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.

ebpnpnew2

Christmas Crib Safety

Many of you will be travelling away from home this holiday season. Like me, your first concern is probably how to make sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep while on vacation! Getting my kids to sleep through the night at home was hard enough for the first few years, travelling upped my anxiety level just a bit more.

Whether you are staying at a hotel, renting a private vacation home or bunking in with grandma and grandpa….make sure baby’s bed meets the same standards for safety you use at home.

Baby Crib Safety

Baby Crib Safety

Here is a link from Health Canada that tells you what to look for when inspecting a crib http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/cons/cribs-lits_enfants-eng.php.  As you can see from an Inspection of Hotel cribs in one city in the US http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2006/7/14/133223/752/hotels/Hotel_Cribs_Can_Be_Child_Deathtraps, not everyone is as diligent in making sure their products meet current safety standards.

I would like to say that things have changed but after a recent (2008) stay at a hotel in Banff, I found a pack n play with a gaping hole in the mesh inside our room ready to be used.

As an owner of a Baby Equipment Rental company, I can tell you that the pressure to ensure our equipment meets and exceeds current safety standards is high. Operated by parents for parents, I would recommend the services of my counterparts in other cities across the world. But as with everything, double check for yourself before you put your baby to bed!

A Cameleon at the beach

Still in the  midst of my Maui vacation I had to report a Cameleon sighting at the beach today. I’ve been watching all the parents at the beach, studying every piece of equipment they have chosen to travel with. I’ve seen some unusual sites…from a straight-jacket-like infant life jacket to a Sun Tent the size of a hotel room.

The stroller choices are always the most interesting. I’ve seen Joggers, Umbrellas, 3 wheelers, and 4 wheelers. But today I saw the best beach buggy yet…the Bugaboo Cameleon ( I do have a love affair with anything from Bugaboo but this was exceptional). This was the first time I witnessed a mom casually strolling down the very sandy beach with her baby in a black bugaboo cameleon. She pushed the buggy effortlessly through the sand.

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She had obviously reversed the stroller so the larger all-terrain wheels were pointed forward, but the stroller seemed to be so maneuverable. There was a 3 wheeled jogging stroller parked about 3 umbrellas down from her that I am sure had to be dragged backwards down the sand or carried from the stairs.

Did I mention that we were on the beach at the Four Seasons Maui? I had to remind myself of that when I saw the matching JJ Cole accessories come flying out of the Bugaboo Stroller one after the other.

Palace for a Princesse

Quebec city is celebrating it’s 400th anniversary this year. With all that pomp and circumstance it makes me think of royalty.

For the ultimate experience, a visit to the Fairmont’s Chateau Frontenac is a must. One activity that caught my eye was their Fairytale Princess Package. With a two night stay in the ‘Grace of Monaco’ Suite (the same room that Princess Grace of Monaco stayed in 1969), you receive a Princess outfit, a framed photo of your little Princess in her castle, Princess shirt and nightgown with candies, a horse drawn carriage ride in the streets of Old Québec, dinner at Le Champlain restaurant and complete VIP status throughout your stay.

At $3950 for the two night package, the Fairytale Princess Package is on par with a trip to Disney’s Cinderella Castle. But, a girl can dream……….

 

Kids Tyme in Vegas

Sin city for kids? I have heard some bad stories of kids being dragged through casinos, out on the strip at 2:00AM passed out in their stroller, etc. Personally, our family has decided to stay off the strip while the kids are little. Disneyland-yes, Palms Casino-no. But for those of you who love Vegas too much to stay away I have found some kid-friendly activities to keep everyone entertained!

The Orlenas Casino and Hotel in Vegas (www.orleanscasino.com) saw an need and filled it with Kid’s Tyme! Kid’s Tyme is a world of kid-sized fun and entertainment in a safe, clean, and supervised environment. The staff on duty are certified in first aid and CPR. It’s perfect for children ages 3 through 12. Open 7 days a week 365 days a year- it seems to good to be true!

Some of the kid-friendly activities they offer include a jungle gym, Coin freearcade room, movie room and Arts & Craft time with paints, markers and crayons for creative minds.  

One thing to remember… the use of this facility requires that parents stay in the building (CASINO) at all times!

Child Friendly Vegas!

Family and the City (NYC that is)

Four Seasons Hotel for familiesThinking of planning a trip to the big apple with baby in tow? What better way to experience this fabulous city than by staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York!

This ultra luxury hotel hasn’t forgot about the needs of their smallest guests. Upon request, child size bathrobes will be waiting in your room along with baby shampoo.

