Baby-Changing Station Law Doubles Diaper Duty

With the signing of the "BABIES Act" in October 2016, facilities (at least those controlled by the federal government) have twice the number of stations to clean and maintain.

Signed into law on October 7, 2016, Public Law No: 114-235, Bathrooms Accessible [for Baby-diaper Changing] in Every Situation (or the “BABIES” Act) requires “safe, sanitary, and appropriate” baby-changing facilities in both women’s and men’s public restrooms. The law applies only to publicly-accessible federal buildings, although facility management cleaning staffs in all types of buildings may want to consider tips that have been provided by the Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI). Below, HFI provides the following tips (both Standard and Alternative methods) for healthier cleaning and sanitizing of critical Baby Changing Station (BCS) surfaces.

Standard Methods

  • Close the restroom for service with appropriate signage.
  • When using standard cleaners and disinfectants for BCS sanitizing, clean first, then disinfect, as you cannot disinfect a dirty surface.
  • When disinfecting by using a chemical solution, be sure it is EPA-registered, then carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions for application and wet dwell (or soak) time to ensure proper disinfecting.
  • Next, rinse and wipe the surface thoroughly. This step is vital to remove irritating or harmful chemical residues, as babies and young children are more vulnerable than adults to such exposures.
  • Use good ventilation to clear the air before returning the restroom to service as product fragrances (ironically) are often harmful to inhale.

Alternative Methods (preferred where practical)

  • Close the restroom for service with appropriate signage.
  • Use fragrance-free products to clean and disinfect using guidelines above. Even fragrance-free products sometimes contain masking compounds, so ventilation tips apply and may facilitate drying.
  • Water-based spray-and-vacuum methods work well for watertight BCS surfaces, while minimizing the need for chemical application.
  • Consider using dry (6% moisture) steam vapor as it is chemical-free and uses tap water and moist heat as the functional cleaning and sanitizing agent, while not leaving residues, toxic, irritating or fragrance-related chemicals. Rinsing is eliminated and pathogens are killed by briefly-applied heat (only seconds of contact time are needed for germ kill in some cases, thus not overheating the surface), and the surface is dry to the touch within moments of application.