Find the best changing pad for your baby – without the toxic chemicals. We’ve rounded up 4 non toxic and earth friendlier alternatives to standard baby changing pads.
If this is your first baby, and you’re still waiting for your little one to arrive, it might surprise you just how much wee ones can pee and poop. As with a lot of things that come with parenting a tiny human, having the right tools for the job can make a huge difference in keeping life calm and collected as a parent.
Enter, the baby changing pad. This piece of equipment is pretty much essential as a parent – and I’m speaking from personal experience here.
When we first had our daughter, we took a minimalist baby registry approach, and scoffed at the idea of fit-for-purpose items, like baby bottle dish soap or a changing table pad. Instead, we planned to change our daughter on the bed or the floor, using a baby blanket that we could easily wash.
After a month or so of this, our knees and lower backs were no longer on board with that plan. We knew it was time to find a proper changing pad for babies in order to change our little one at a more comfortable standing height on top of a dresser. And a proper folding changing pad for our diaper bag.
I went into research overdrive, and what I found was fairly shocking.
Many baby changing pads are made from materials that are bad news for the earth and your family’s health.
Putting my bare-bummed kiddo on a baby change pad that contains known endocrine disrupting chemicals seems like a dumb idea to me, so I set out to find a non toxic changing solution free from harmful chemicals.
What was some of the criteria I used when searching for a non toxic changing solution for my own family?
- No Polyurethane Foam (or – less ideal – made from certified foam): Some polyurethane foam contains flame retardants, it emits VOCs, and it’s not biodegradable. Indeed, polyurethane foam is a bit of a toxic nightmare. And while certified foam or soybean foam is better, it’s still not ideal. For anything your baby is going to get up close and personal with – like nursing pillows and crib mattresses to name a few – I recommend avoiding PU foam.
- No PVC (ideally no vinyl of any kind): PVC is a common material used to waterproof, both in changing table pads and to protect crib mattresses. PVC contains phthalates (see below), and is generally one of the worst plastics out there in terms of production, life cycle, and disposal. Some pads use PEVA vinyl instead of PVC, which is a safer option, but still not the greatest. You’ll also find PVC in bath toys, which is why we recommend non-toxic options!
- Flame Retardant Chemicals: It’s hard to identify all the potential health issues with flame retardants, because many are proprietary blends – meaning you don’t really know what chemicals are in them. However, the research that has been done on various fire retardant chemicals that health advocates do know about is concerning.
- VOCs: VOCs are a class of chemicals, not a single type of chemical. Some come with a wide range of health implications as they “off gas” from manufactured materials, causing indoor air quality issues. Formaldehyde is one well-known VOC, but there are plenty. Looking for Greenguard Gold certified products means you’ll reduce your VOC exposure – and your baby’s.
- Phthalates: This group of chemicals are suspected endocrine disruptors, which seems especially egregious to me considering the skin of your baby’s reproductive system will be exposed to these chemicals on a changing pad.
- BPA and BPA Alternatives: The concerns around BPA are now well-known, and manufacturers make sure baby bottles, sippy cups, baby spoons, and other gear are BPA free. But it’s also important to stay away from replacement bisphenols, like BPS.
With that in mind, I set out to find a non toxic changing pad that was easy to clean and safe for baby. Here’s what I found.
The Best Non Toxic Changing Pad for Your Baby
First, it’s worth noting there aren’t a lot of good options out there. Most of the changing pads for babies that I found contain things like polyurethane foam, which comes along with VOCs and often flame retardants, too. Yikes.
That said, there are some great non toxic options that are truly non toxic, as well as some okay options – ones that are better than most pads, but still leave me with a few lingering question marks. I’ve broken the non toxic changing options below into two categories to try to make it as easy as possible for you when making the best choice for your family.
The 2 Best Non Toxic Changing Pads
- Naturepedic Organic Cotton Changing Pad: This is my top choice, simply because it is more economical and easier to clean than the natural wool option below. That said, it’s not 100% natural.
