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Choosing Safe Baby Products: Changing Tables

Generally, you can choose from three kinds of changing tables:

  1. wooden ones with guardrails
  2. fold-up models
  3. hinged chest adapters

Hinged chest adapters are not recommended — dressers with these adapters have toppled over when a baby's weight was placed close to the outer edge.

Babies can get hurt if they fall off changing tables, so they should always be watched closely.

What to look for:

  • A flat changing surface should be surrounded on all four sides by a guardrail, which should be at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) in height. 
  • The surface of the changing table should be lower in the middle than on the sides, which helps keep the baby from rolling from side to side. A contoured pillow (lower in the middle) will add to the safety provided by the changing table's shape, 
  • Wooden changing tables with rails are usually the least likely to sway or tip over when a baby pulls on them from the floor.
  • Fold-up models should be checked for sturdiness: When the table is open, give it a good shake.
  • A wire changing table should have a wide base so that a baby can't pull it over on top of himself or herself from the floor.
  • The table should have shelves or compartments for storing everything you'll need. This prevents you from taking your eyes off your baby while you look for that hard-to-find item.


  • Use the safety belt every time you change your baby.
  • Never leave your infant unattended even if you think he or she is secure.
  • Always keep one hand on your baby.
  • You should keep supplies within your reach, but out of the baby's reach.
  • Stop using your changing table when your baby reaches the age or weight limit recommended by the manufacturer, which is typically age 2, or 30 pounds (13,607 grams).
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: January 2018
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