Un-gooing my van

When a Calgary morning television show called last week to book me on their show, I was excited.

I really like BT Calgary (www.btcalgary.ca) and was excited to get a chance to talk about my baby equipment rental business, One Tiny Suitcase (www.onetinysuitcase.ca ) during the busy holiday travel season.

But, when they show’s producer said they wanted to do the segment IN my van, I panicked. I don’t know about you but I have two 4 year olds who eat, sleep, play, draw and spill stuff in my vehicle. The interior gets cleaned regularly but it never really looks ‘showroom’ ready. toyota-sienna

I ended up doing a frantic google search for car detailers in Calgary when I came across Mobile Reflections www.mobilereflections.ca Their Mobile interior car cleaning service had been profiled on a Mom`s website a few months ago.

I booked them on the spot and they promptly showed up with all the necessary gear for un-gooing my van. 4 hours later my van was sparkling clean and ready for a close up. I highly recommend these guys!

Playpen or antique?

A few months ago I wrote a post about an ‘antique’ highchair I saw being offered at a fancy Calgary restaurant. Prior to that you can read my post about the unsafe playpen I found at a Banff Hotel. Well it hasn’t stopped…

Last week I had the chance to be in one of the fanciest hotels in Banff. There was a playpen the hotel had supplied in the room. I decided to get a closer look at the playpen… It was not a brand I recognized and was an unusual bright blue color (I am often updating our inventory and I am sure I have not seen this pack n play in any store in the last 3 years). The netting was in-tack but the warning labels were hanging off both sides of it. This loose fabric not only looked pretty rag-tag, it was not necessarily safe.

Why do hotels offer sub-standard baby equipment for their guests? If you paid a couple of hundred dollars per night for a room wouldn’t you expect a certain level of quality (and safety) with the equipment they supplied?

Speaking of playpens…Have you seen the ‘cadillac’ of all playpens featured yesterday on Breakfast Television (www.btcalgary.ca) ? Make sure you know what you are getting next time you travel.

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Vitals in the Calgary Herald

The Calgary Herald profiled One Tiny Suitcase in their newspaper last week. We appeared in the Real Life section under ‘Vitals’. Sounds good to me…car seats, cribs and strollers VITAL to a relaxing vacation.

Vitals

Compiled by Michelle Magnan, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Equipment For Visiting Babies

SERVICE – if you have loved ones with babies who are coming to visit, you may want to let them know about a service in Calgary called one tiny suitcase.

The company offers baby equipment of all kinds, including car seats, toys, cribs and strollers, for rent.

To give you a taste of prices, daily rates for car seats range from $8 to $10 and weekly rates range from $48 to $60.

Pre-ordered items will be ready and waiting for pickup at the Calgary airport.

For more information or to book your rentals, visit onetinysuitcase.ca or call 1-877-one-tiny.

Now isn’t that easier than stuffing a stroller into your suitcase?

Watch the One Tiny Suitcase interview on Breakfast Television Monday morning around 9:30! We’ll be talking about Baby Equipment Rentals and Family Travel. Come back to view the segment on our site!

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Kids at the Calgary Airport

This has been a very cold week in Calgary. With flights getting delayed all over Canada due to winter weather you might find yourself spending more time at the airport than you had planned. If you are in Calgary with kids and killing time at the airport, there are a few things to keep them busy.

1.My kids always request a trip to the fountain at the International Arrivals gate. Jugo Juice is right nexjugot to it and they make a wiked Berry Binge Smoothie. Dig out a couple of pennies from your purse and let them make a wish!

2. Spaceport was a big addition to the Calgary Airport a few years ago and sounds like a great idea…the only problem is it seems to be closed whenever we are waiting for a flight to depart. A better alternative is the indoor playground on the departures level at the end of the WESTJET check in. Rubber floors, climbing structure and more.

3. The Drumheller-esq playground and TV area on the arrivals level just across from the International Arrivals area. The kids can climb on structures inspired by Alberta’s badlands, play video games or watch a cartoon on Treehouse TV. We’ve spent a lot of time here…I would highly recommend a stop at Tim Horton’s just down the hall for an Iced Cappucino first.

