Most baby changing mats, or diaper pads, are made of a soft, wipeable surface to ensure a hygienic change. However, most are coated with PVC (polyvinyl Chloride) a plastic that has been linked to asthma and other breathing difficulties. PVC does not biodegrade quickly, and when discarded it leaches greenhouse gasses into the air, as it breaks down.
Biodegradable Changing Pads
When choosing a fabric for a changing pad, an organic cotton or fabric means that no pesticides were used in growing the material. When the use of the changing pad is over, it can biodegrade quickly. Organic versions of cotton, bamboo fibre, and flannel can be found online, if a fabric store doesnt supply unbleached or naturally dyed fibre cloth.
Using Online Resources to Buy Organic Fabric
Buying fabric online may make some people nervous: If its not the quality of the fabric, or the texture, not being entirely sure if the colour on seen on the computer monitor matches the actual item are all considerations when buying anything over the Internet. However, if the store has a return policy for items bought online, buying organic fabric online may be worth it.
In many cases yardage costs less online than in a store, as shopkeepers dont have to pay for storage, inventory and staff. If an online purchase is truly an eyesore, sending it back to the warehouse if the purchase policy allows may still be worth the cost of shipping.
Where to Find Organic Fabric Online
Some sites that sell organic cloth online are:
- Organic Fabric Online (Australia)
- Atlantis Fabrics (USA)
- Rawganique (Canada)
An online search using words like sustainable fibres or organic, unbleached along with the name a destination closer to delivery will also reduce the carbon footprint for making this homemade gift.
Making A Changing Pad
Some changing pads are as decorative as others are simple: Some use quilted fabric for texture, and others sandwich a thin foam rubber between two sheets. Using a plastic based foam padding is not recommended for children; the glues and the materials often release deadly Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, for short.
Once a style of fabric has been selected, making one doesnt have to involve long and complicated sewing patterns. The average diaper pad should be a foot longer at the head and the foot to accommodate a child who may be up to two years old, and slow to potty training.
Online patterns for making your own diaper pad can be found on the craft blog, Sew Take a Hike, which includes photographs and a step by step tutorial. Another option is modifying a pattern for placemats by making them a foot longer at each end; eHow has several options that include photographs.
A changing mat as a baby shower gift is especially well received when it includes the colours of the babys nursery: A discrete peek or some questions can make this gift an eco friendly delight.