- Natural Wool Changing Pad: This is undoubtedly the most natural one, with zero worries about the materials used. The downside is figuring out waterproofing.
The “Still Pretty Good” Non Toxic Changing Pads
- Keekaroo Peanut Changer: A clear winner in terms of ease of use, which is invaluable when you have to change your baby so often and deal with so many messes in the process.
- Babyletto Non Toxic and Waterproof Changer: A super affordable choice, using food-grade plastic to waterproof, and polyester instead of PU foam. Not perfect, but better than most standard changing pads.
Best Non Toxic Changing Pad Reviews
A certified organic changing pad that’s free from harmful ingredients while still being waterproof.
This changer is non toxic, Global Organic Textile Standard certified, and made with formaldehyde-free textiles. It is also latex-, soy-, and phthalate-free and doesn’t contain any type of flame-retardant.
Your baby will appreciate that it’s soft to the touch, which will be soothing to your baby. It has a classic shape with raised edges for safety. For an extra measure of security, it also comes with a safety strap and snap screws that secure it to the changing table or dresser: an important child proofing step!
The waterproof cover is made from organic cotton fabric coated with a waterproof coating made from biodegradable non-GMO sugarcane plastic. The changing pad itself is made from cotton, not foam, making it a natural choice and more environmentally friendly, too. As a bonus, the cover can be removed and washed in the washing machine for easy clean up.
The Most Natural
This changing pad is both comforting and functional, contouring to your baby’s shape as they lay on it and naturally wicking away beads of moisture. It’s 100% natural and organic, with no synthetic chemicals at all.
This pad is made out of organic cotton sateen twill and premium eco wool batting. That means it’s free from the harmful chemicals that often come with plastic or vinyl changing pads. It also contains no synthetic fillers or dyes, so you can feel good about your baby spending so much time on their changing pad.
I also like that it’s handmade in the USA. The manufacturing facilities are chemical- and scent-free. And sourcing focuses on sustainable farming practices.
The only downside of this pad is that it is hand-washable and has lots of “nooks and crannies” that might be problematic with leaks. You might want to add a folded organic cotton blanket on top, which can be thrown in the wash easily.
Contoured to the shape of your little peanut and bordered by a soft edge, this changing bad is completely waterproof and highly resistant to punctures or tears.
A nice feature is the wipe clean surface. It’s waterproof and less hospitable to things like mold or bacteria as compared to softer, more absorbent surfaces. The pad doesn’t stain, and you should be able to use it for future kiddos, making it more economical over time.
It also has a safety strap if you have a wiggler, and it is completely BPA-, PVC-, latex-, formamide-, PBDE flame retardant, and phthalate-free.
Keekaroo uses polyurethane polymer elastomer – aka, synthetic rubber – to make this pad. Unfortunately, however, that’s about all the details they offer.
This changer is free from lots of the bad stuff you’ll find in changing pads from many other brands. There’s no polyurethane foam, no vinyl, and no chemical fire retardants.
Instead of polyurethane foam, Babyletto uses polyester filling. While it’s not as good as something more natural, like cotton or wool, it’s leaps and bounds better than foam in my mind.
If you’re concerned about the Proposition 65 for California residents, I found this on Babyletto’s website:
Products with this precautionary warning label are furniture that include upholstery, cushions, or pads and were manufactured before May 2019. As of May 2019, our 3rd party testing partner has expanded their scope of testing and is now able to certify these products are no longer required to list the CA Prop 65 warning label as a precaution. We made no changes to our sourcing; products produced before this date are made with the same materials and at the same factories…
I appreciate the transparency on this issue, and to me it solves my concern over seeing the Prop. 65 warning.
For my family, Naturepedic Organic Changing Pad is the best choice. However, if you’re looking for an all natural changing pad, the Natural Wool pad is a great choice. Personally, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit on “all natural” to ensure I have solid waterproofing. But I understand every family is different!
If you enjoyed this article and know a new parent or grandparent, I hope you’ll share this article! Thanks for reading!