"Never put your child's bare bottom on a
public diaper changing area unless you
are able to disinfect the area yourself.
You might be exposing your child to the
Streptococcus faecalis bacteria, which
causes urinary tract infections, E coli,
or rotavirus, a leading cause of
hospitalization--in children under two
years of age," warns Catharine Shaner, a
pediatrician with the American Safety
and Health Institute.
parents, using a public diaper-changing
area, such as those in department stores
and airports or at rest stops, is
convenient, but it may be putting the
infant at risk for illness. "To the
naked eye, these public diaper stations
or `decks' may appear clean and
sanitized, but they can actually be
loaded with harmful viruses and
bacteria. They're not as clean as they
are convenient," Shaner points out. She
advises that parents should consider all
public areas shared by children to be
contaminated with viruses and bacteria.
A portable disinfectant spray can save
the youngster discomfort, as well as a
trip to the doctor.
It is wise to avoid using your own
changing mat on public diaper decks,
where it can become contaminated with
surface bacteria and viruses. Putting it
back into the diaper bag can spread
germs to other items, such as toys,
bottles, and pacifiers. Instead,
purchase soft, disposable, clothlike
pads to put under the youngster's bottom
to avoid any skin/surface contact in
public changing areas, and dispose of
the pad after use.