Savvy parents know that PVC-free is the way to be. One of the most poisonous plastics ever created, polyvinyl chloride (or vinyl) presents great environmental and health hazards from manufacture to disposal. Considering that toxic additives like phthalates and lead continue to leach, flake, or off-gas from PVC throughout its life, moms and dads would be prudent to give the plastic a wide berth, especially when it comes to their babies’ bare tushies.
While PVC-derived travel changing pads abound because the material’s waterproof and wipeable properties are a boon when you’re on the road, we managed to scrounge up several planet-friendlier options that are just as easy to clean, even when you don’t have a washing machine standing by.
No changing table? No problem! The Cushy Tushy Changing Pad from Built NY offers a soft neoprene surface for tiny bottoms in need of an emergency diaper change. The lead-safe, stain-resistant, and machine-washable pad, which conveniently folds up into its own case, even has an interior pocket for a small cache of diapers. Discerning diaper slingers can choose from colorful stripes and polka dots or low-key solids like red and black.
Free of lead, phthalates, latex, bisphenol A, and formaldehyde, Patemm’s CPSIA-certified laminated-cotton changing pad is waterproof, but without any potentially hinky chemicals. It also boasts a unique circular design that doesn’t require you to align your wriggling child just so, along with inner pockets for stashing diapers, wipes, and even a spare set of clothes. Plus, everything collapses into a compact carrier, with four outside handles designed to allow you to fold and unfold the pad with one hand. Options for organic cotton, albeit uncoated, are also available, although you can get them waterproofed by special request.
Most of Fleurville’s PVC-free diaper totes, including the Re-Run Messenger Bag we wrote about last year, come with their own coordinating changing pads, but you can also purchase individual pads à la carte. For an extra $12, you can get the matching zippered sack, which is the perfect size for stowing your pad, a couple of diapers, and some wipes for quick errands that don’t require you to haul around an entire diaper bag.
Serena & Lily
Sleek and understated, Serena & Lily’s flax-linen offering looks more like a fashionable clutch than a portable changing pad. The padded nylon main section is flanked by two unpadded flaps that unfold to provide extra surface area for your child’s posterior. Wipeable on the inside, the whole changing pad is also machine washable.
Zoli’s Baby Ohm Diaper Changing Pad, available in pink or blue, is just the ticket for pint-sized yogis-in-training. It’s constructed from thermoplastic elastomer, which is the same material PVC-, latex-, and chloride-free yoga mats are made from. Additional pluses: This pad is water-resistant, non-slip, and 100 percent degradable.