Baby changing tables in public restrooms across Canada continue to be sporadic. While Canada has taken steps to eradicate this inconvenience, not enough is being done. All establishments built in 2015 and onwards must offer a change table in family washrooms, but they are still hard to find in older facilities and in most men’s restrooms.
Today, regulations that do exist most often apply to the construction and installation of stations—not their care and maintenance.
Cleaning and Care Against Germs
Not many germ and bacteria tests or studies have been conducted on baby-changing stations; however, the little research that exists shows bacteria and germs can be found on these products in varying amounts. The following is a changing-station maintenance plan that should work in most facilities:
Schedule maintenance. In most public facilities, the stations should be cleaned at least once per day, but in a busy location, such as an airport, they may need to be cleaned every hour or every couple of hours.
Apply cleaning solutions: All areas of the baby changing station, inside and out, should be wiped clean using a microfiber cloth and a pH-neutral cleaner. Microfiber is designed to be more absorbent and can help remove pathogens from surfaces more effectively than a terry cloth towel. Extra attention should be paid to high-touch points such as handles, security straps, and all interior compartments.
Apply disinfectant. Once all areas have been wiped clean, a disinfectant can be applied to all surfaces. After five to ten minutes, allowing the disinfectant to become most effective, the surfaces should be wiped clean with a microfiber cleaning cloth. If the disinfectant dries, it must be reapplied.
Rinse. Many disinfectants will leave a chemical residue, which can attract new soils. Because of this, the interior and exterior should be wiped again using pure tap water and a clean microfiber cloth.
Record. Facility managers should have cleaning workers note when they have cleaned the stations. This is for their own protection as well as for the baby and parents.
We likely can expect two things to happen with baby-changing stations in the future. First, we will see more of them. Although they are still not a universal requirement across North America, most building owners and managers believe they should be included in restrooms. Second, as more changing stations are installed, the professional cleaning industry is likely to be called upon to learn more about their cleaning needs. A changing-station maintenance program will help ensure cleaning is consistent and effective.
Amy Seretsky is product manager of washroom products for Impact-Products, manufacturers of jansan, safety and restroom products. She can be contacted at www.impact-products.com.