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By Valerie Franco

On Friday, December 2, 2011

Safety Never Takes a Holiday™

Originally published on GalTime website

Traveling with small children anytime, but especially over the holidays, can be a real challenge. Best case scenario, safest case scenario, may not always be the easiest solution. Here are some holiday travel tips to help you with your family journeys during December and beyond.

Always call the airline you will be flying. Tell them you are traveling with a small child. Find out about restrictions, gates checks and extra baggage fees. Holiday travel is the busiest time of year so there are plenty of delays, missed connections and inclement weather. You may arrive but your bags and baby equipment may not. This may be a good time to consider renting baby equipment.

If you decide to rent baby equipment such as a car seat, crib or high chair, always call ahead to make a reservation. Planning ahead can guarantee that the car seat you need is available. So if you really need an infant seat, you will not have to settle for a combination 0-40 pound car seat because the infant only car seats are already reserved.

When you reach your travel destination, your child will need a place to sleep, eat and a mode of transportation. Pack 'n Plays are very portable and the maximum weight limit is generally about 30 pounds; this varies by manufacturer. If your child can sleep in a pack n play and you have room in your car or the rental car, then bring it along. A safer option to consider for an older, larger or more active child would be a crib. A crib can also preclude a toddler from wandering around in a strange home during the middle of the night.

Age appropriate high chairs or kitchen booster seats can be very helpful; especially traveling with the 6-24 month old crowd. Feeding yourself and playing with your food is all part of the developmental and independent stages of growing up. Doing this in somebody else's dining room may create some parent anxiety. Your host may appreciate the fact that a child appropriate chair keeps her home clean and deters your child from walking around while eating. High chairs and kitchen booster seats can prevent tipping out of an adult chair and hitting chins. They also allow your child to eat comfortably. We all enjoy a good meal during the holidays and our kids should too!

Never travel without a stroller. You need some way to free your hands and find a boarding pass or pay for a beverage. Using a restroom, family friendly or not, a stroller allows you to keep your child with you and not wandering or touching every interesting surface. In this day of airlines delays and overbooking, expect the unexpected. A two hour delay may be a bit more enjoyable if your tot doesn't have to be in your arms. This stroller doesn't have to be your favorite, so an umbrella stroller or one that hardly takes up any room will do the job. Your favorite stroller may be a bit bulky to put in your rental vehicle. Once you get to your destination, a family member may have a more traditional stroller for you to use or consider renting a jog stroller to walk the beach or log some miles.

Last consideration, baby gates. Think ahead if you will be in a familiar home for the holidays. If you are renting a vacation home, the property management company may be able to advise you if baby gates should be a consideration. Baby gates can be a deterrent to stairs; although, most manufactures only recommend wall mounted gates to prevent stairway accidents. Certain rooms may need to be avoided and a gate can inhibit children from ending up in a sewing or hobby room. Gates can also help discourage unsupervised meetings with pets.

Baby Gear-USA® is a full service baby equipment rental company. We know the challenges of traveling with children. Our experience will help make your trip less stressful and hopefully more enjoyable, so that you can focus on what is important to you ... your family ... your vacation.