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White Sox make ballpark more welcoming with ‘self-sanitizing’ diaper-changing table

The state-of-the-art Pluie table will be part of the Mothers’ Nursing Room at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

The Pluie changing table inside Guaranteed Rate Field’s Mothers’ Nursing Room.

When the White Sox welcome back a limited number of fans to Guaranteed Rate Field for games this spring, parents with young children can expect a new state-of-the-art accommodation to make it easier to enjoy a day at the ballpark.

Two years after the club introduced a Mothers’ Nursing Room to provide a clean and convenient area in the stadium for breastfeeding women, the space will now also offer a self-sanitizing diaper changing table that uses a “patented UVC light system which is known to kill 99.9% of germs” in less than a minute.

The table comes from a Chicago-based company called Pluie, which was started by a pair of local mothers, Addie Gundry and Brittany Hizer, who decided to address the fact that public diaper changing stations haven’t changed in decades.

The company says the UVC technology in the device is widely used today by hospitals to sanitize patient rooms after use. It has plans to install the self-sanitizing tables in other public areas such as restaurants, parks, and retail, healthcare and education facilities.

The FDA says UVC radiation has been “effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria,” but when it comes to the coronavirus, “there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate” the virus.

The Guaranteed Rate Field nursing room, along with the Sensory Room installed in 2019, are part of an ongoing effort by the White Sox to make their game experience more inclusive to all fans. In addition to the new Pluie table, breastfeeding mothers will also find comfortable chairs, electrical outlets for pumps and a television to follow the game.

Other Chicago sports teams have also put an effort into making their homes more accommodating for mothers who are breastfeeding. The Cubs and Bears added “lactation pods” two years ago at Wrigley Field and Soldier Field, respectively. The trend at MLB stadiums began in 2015 when the Red Sox introduced a dedicated space for nursing mothers at Fenway Park in Boston.