Renting a Crib and Other Baby Sleep Options

Traveling parents often wonder where to have their baby sleep while on vacation.  Should they just bring along a pack ‘n play for the week?  Rent a portable or full-size crib?  Use the hotel’s crib or the old crib that their parents have had in storage at their house since they were a child?

WARNING:  I’M BIASED ON THIS TOPIC.  But, I’m biased for a good reason.  I know that the health, safety, and comfort of your baby are important to you at all times, so that won’t change when you are on vacation.  But, your baby may be thrown off slightly by being in a new environment, so the more you can make your baby feel like he’s back home, the better he (and you) will sleep and the happier he (and you) will be while on vacation.  And as a busy parent, you deserve a relaxing vacation!

Option #1 – Pack ‘N Plays: 

Pack N Play

It can save money and be convenient to either bring your own Pack ‘N Play or to rent one.  We rent Pack ‘N Plays at Tiny Toes Travel, but I don’t recommend them for sleeping at night, especially not for a week-long vacation.  I have heard from parents who have done that on past vacations and they swear they will never do it again.  Babies generally don’t sleep as well or as deeply in them as they do in a more spacious crib with a firmer surface.

Option #2 – Rent a Portable Crib: 

Portable Crib

Note: Bumpers are not included

We also rent wooden portable cribs at Tiny Toes Travel, and they can be great depending on the length of your stay and the amount of space that you have.  They cost slightly less to rent, and the ones we rent are sturdy, wooden cribs.  They take up less room than a full-size crib because they are smaller and they fold-up when not in use.  The downsides are that the mattress can’t be thicker than two inches in a portable crib, so the mattress is not as firm as a standard crib mattress, and portable cribs are smaller than full-size cribs so your baby will not have as much room as he is used to.

If you only need the crib for a couple of nights this option may work fine, and a recent customer of ours told us that her baby slept really well in the portable crib for the one night that they had it.  But, if you need a crib for a full week, I recommend renting a full-size crib instead of a portable crib.

Option #3 – Rent a Full-Size Crib:

Full Size Folding Crib with Mattress

Note: Bumpers and comforter are not included

Renting a full-size, JPMA-certified crib is the best option in most circumstances.  The only downside is that if you are staying in a very small space, it takes up more room than a portable crib.  But, your baby will feel like the king that he is sleeping with the same amount of space that he usually has, and on a mattress as thick as he is used to.

Caveat: Not all rental cribs are equal!  Before renting a crib from a baby equipment rental company or hotel make sure that:

  1. The crib is JPMA-certified and complies with current federal regulations.  Note: Hotels, motels, and baby equipment rental companies have until December 28, 2012 to meet the new federal standards, so between now and then their cribs may not meet current safety standards.
  2. The crib is NOT a drop-size crib!  This should go without saying since drop-side cribs can no longer be made or sold in the United States, but there are still some companies using them.
  3. The crib is fully cleaned and sanitized (ideally using natural cleaners) and the hardware is thoroughly checked between rentals.
  4. The linens do not have strong scents and ideally have been washed using fragrance-free detergents without dryer sheets, especially if your baby is sensitive to scents.

Option #4 – Use a hotel’s crib or the old crib being stored at your parents’ house: Some hotels offer full-size crib, while others use smaller portable cribs.  As mentioned in the caveat in option #3 above, hotels do not need to comply with current federal crib safety standards until December 28, 2012.  So, if you decide to use a hotel’s crib, ask the hotel about the size of the crib, whether the crib meets the latest federal safety standards, and how they clean and sanitize the cribs.  It’s probably a good idea to bring your own crib sheets, too.  As far as the crib at your parents’ house, if it was purchased prior to June 28, 2011 (which is when all cribs sold in the United States needed to meet new the new federal crib safety requirements), it is probably not as safe as it needs to be.

Additional information about crib safety can be found at the following links:
http://www.cpsc.gov/info/cribs/index.html
http://cribsafety.jpma.org/

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