FISHERS, Ind. – Caregivers have been there before.
You need to change your baby’s diaper. You can either do it in a germ-filled public restroom, in your cold car, or you can head home instead. A recent study shows a majority of parents would choose to go home.
“There has to be a better way,” Brittany Hizer, the co-founder and COO of Pluie, said.
Now, there might be.
It started in 2018. Addie Gundry was a new mother at the time. She was at a fast casual restaurant and had to change her child’s diaper.
“There was nowhere to put my bag, it was a rock-hard piece of plastic, which felt uncomfortable,” she said. “The security strap was just kind of hanging out dirty, and dirty was really the key word.”
Gundry questioned whether the changing table was clean. Had employees sanitized it? She didn’t think so. When she returned to her table, Gundry told her husband she wanted to make a better one.
Four years later, stores are installing Pluie’s changing tables nationwide.
Hizer showed CBS4 some of the features, including metal handles for easy handling and stowing your bags.
There is a waterproof, foam cushion.
“So, instead of placing your baby on a rock hard piece of plastic, you can place your baby on a nice foam cushion,” Hizer said.
Pluie also offers a retractable safety strap, instead of a buckle.
“It retracts back into what we call the clean zone,” she demonstrated.
But what makes Pluie so innovative is its UVC light.
“It sanitizes the entire changing surface in 60 seconds,” Hizer said.
There are at least 75 Pluie changing tables installed nationwide. Two of them are at Conner Prairie.
“I believe we are the first museum to have them in the country. I know we’re the first in Indiana,” Mark Firestone, Conner Prairie’s director of membership, told CBS4.
The CBS4 team did some digging and found there haven’t been any major updates to baby changing tables since they were invented in 1986. We also could not find any laws that require workers to sanitize or disinfect public changing tables regularly.
“They’re only going to be as clean as the last time they were cleaned,” Adam Karcz, the director of infection prevention at Riley Hospital for Children, said. “The question on how well they are cleaned if it is part of the routine public restroom process, which it should be, but that may be the last time it got cleaned but they’re not necessarily cleaned after every use.”
Karcz warned about bacteria on traditional baby changing tables, including e-coli and norovirus.
“There is quite a bit of nastiness in the bathroom,” he said.
Karcz said ultraviolent light is nothing new, but admitted it has gained popularity amid the pandemic. He called it a “compliment” to normal cleaning practices with disinfectant products.
“The biggest thing to remember with ultraviolent light type of cleaning is that the surface does need to be wiped down, so you don’t want any dirt, debris, ickiness on the surface,” he explained. “I’d recommend using a good disinfectant wipe that you can purchase at your regular store and wiping it down.”
Pluie’s cofounder said the same thing.
“We take care of the sanitization, but you still have to clean,” Hizer pointed out.
She recommended using soap and water.
Pluie has big plans for 2022. It is building a new production run. Each are accounted for.
“I think it is a good opportunity to mitigate some risk and provide a safer environment for our kiddos,” Karcz said.