How to install a fold-down baby change unit: Installation Guide
Installing a fold-down baby change unit properly: our guide
These days, there is mounting pressure on commercial properties and those used by the public to offer clients and customers access to decent baby-changing facilities. The British Toilet Association campaigns for well-equipped facilities to be widely available, and this includes family-friendly changing facilities for babies and disabled adults alike.
Many establishments, having only recently upgraded their toilets to meet this demand, plump for wall-mounted, fold down baby change units. These are ideal space savers, don’t break the bank, and are easy to install and keep clean.
It’s extremely important to ensure any baby changing units available in your establishment are correctly installed, by a trained professional, and therefore safe to use.
Assuming you are one of these professionals, or are just about to employ one to install your newly purchased unit, then you may find this practical guide to installing a wall-mounted fold-down unit useful. If you haven’t yet decided on the type of baby changing table you’d like, then read our 'Baby Changing Tables: Everything You Need to Know'.
This guide is for a typical unit made of high density polyethylene of the following size: 495 mm by 585 mm (the width of the unit top when folded down).
Before you begin- preparing to install your unit
Consider the following preparations before installing baby a change unit:
Familiarise yourself with BS EN 12221- 2:2008+ A1:2013, which is the current British Standard that deals with baby change units and other childcare fixtures.
Check the product.
Any new product should be checked carefully for faults or defects, particularly those relating to baby care or usage. Things to look out for include cracks, marks, weaknesses and sharp edges. You should also check the opening mechanism works properly, and that any straps or bag hooks provided are in a strong, good state. Most of the time, finding fault with your table won’t be an issue, especially if you buy your changing unit from a reputable washroom equipment supplier. If you do spot anything wrong with the new unit, it needs to be replaced with a fault-free unit before installation. At Washware, we take pride in providing all products in tip-top condition, but if you do find anything amiss, contact us right away and we’ll replace the unit.
Check wall surfaces carefully.
Before mounting anything to any wall, you should first check to see if it is a suitable, load bearing wall that is capable of handling the 20kg load. The wall should also be dry, clean and flat, free of damp, mould, cracks or weaknesses.
Check the space around the unit.
Once you’ve decided where the unit should go, the space around it will need to be checked to see whether it’s suitable. Will the unit be obstructing anything when it’s folded down? Does anything in the room get in the way of folding the unit down fully? Is the room it’s located in big enough? Will there be enough clear space around the unit for a parent to comfortably change their child? Take the whole environment into consideration: a baby changing facility should be a clean, pleasant place for a child and it’s carer, not something crammed into a dark, cramped corner.
Cleaning the unit.
Always give everything a good clean prior to installation, to ensure the unit is hygenic. You should also thoroughly clean it after installation, to ensure maximum standards of hygiene.
Fixtures, fittings and tools
Occasionally, baby unit retailers will supply the unit without fixtures and fittings, so you’ll need to source them yourself. The first rule of thumb in this case is to always check with the manufacturer of the unit to see what fixtures they recommend, as well as their own instructions on how to install a fold-down baby change unit.
The fixtures you do use will depend on the model of the fold-down unit, and the wall surface you are installing the unit against.
Common fixtures include:
Panhead wood screws (for attaching to wooden wall studs)
Wall plugs (for mounting into masonry walls)
Machine screws (for mounting onto metal wall studs)
Masonry wall installation may also need expansion anchors and lag bolts, which can be purchased separately from most hardware or building supply stores.
We do like to stress, however, that the installer checks with the manufacturer or distributor of the unit to ensure they have the right type of fixtures, appropriate for the surface they are mounting the unit to.
When it comes to tools, what you will need will also vary depending on the model of the unit being installed, but commonly, the following should be useful:
Wall stud finder
Pencil or chalk
Drill and assorted drill bits in different sizes, for masonry or wood
Socket wrench (for any bolts needed)
Cloth and antibacterial wipes for cleaning straight after installation.
Instructions for fixing the unit to the wall
Again, we have to stress that instructions will vary depending on the type, make and model of the unit being installed. The best way to ensure the unit is properly installed is to use a proper baby change unit installation expert, ideally one who is familiar with the brand of unit you’ve purchased.
Commonly, however, there are multiple steps to installing the unit:
Most units will have mounting holes in the back of the unit. These are for positioning over a metal or wood wall stud, or for anchoring straight to a masonry wall. If a wall has studs that don’t fit the dimensions of the mounting holes, then at least one side of the unit should be installed into a wall stud. The other side should be attached to a part of the wall specially reinforced for this purpose.
For stud walls, find the left hand stud that you plan on attaching the unit to. Measure the wall from the ground up, to get the right mounting height for the unit. There is no definitive rule to wall mounting heights for fold-down units, but the accepted wisdom is 730-750 mm from floor. Mark this height on the wall.
Mark the position of the remaining mounting holes on the wall by using a tape measure and spirit level to get the holes in exactly the right position.
Some units will come with a sheet or template to help you mark the holes in the right positions on the wall.
Using the unit as a guide by holding it in place, check that the marks on the wall fit the mounting holes in the back of the unit properly. Use a spirit level to check the mounting is precisely horizontal.
Pre-drill the holes into the wall. If the wall is masonry, use wall plugs to ensure good grip on the screws. For tiled rooms, a masonry bit will be needed to break through the tiles until you reach stud wall, and then a regular drill bit can be used to continue.
Use the fixtures to attach the unit to the wall. Don’t tighten them fully until you’ve used the spirit level again to check the bed table is horizontal. Once you are sure it’s as level as it can be, tighten the bolts, screws and washers until they are secure.
After installation, check the unit to see how well it is mounted to the wall. Then clean it ready for use. Warm soapy water and antibacterial wipes should suffice. For some units, it’s recommended that they are cleaned with a nylon brush and spray disinfectant, but for most makes, warm water and mild antibacterial detergent is fine. Rinse with clean water, and dry after disinfecting. Do not use any abrasive cleaning agents.
Hopefully, you’ve find this guide on installing a wall-mounted fold-down baby change unit useful. If you have any issues or questions you’d like help with, you can contact our expert washware team on 01275 390603.