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Unruly Kids?

I was shocked, well maybe just surprised to read that a Trip Advisor survey found that 59% of airline passengers thought that parents who let their kids run wild were the most annoying air passengers http://www.canada.com/topics/travel/familytravel/story.html?id=1058015Travel Trend Air Etiquette

The parents I talk to are usually so stressed out about trying to keep their kids contained and not bothering other passengers whey they  fly that I wonder who these ‘other’ parents are.

On my last flight with the kids, we had to sit across the aisle from each other instead of in the same row. It was pretty stressful because I wondered how the other passengers that sat next to my children would feel about it. I was also keeping a close eye on exactly who they were sitting next to.

My son (4 years old) is very outgoing and immediately introduced himself to his ‘seat mates’. My daughter (also 4 years old) on the other hand, took one look at the man and woman in her row and said, “No thank you”, and proceeded to walk towards the back of the plane where we had sat last time. I switched with her.

By the end of the flight my son had made a cozy little nest with his head resting on the passenger next to him (I checked with her several times to see if she minded). So cute.

Is it possible that maybe that passenger was screaming inside and wishing that kids were not on her flight? I sure hope not, but after reading this survey….

Car Rentals and Car Seat Rentals

This is the busiest weekend for travel of the year. I wanted to revisit the issue of child seat rentals with your car rental agency. gracobooster1

The problem has always been that although car rental agencies will supply seats, it was on a first come, first served basis. Many customers thought their child seat reservation was guaranteed with the car reservation, only to be stranded at the car rental agency waiting for a child seat to be returned by another customer.

I’ve been seeing some positive signs of change though. Alamo updated their website to include this information:

“Alamo offers Child Safety seats for rental at an additional per day charge (approx. $10/day). These child seats are safety-approved for infants and toddlers that weigh up to 40 lbs.
Availability and daily rental rates are guaranteed when you reserve the child safety seat with your Alamo vehicle for pick-ups at airport-serving locations in the United States and Canada. This product is subject to availability outside of the US.
Child safety seats must be requested at the time of reservation, at this time the child’s age may be requested.”

A new initiative in the UK (http://www.dft.gov.uk/think/) is reminding parents of the car seat laws that are in place. It even goes so far as to remind visitors to make arrangements for car seats prior to their arrival. sip1

“Visitors to the UK from abroad must also use the correct child restraint for their children – there are no exceptions for them.  Family and friends expecting visitors should make sure that their visitors understand the rules. They may need to help them make arrangements so that children use the correct child restraint at all times.”

Wherever you are travelling this weekend, please make sure to check with your Car Rental Agency  prior to your arrival to see if they guarantee a child safety seat with your reservation.

Alternatively, renting one from a Baby Equipment Rental Agency like ours (www.onetinysuitcase.ca ) will guarantee your reservation of a specific make and model of car seat (http://www.onetinysuitcase.ca/britaxcarseat.htm).

How to unpack a playpen

I remember one of my first visits to Winnipeg with the twins. My parents had borrowed a playpen from a friend who had grandchildren. The instructions didn’t accompany the unit so my father and I were tasked with trying to figure out how to set it up and take it down on our own. A seemingly simple task turned into a very frustrating 1/2 hour.

Have a look at this video from Kiddicare in the UK http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=KEy__O1t3Qw it might save you some time…and your sanity.

After you’ve mastered the art of the travel cot it is really pretty simple. Everything needs to happen in a sequence (from locking the sides into place first, then pushing the floor down). All of these ‘steps’ ensure the playpen is set up safely and that there is no risk of  a side collapsing.

We (www.onetinysuitcase.ca) carry the EDDIE BAUER pack n plays by DOREL ($8/day or $48/week). They come with a lot of bells and whistles (bassinet, change table, canopy, etc.) but the basic pack n play is great option if you are looking for a comfortable, portable bed for baby when you are travelling. ebpnpnew