Baby, Parenting

What to do when there’s no Baby Changing Stations in Public Restrooms or They’re Dirty

There’s no way to get around needing to change a baby in public. But sometimes, there’s no baby changing stations in public restrooms or they’re too dirty to put your baby on. What’s a parent to do?

No Changing Tables

Before I had a baby, I never noticed how many public restrooms don’t have baby changing stations. What do these businesses expect parents to do?

There are often no changing stations in bathrooms.

A few years back, there was a story about a mom changing her baby on a restaurant table. The employees and patrons of the restaurant got upset because that’s something that should be done in the bathroom. The mom fired back that there was no changing table. How could she change her baby in the bathroom?

When I went to look up this story for a link, I discovered there’s a lot of stories. Many moms have faced this situation. Some choose to change their babies on their tables in protest, others find a different means.

Personally, I was very angry when I started to realize the lack of baby changing tables. They are necessary for parents. How else are we supposed to change our babies when out in public?

Then I learned some horrifying news about baby changing tables.

People Use Baby Changing Tables for Other Things

A white powdery substance in the shape of a skull signifying danger.

Namely, to do drugs. You read that right. People do drugs on the stations we change our babies on.

When I first read about this, I didn’t believe it. My first instinct was to say it was fake news. There’s no way people would do that. 

So I had to look it up. Unfortunately, I discovered the story was true.

One new mom, who was a former drug user, realized parents don’t know this is happening and blew the whistle on it. She came under fire for doing so. Many people didn’t believe her story. But people checked it out. Several individuals did their own testings of baby changing stations and found her story to be true.

The black scuff marks sometimes found on changing tables is due to people heating up their spoons in order to shoot up.

My next reaction to the whole baby changing debacle was that they should all be removed. It was a rather extreme reaction. But the idea of babies being exposed to drugs was horrifying.

But that still leaves the problem of where are parents going to change their babies?

My Solution

We’ve started doing three things. We still use baby changing stations so long as they don’t have those black scuff marks and look clean. The station always gets wiped down before we use it.

When there is no baby changing station, we use our stroller. Sara quite enjoys it. We have not come across the situation yet of her having a major blow out that would get the stroller messy.

Sara being super happy about getting her diaper changed.

But in that scenario, we can use our handy dandy flats. One can be put under her during the change, and if the stroller does get poop on it, one can be put under her after the change until we can get home and wash it.

We’ve also changed Sara in the car on multiple occasions. We have had to use a flat under her to prevent poop from getting in the car. It works.

I have been in places that lack a bathroom big enough to bring a stroller in and did not have my car nearby before my baby came. I have not faced this since my baby’s been born. 

If I were to face this now, I would work with the employees. Explain to them their bathroom is too small to change my baby in and see if they have a room in the back somewhere for me to change her in on the stroller.

Your Solutions

Have you faced being unable to use a changing station? If so, what have you done? What do you see yourself doing if you haven’t faced this scenario yet?

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Nicole StilesMatt's MomRecent comment authors
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Matt's Mom
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Matt's Mom

It has been a few years since my children were in the diaper changing age.  But, I do remember times when there was no changing table in the bathroom.  I never thought to use the stroller.  I always ended up leaving or going to the car.  The stroller is a great idea!  I cannot believe that drug users use the changing table to do drugs on!  That is just not right.  Drugs are not right, but to do it where a baby will be laying is not good.  I have always wiped the table off first.  But I have been… Read more »

Babsie Wagner
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Babsie Wagner

I had two sets of twins, and indeed, there were many moments when I was out and there was not a handy place to change the babies’ diapers.  It was definitely a situation I didn’t enjoy, but I did use the car, and there were times when I had to actually take them back out to the car to change them, especially when it was an especially stinky poop.  LOL!  I always carried a roll of paper towels in my diaper bag, and I would roll them out on every changing table (and I know this sounds gross, but sometimes… Read more »

Lady Esther
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Lady Esther

Hi, Thank you for the article. I have to say, I am no longer doing mommy duty of that type.  But I do remember the many time that I encounter this situation. Like you a used the baby stroller or the back seat of our car.  I do not trust baby changing stations because I near felt they were cleaned enough.  I always relied on the stroller and the back seat of the car.  I did carry a big beach towel that was the cover if I needed to laid my child down on an area I did not feel… Read more »

Jill
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Jill

Hi Nicole, It is a crying shame that the babies even have to be taken into the restroom that there are to be changed. There should be a separate room especially for Mom and Babies, so that if the baby needs a feed it is not done in the restroom. These are full of germs. I find that it is quite acceptable for a baby to be breast fed in public, as all one needs is a small lightweight cloth to give the Mom some privacy. The store owners certainly don’t take mothers with babies into account and they should… Read more »

Alejandra
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Alejandra

Hi Nicole, Thanks for sharing a helpful article to learn more about what to do in case there’s no changing  station in a public bathroom, it was a long time when I did this as a mom as my children are young adults today, but this time I’m a grandma, and sometimes I need to be in charge of this task helping the parents to have a small break in their routines. It’s good to know what to do and what not to do, I remember when I was a mom I always carried a small towel in the changing… Read more »

free4life
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free4life

Wow, I don’t know that I can offer any other solutions, but the fact that people are doing drugs on the changing tables has me beside myself right now. I guess, maybe it shouldn’t. I mean people do some stupid, selfish and mindless things, but these are baby changing tables, come on folks. SMH

Dale
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Dale

My kids are grown up and gone.  We are raising our 7 year old grandson but he to is long out of diapers.  I remember washrooms when there was never a change table or station.  Now it appears they are being used for other purposes such as drugs and that makes me fume.

We used to go to the car and honestly i think thats what I would do now.  At least I know where our car has been and who has been in it.

This was a great article with great information.  thank you.

dale

Randy
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Randy

Nicole,

You have done a good job describing a problem and giving a solution. It has been a while since my baby changing days. The only opportunities now are with grandchildren, and, mysteriously, it seems that almost always providentially falls to Grammy! Seriously, I do help some. So, changing in the stroller is a good idea. Thanks for the post.

Randy

GeeEss
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GeeEss

Hi Nicole. It is really a shame that most of the public restroom lack a baby changing station. And even if they have most of the times they are either stained due to the heating of the spoons or they are very dirty. I remember my wife used to go and do all the changing and cleanup inside the car during such emergencies.