by the time she was born we were used to the pad on the floor anyway.

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answers from Dallas on

Depends on the changing table, and any surface that's above the floor will be a roll over and fall risk if you don't have your hand on the child.



answers from New York on

Changing tables and raised surfaces are safe if you always have a hand on baby, but when you have a mobile, strong baby, one hand may not be enough if he moves suddenly while you are looking away to grab a couple of wipes. I did still use a changing pad on top of a dresser, but if you or hubby feels the changing table or bed is unsafe, you can change him in his crib. But either way, not having a hand on baby and looking away is what caused him to roll off for hubby. My kids never rolled off the changing pad on the dresser



answers from Washington DC on

If you are confident, keep using it. I still use it with my toddler. Changing tables often have straps for a reason. They are not going to keep a really wiggly baby off the floor if you don't pay attention, but they will help. The way our table is, there's a wall on one side and my body on the other. It is hard for a baby to roll off it. Your DH may have to change his ways or change how he gets things together. If he is the type to get the baby undone and THEN reach for the wipes or the diaper, then maybe all he needs to do is be ready and THEN get the old diaper off. Don't let anything get out of reach.



answers from New York on

I don't think they're dangerous if used carefully, but it was around 9 mos that I stopped using it and just started changing on the floor. So much easier, especially when they're mobile and wanting to roll around during a change! The baby now goes and lies on the floor with her legs in the air when she wants to be changed. It's great!

EDIT: I know people say changing tables are safe if you have a hand on the baby, but there's no way a hand on my baby would keep her from rolling. A few months ago (before she started listening a little better) she'd want to get up from changing and it would take two of us to keep her down. Babies can be super strong and fast.


answers from Norfolk on

I had no trouble using a changing table and we used it till our son was too long to fit on it anymore.



answers from Philadelphia on

Everything i needed was on the shelves under the changing table. As long as you are right there, hand on belly as you reach under, it is fine. I used a changing table with all four. (the same one my mom used with my little sister) It really is carelessness that causes the accidents. (not the changing table)



answers from Dallas on

Most parent/baby accidents happen, because common sense isn't used. It sounds like you are using common sense, and aren't taking chances. I really think you can use a changing pad fine. My was probably the most active baby in the history of babies! He never fell off, I used common sense!

Personally, I didn't end up using the changing table, much. (My husband did prefer it, though.) I generally just changed him on the floor, or whatever furniture was in-front of me.



answers from New York on

A baby can roll off anything (as you've obviously learned). A changing table is fine if you keep your hand on the baby at all times. If you have a wriggly one, it's best to just change them on the floor. I just wound up doing that with my twins. I only used the changing table (basically, a pad on top of their dresser) when they were infants. When they started getting squirmy, I just put them on a towel or little changing pad on the floor and did it there. You don't need any major space to do it.... You just want to protect your carpet from urine so put a pad down.....



answers from New York on

If your changing table has the safety strap, use it! On a changing table there is a small amount of space for them to roll especially if the person changing them is standing along side of it. How old is your baby? If he is a big roller then yes use the pad on the floor to change the diapers.


answers from Lakeland on

I used a changing table until my daugher was two. I never had any problems with her falling off since I never left her on it alone. I have trouble with my lower back and using the floor or a bed would cause me great pain.



answers from New York on

My son rolled off once too! I change him on the floor in all the rooms/living area...wherever there's carpet...just lay a blanket on floor or no blanket. I do also change him on my bed (king or queen). Daycare changes him on a changing table but they say that sometimes he almost falls off when they are grabbing wipes or his clothes. Personally, i don't think you need a changing's just that if you put him on a bed....make sure your body/hand is there...and do not ever leave him to wash your hands etc.


answers from Chicago on

I used one with my older two kids until they were each 1.5 yrs, and they no longer fit comfortably on the table. They were very good and laid still (of course my hand was always on them). My youngest, on the other hand, did not lay still. I stopped using it when he was about 10 mos because he would grab onto the rails and flip himself over while I was trying to change him. I began changing him on the floor in the living room. I keep a small basket with diapers, wipes and his changing mat on top of the entertainment center and grab it when it's time for a change. Since I change him on the living room floor, I usually put PBS kids on for a few minutes to catch his attention long enough to change him. Even at 2 yrs, he's still very squirmy. I can't wait until he's ready to potty train!


answers from Chicago on

I used a changing table with my oldest until he was 3, still use one with my 2 yr old, and of course, with my 7 month old. Never had a problem. One hand is always on them.

I am tall, so I can't hunch over the bed, and I have a bad back, so the on the floor is not the best option for me. Days when the baby is especially wiggly, yes, I'll move onto the floor so that I can put my leg across the baby's chest to keep him from turning over.


answers from Richmond on

I NEVER used a changing table. Why? I am perfectly capable of changing a diaper on the couch, on the bed, on the FLOOR (everyone has a floor!)...

At 10 months old, your baby is way too wiggly, IMO, for a changing table. You can't fall off the floor.

Sell the changing table, save your sanity.


answers from Jacksonville on

The only time a changing table will become a problem (so long as you are using a hand to secure the baby--which it sounds like hubby DIDN'T do on the bed) is when your baby hits that stage where they start REALLY FIGHTING diaper changes. That is when I went to using the floor. You can't accomplish much when it takes one hand to restrain a leg and one to do the changing as it is. To be worried about them rolling off due to their struggling was more than I wanted to worry about---aside from getting a leg or foot stuck in the dirty diaper.



answers from Los Angeles on

Our changing table has a belt which is attached to the wall
But I think you should just change the baby on the floor.
Just to be safe.
I also changed my baby's daipers/clothes wherever we were in the
house somtimes: couch, living room floor (carpet & rug there) etc.
Hope that helps. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

At about that age, I stopped using the changing table because my daughter was getting big for it, and it was easier to use the bed or other lower surface. But, as long as you are comfortable using it, it should be fine. If your husband isn't, he can do his changing where he choses.

And, really, a roll off a bed is rarely a case for traumatization...most babies I know of have done it at some point and are just fine.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Changing tables are not dangerous as long as you always have a hand on the baby. And they are a hugely back saving device for parents (I am eternally thankful that we had a drop side crib before they became 'dangerous'). On the other hand - you can't fall off the floor. Whatever you are comfortable with.

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