Change for the better
Change tables can be a handy addition to the nursery and help make nappy changing time more efficient. But without any Australian standard for change tables, how can you be sure they are stable enough to stay upright or prevent your baby from rolling off? Our reviews are here to help.
With 15 years of experience, our expert testers are the bees' knees of children's product testing. They've seen all the brands and varying change table configurations on the market, and have put each to the test. Our testers also sit on the Australian Standards committees for children's products.
Most of the time, our priority is to test what you'll see in the retailers. Our change tables typically come from brands you'll see in mainstream nursery or department stores, or ones that feature prominently when you search for them online.
To come up with our list we survey manufacturers to find out about their range of models and we take member feedback on board. Our buyers then purchase products as you the consumer would, either in-store or online. This is to ensure that the products we received have not been tweaked with in any way, or received special treatment during transit.
Although there are no current Australian standards for change tables, we know what to look for when it comes to safety. We've also based our test procedures on various existing standards for similar children's products such as cots. There are overseas standards to draw upon as well, including the American standard for baby changing tables, ASTM 2388.
When testing change tables we look at:
- Stability: About 20kg of downward force is applied to the edge of the table to see if it tilts or tips. We normally test change tables after following assembly instructions, but we also consider scenarios where consumers may not have installed them correctly. For example, a heavy change table may require anchorage to the wall to prevent it from tipping and crushing a child. We would test its stability without being anchored, just in case a consumer fails to do so.
- Strength of construction: A 50kg mass is placed in the centre of the changing surface for 60 seconds, and we check if there is any damage to the table.
- Minimum depth: For a change table to be fully recommended, we require the sides to have a depth of at least 10cm after the recommended mattress is installed. It also needs to pass the roll-off test (below). If a change table's sides are less than 10cm but it still passes the roll-off test, it may be worth considering if it adequately meets all other requirements.
- Roll-off protection: Babies need to be within arm's reach of an adult at all times, but we still check to see if the table can adequately prevent a baby rolling or sliding from the change surface. A 15kg test cylinder is placed at the upper edge of the changing surface and the table is tilted sideways at a 15 degree angle. If the cylinder rolls off the bottom edge, the table will fail, even if its sides are higher than our required minimum depth of 10cm.
- Bath: If a change table comes with a bath, we don't test it but we do check to make sure it meets safety warning requirements.
- Sharp edges and protrusions: We check for edges or points that could injure a child.
- Finger and limb traps: We check for any gaps or holes that could trap a small finger or limb using a set of special probes.
We rate children's products a bit differently to other tests, due to the strong interest in safety. We rate them according to whether they pass or fail major tests.
Change tables that we recommend have passed all our safety tests, including the roll-off and change table depth requirements. They may have some very minor failures (usually to do with labelling) but we don't think these are significant.
These pass all our key safety tests (including the roll-off test) but may have some minor safety failures such as finger entrapment hazards in hard to reach areas, or some sharp edges. They may also have a shallower depth than our preferred 10cm.
These change tables have not passed our key safety tests, such as the stability or roll-off test. We list these failures in our bad points.
Check out our guide to buying a change table, then see our change table reviews.