Along with your eco-friendly diapers, you’re going to need somewhere to change and clean up your baby. Not everyone has the space for a separate change table, but if you do they can be super helpful. The trouble is, most change tables are far from green and non-toxic. So, what should you watch out for when choosing a change table and which are the best eco-friendly change tables around?
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What to look for and what to avoid in change tables
Change tables are typically made with a mix of manufactured wood, glues, plastics, and paints, varnish, or other finishes. These can all off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOC) that affect your health and the health of your baby. These include formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, and other VOCs.
Some change tables are made with hardwood, softwood, and medium density fiberboard (MDF), as well as plastic, metals, acrylic and other materials. MDF or manufactured wood is typically fused together with toxic glues, so unless a manufacturer explicitly states they don’t use the chemicals, be wary. And even then, check for a Greenguard Gold or CARB II certification to confirm they won’t overly impact the air quality in a nursery.
In general, a hardwood change table that is kiln dried and unfinished or treated only with natural oils such as linseed is your best bet for a non-toxic, eco-friendly nursery. Ideally, the hardwood will be locally sourced and certified sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Softwood change tables are also a good option and are typically cheaper, lighter, and easier to move around. They are less durable, though, with dings and scratches more easily visible. And if you’re planning on having multiple children, a softwood change table might not hold up as well as a hardwood option. Again, though, if you choose a softwood change table, make sure it doesn’t feature MDF (typically in table tops and drawers or shelves) and that it is free from toxic finishes.
Change tables are often sold to match cribs, so if you’ve already found a great non-toxic and eco-friendly crib, your best bet is to see if there’s a change table or dresser to complete the set.
Can the change table be converted?
Like many of the more eco-friendly crib models, some change tables can be converted into other usable furniture as your baby grows. Many such tables can go from being a change table to a dresser or desk with just a couple of easy adjustments. Some change tables have a removable top tray that can be repurposed as an upright shelf, leaving a simple dresser.
Unfortunately, a small number of change tables are designed with just one purpose in mind. Models with inbuilt change pads or cushioned tops with rails are far harder to repurpose once your baby is past the diaper stage. This increases the likelihood of furniture being scrapped and sent to landfill, and also leaves you out of pocket if you then have to buy a separate storage unit. Built-in change pads are also, frankly rather gross. They’re hard to clean, so they’re usually made with a waterproof PVC cover and polyurethane foam. These are two things you don’t want in your home, let alone your nursery.
What’s the alternative? An eco-friendly, non-toxic hardwood or softwood change table with a separate change tray and/or change pad that can be secured to the top.
Other smart options for a change table
You might also want to look around your home and see if you already have a dresser, side table, or small shelving unit that can house a change tray and/or change pad comfortably, along with all the other necessaries for a change station such as diapers, wipes, and lotions. Reusing suitable and safe furniture is a great way to save money and reduce resource consumption. Just be sure that any furniture you put in the nursery has an anti-tipping device and that your baby will be safe and sound, and then check out the greenest change pads and change pad covers to get all set up!
The best non-toxic baby changing tables
Highlights: On the pricier side, but without a doubt one of the best eco-friendly, absolutely non-toxic changing tables on the market.
If you’re looking for the best change table around, Green Cradle have you covered. Their totally eco-friendly, absolutely non-toxic Moss Green Changer Dresser is a beautiful piece of furniture that will be in your family for decades to come. Available in red oak, cherry, walnut, solid brown maple, and hard maple, the dresser can be left natural or finished with linseed oil, a VOC-free finish.
This dresser is finely crafted in the US with clean edges, full slats, full extension, under-mount, soft-close slides, and a removable changing table 4.5″ high. The dresser comes with anti-tip safety restraints, and is free from varnishes, synthetic preservatives, polyurethanes, and finishes containing chemical stains, heavy metals, or carcinogens.
The Moss Green Change Table measures 38″ wide, 18″ deep, and 39″ high without the changing tray. It is made with local wood from sustainably grown trees, with all parts made from solid wood, including the back and drawers. The dovetailed drawer joints are also solid wood, with no plywood, MDF, veneers, or composite.
The downside? You’re looking at a price tag of over $1295 for the cheapest options (brown maple or red oak with no finish and no changing tray). If you’re ready to go all in, there’s an option to add an organic changing mattress, pad, and cover with fitted sheet, and you can pay extra and have the piece handmade and delivered in 7-8 weeks instead of the usual 11-12 weeks.
Highlights: Made from solid hardwood with non-toxic finishes while allowing for the flexibility to choose your own change pad.
