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DADult Life | October 18, 2019

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Loo of the Year: Inside England’s best baby changing facility

Baby changing

Going into public toilets is never a pleasant experience. Is that a plumbing leak or has someone got a really bad aim? And WTF has the geezer in here before me been eating?


But using public baby changing facilities can feel even worse, like you’ve lost a bet and have a forfeit on your hands. As you enter, your nostrils are violated as you’re faced with an invisible wall built by the mingled stench of old and new baby shit created from an assortment of weaning stages.

I mean, changing my daughter’s nappy can be a horror show at times, so enduring the smell of an infant excrement assembly in public changing rooms just makes the process that much more hellish.

It’s not all bad though. In fact, I once encountered a baby changing facility so impressive that I felt the need to share a video of it.

Turns out I’m not completely mad for being so in awe of the baby changing room, since it went on to win big at the Loo of the Year Awards – yep, that’s a real thing – Essex Live reports.

According to the Loo of the Year Awards, The Harvey Centre was named the Best Baby Changing Facility in England.

When I went there with my daughter the first time, she was but a few months old and didn’t much like being changed without making her thoughts audibly known, but upon seeing the TV screen in the ceiling directly above the changing unit with CBeebies on the go, she was immediately silenced and captivated.

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Filling me in on what gave the shopping centre the edge to win the award, centre manager Bryan Young, told me that it effectively pays to listen to your staff – the idea for the screen came from a frazzled dad who was working there.

“Firstly I would say what sets the centre’s baby change facilities apart is the fantastic staff that look after the toilets and the award really needs to be attributed to them,” said Bryan.

“As for the facilities we remodelled all the toilets as part of the cinema development, which opened in December 2016. All of the centre’s toilets have fresh flowers added to them every week which is really important.

“On top of this Simon Plumb, the centre’s recently departed ops manager, was able to introduce ideas gained from being a then-new father who believed entertainment for young ones whilst being changed would make life easier for the parents. Hence the TV in the ceiling and stencils on the walls.”

Playing Simon says clearly paid off.

Today, the nappy changing dilemma I face isn’t so much about managing Roma screaming in my face – although that does still happen – but the great escape.

Having now developed the ability to roll at will, like an excitable superhero discovering their newfound powers, the second she is laid on her back she flips herself over to try scuttling away.

I haven’t been able to find a way to get her out of that yet and visiting the Harvey Centre each time to subdue her seems a bit much, so maybe trying to captivate her with a colourful drawing or mobile stuck to the ceiling might work as a budget, helluva lot safer, DIY version for the home… but I doubt it.

At which point can I expect the changing process to stop looking something like a WWE match?!



  1. Whatever happens with refurbishments clean sides etc are vital. Not worried about the flowers but useful supplies (for a cost) would be more useful surely!

  2. Wow, a TV screen above the baby change, what a great idea. I agree, I wouldn’t be confident in my DIY skills to suspend a TV above the baby change either… Pen #ThatFridayLinky

  3. Fascinating. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to change a nappy but Terminal 5 at Heathrow and the ‘family rooms’ at any Westfield shopping centre were always superb. #thatfridaylinky

  4. Sounds a great facility shame it’s not rolled out across the country excellent read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

  5. Ah I remember trying to change my girls when they learnt to roll! Good luck with that! The facilities do sound good too. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

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