Overall Score – 4.5 out of 5
The parent and baby facilities in Dundrum Town Centre have a sign on the wall proclaiming their award winning status. I must admit they lived up the hype, and have set a new benchmark for me as the best I have come across so far.
Businesses within the shopping centre have donated products which give the facilities a really homely feel. For example Mammas & Papas and Bella Baby have donated changing mats and mobiles, which are far nicer than the usual plastic fold-down tables , and give a baby something to look at during a change. They even have the same changing mat as we have downstairs at home, so my little girl was very relaxed.
Boots have donated cotton wool balls, and these are within easy reach of every changing mat, which are also conveniently located next to sinks. This means you can do a thorough clean without reaching, stretching or the usual contortions to reach the sink or bin whilst holding down a wriggly baby.
The changing facilities have ample room for four parents dong changes at once, and are well laid out with adjacent toilets and sinks.
The feeding room is very comfortable with sofas and magazines donated by Easons, so again it doesn’t feel like you have been stuck in a bare room. They have also provided toys for older children to play with which is a nice touch. The only additional thing I would have liked is a window to let in some natural light, but I don’t think that would be possible where the room is positioned.
My only negative comment is around accessibility because the main family facilities are on a mezzanine level that can only be reached by a lift. This lift services 6 floors and there are generally a lot of people waiting for it. It says priority is given to wheelchairs and buggies, but there are always lots of other people using it too. I wouldn’t fancy trying to explain I should take priority because I have a poo-explosion on my hands. So if you need to go the facilities leave plenty of time to get there.
There are plenty of parent and child parking spaces (100 according to their website) close to the doors in the car parks, but again you often have to wait for lifts between floors when you emerge from the carpark, so if you knew you needed to change a nappy getting out the car, it could be a while until you reach the main changing facilities.
(Note: After I had left I noticed on the website there are other changing facilities at each of the toilets on the main levels so you could get to those ones easier, but I didn’t visit them so I will have to go again and check them out.)
If you get caught out on the fourth floor House of Fraser also provide a combined changing and feeding room. It isn’t quite as homely, but they have added a few nice touches like some wallpaper, and it is very useful if you are having lunch in their café.
There are plenty of other food outlets to get food in Dundrum Town centre so the adults are spoilt for choice. The centre also provides bottle/food warming facilities in the food hall which is handy.
These are certainly excellent facilities, and set a benchmark for other shopping centres to aspire to. The only thing I would change is the location to somewhere with some natural light, and accessible straight off one of the main shopping levels, or via a specific dedicated lift. That would give it a perfect score, but they’re still not far off, and all the shops involved in donating items for the facilities should be commended.
(out of 5)
|Overall||4.5||The best I have come across so far.|
|Baby change||5||Nice counter layout with proper padded changing mats, and mobiles and accessories that make it both practical and homely.|
|Mummy toilets||5||Two cubicles adjacent to the changing facilities, with different height sinks, make then usefukl for mummies and older children.|
|Parking||4.5||There are plenty of parent and child spaces. The spaces are not necessarily any more spacious, but they are close to the doors into the centre.|
|Breastfeeding||5||Nice room with couches and chairs and a sink to wash your hands. It also has a water cooler, and toys and books for older children.|
|Accessibility||4.5||The whole shopping centre could do with more lifts. With a buggy you can be waiting ages for a lift to arrive only to find it full.|
Note: All opinions are my own and based on my experiences – if you feel I have missed something please let me know and I will endeavour to revisit.