Beware public diaper-changing areas - Health - Brief Article
USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), August, 2002
"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 childhood diarrhea--and hospitalization--in children under two years of age," warns Catharine Shaner, a pediatrician with the American Safety and Health Institute.
For many 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.