Complimentary use of a Diaper Genie and Bottle Warmer will keep everyone in your room happy. Strollers are also available for nap time strolls through central park! 

A bit of a worry wart? Baby-proofed rooms are also offered as part of this family-friendly property. 

While all the other gals are on the Sex and the City tours, you and your family can experience the family-friendly New York we haven’t seen on HBO (well….I guess there were a few shots of Miranda, Brady and her Bugaboo)!

A Baby Hotel- sounds so good!

Baby HotelIt seems like such a simple idea, I can think of so many parents that need this service, yet this is the first I have heard of it!

The Baby Hotel www.babyhotel.co.za in Johannesburg (South Africa) is a revolutionary idea in the area of child care. Here is what they have to say: “The BABY HOTEL is a specialized facility for babies birth to three years. We take the worry out of child care by giving you a support structure that will not only allow you to spend quality time with your baby, but will offer you some quality time for yourself.

The BABY HOTEL is a 24 hours per day, 7 days per week facility. Although the normal day care hours are between 07h00 and 18h00, there is no need to stress when you are stuck in a meeting at the end of the day, or you need to be at the airport at 06h00 in the morning. Our staff will be more than happy to accommodate you during these unavoidable circumstances.

Sounds too good to be true, an ‘on-call’ nanny/baby nurse that gets up at 6:00AM so you can catch that early morning flight? Now if only our North American hotels had an ‘on-call’ nanny that you could call to your room in the middle of the night when the baby won’t sleep!

 

Eco-friendly Hotels

Calgary\'s One Tiny SuitcaseCan your next destination be Family friendly & Eco-friendly? Of course. After all, isn’t mother nature a part of the family? 

Choosing your accommodation can be done with an eco-friendly state of mind. We’ve all seen hotels that ask guests to reuse towels but have you ever stayed at a hotel that uses compact fluorescent bulbs, has a recycling program, or using non-toxic or biodegradable cleaning products? They are out there; ask your hotel if they are an Eco-Friendly Accommodation.

Maybe you have a favorite place to stay that is a bit behind the green movement…there are ways to reduce your impact here too. Turn down the heating or air conditioning in your room when you leave, turn the lights off and ask housekeeping not to change your sheets every day to save water and energy in laundering them.

Check out this link to find an eco-friendly hotel at your destination!

www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com

 

Pack your own pack n play

My husband and I were finally able to get away on our fabulous ‘family-free’ getaway. The kids were enjoying pyjama parties and popcorn with grandma and grandpa while we snuck away for a night on our own.

We splurged and stayed at a really swanky hotel, actually the most expensive hotel in the area. We had heard mixed reviews about the rooms but the amenities were supposed to make up for it, and they did.

When we arrived at the door to our room I was so excited to check out our room. The attendant at check-in described a king size bed, plasma TV, marble bathroom, and more. Upon opening the door we found that it was everything we expected…and more. There was a playpen already set up next to the bed in our room (I felt pangs of guilt and took it as a sign that we should have brought the twins with us for this weekend getaway). We had been very clear with the attendant that this was a child-free stay, so the playpen was obvisouly a mistake.

elfewithhole.jpgelfeinroom.jpgI immediately went over to fold it up and move it outside our room, when I noticed the large hole in the mesh on one side. Upon further inspection I realized that is was a pack n’ play brand that I was unfamiliar with (After some research, I found that it was probably sold at SEARS for $69.99). How is it that a hotel (which shall remain nameless) with such a great reputation would offer guests an out of date, unsafe baby bed? 

Moral of the story, pack your own pack n play….or better yet rent one from a Baby Equipment Rental Company. Most of these companies are owned by moms and aren’t too “big” to know that providing an unsafe product is a huge risk to our customers and our business.

I need a Trip Advisor

I am planning two vacations right now. One involves Family Travel, the other totally does not. The trip without the kids is coming up and I am trying to find a fabulous place for us to rest and relax in the Mountains.

Trip Advisor

My new Best Friend in the Travel Biz is Trip Advisor www.tripadvisor.com (and not just because they recommended One Tiny Suitcase in their Banff Family Travel section!) This site has a forum where users can give honest feedback about their experiences with hotel stays. It even ranks hotels in a particular location by popularity.

Now I know about Banff’s new hotel (The Fox) that has become more popular than the Banff Springs Hotel. The Juniper (www.thejuniper.com) looks very cool too, totally not child friendly but very chic.

What I really  need to know is, will I be able to sleep in past 6:30am if there aren’t any kids around or am I just programmed to wake up when they do?