The Athena Grace changing table matches the company’s Amy or Alice cribs and is made from solid hardwood with non-toxic finishes. It is available in four colors and has three drawers with wooden pulls, deep enough to hold blankets and with smooth glide metal runners. There’s an optional changing top, and a safety belt, and no in-built change pad, so you can choose your own.
Highlights: Greenguard certified and perfect for use on top of most dressers or baby stations.
Romina make beautiful hardwood cribs and are also a great choice for eco-friendly, non-toxic change table trays. Made in Europe with 100% solid beechwood and non-toxic, water-based finishes, the Romina change trays are Greenguard certified and perfect for use on top of most dressers and baby-stations. The trays have raised sides to keep your baby secure, and each tray has an attachment kit to secure it to the top of the dresser.
Romina offer an Adjustable Tray in five different finishes for $225 and a standard tray for $175 that measures 33 5/8″ wide, 17 3/4″ deep, and 3 7/8″ high. The inner tray fits a standard changing pad measuring 32 3/16” by 16 1/4″.
Highlights: Made in Australia from locally sourced hardwood with no wood composites.
It will cost you a pretty penny, but the Austin 3-Drawer Dresser by duc duc is arguably one of the most eco-friendly, non-toxic and modern changer dressers available. Made in Australia from locally sourced hardwood and no wood composites, this dresser comes in eight wood finish combinations, the drawers can be custom painted and have soft-close sliders, and there are optional wall mounts for anti-tip safety.
The change tray can be removed to convert this into a fabulous dresser after the diaper days are done. The company has a clear environmental ethos with lean manufacturing processes that reduce energy and waste and all finishes and adhesives are non-toxic and Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAPs) free.
Highlights: Made in Europe from solid birch and Baltic birch plywood. Its finishes are water-based and free of VOCs.
Designed to secure to the Oeuf 6-drawer dresser with safety straps, the Oeuf XL changing station is a great piece of furniture as it can be repurposed as a slim shelving unit once you’re done diapering. The changing station has several adjustable compartments, making it easy to organize diapers, wipes, lotions, and everything else you’ll need to hand.
The Oeuf XL changing station is made in Europe from solid birch and Baltic birch plywood. Finishes are non-toxic, water-based and free of VOCs. This change station does not include a change pad, and measures 47.5″ long, 18″ wide, and 2.5″ deep, so can easily accommodate most change pad designs. It has a 50 lb. weight capacity and is Greenguard Gold certified.
You can also strap the change table to any other suitably sized dresser, shelving unit, or table. The XL change station doesn’t come with a pad, but the Oeuf change station does. My advice is to get the XL change station and avoid getting the Oeuf changing pad which is made with CertiPur® foam, i.e. polyurethane foam, meaning that their ‘plant-based foam’ marketing copy is a tad misleading. You’re far better buying the change tray and adding a Naturepedic pad.
Highlights: Available in three non-toxic finishes and made from sustainably sourced New Zealand pine.
Babyletto are another top pick for cribs, and if you’ve opted for the Hudson model, or most other Babyletto cribs, you can get a change table dresser to match. A bit pricier than the DaVinci change tables, the Hudson changer dresser is available in three non-toxic finishes, is made from sustainably sourced New Zealand pine and zero-grade MDF and is lead and phthalate free and CARB II compliant. Note that the removable changer tray fits a 31″ x 16″ changing pad, so will not work for the longer Naturepedic pad.
Highlights: Includes a 1″ waterproof changing pad and safety strap, and offers the ability to stow change station items in the drawers below for convenience.
The DaVinci Kalani is one of my top picks for an eco-friendly, non-toxic crib, so it should be no surprise to see their subsequent Jayden change table dresser on this list. The Jayden 3-drawer changer has a classic sleigh design to match the crib and includes a 1″ waterproof changing pad and safety strap. You can stow all the requisite change station items in the drawers and hang a diaper stack from the side of the dresser for convenience.
The drawers have quiet open metal glides with safety locks and the change pad can be removed and the change station used for open storage once you’re done diapering, leaving you with a stylish dresser. Or remove and replace the pad with a non-toxic change pad and donate the pad to a nearby shelter.
The Jayden changer is made with sustainable New Zealand pine and CARB II compliant MDF, so isn’t perfect but is pretty close.
Highlights: Offered in a neutral warm white, this changing tray can be easily used on most suitably sized dressers.
This removable change tray fits nicely with the Ubabub Nifty dresser, but you can easily use it for any other suitably sized dresser as it comes in a neutral warm white. The tray has two smaller compartments for additional storage and measures 38.5” long, 17.62” wide, and 3.25” high. It is made of American Poplar hardwood and CARB II compliant MDF and is lead and phthalate safe with a non-toxic finish. The kit includes a safety bracket to secure tray to dresser, but doesn’t include a change pad and fits any standard pad.