Nov 22, 2008

Hotel Crib Safety

As the holidays approach, many of us will be staying in hotels and resorts while away from home. Before letting your child sleep in a hotel's provided crib, check out a few safety items first. In a random test performed by Safe Kids USA, 4 out of 5 cribs were deemed unsafe due to various hazards. The biggest issue is that over half the time, cribs are made up with adult sheets and bedding which can come untucked and twist around a child. Most cribs were found to be defective, damaged, or even recalled. Read more about hotel crib safety here, or better yet, rent a crib or pack n play from Sweet Pea Baby Rentals or a local baby equipment rental company in the area you're traveling to. Rental companies have your best interests at heart by regularly maintaining, sanitizing, and providing appropriate bedding for their cribs.

If you do use a hotel provided crib, here's a few items to check before putting your child to bed:
  • Is there appropriate crib-sized bedding? Consider bringing your own fitted sheet with you.
  • Is the mattress support secure? Lift up the mattress and check it out.
  • Are there any loose screws or latches?
  • Are the bars more than 2 3/8" apart? A soda can should not be able to pass through the bars.

Nov 18, 2008

World-Wide Rentals

The baby equipment rental business is a great niche with companies operating world-wide. Most were born out of moms and dads trying to fulfill a need that they encountered while traveling with their own family. Where ever you are traveling this holiday season or beyond, look up a rental company from one of these directories:

Nov 5, 2008

Strollers, strollers, strollers!

Having run Sweet Pea Baby Rentals for over a year now, I've had the opportunity to try out several different strollers. I think at last count, I actually have owned 15 different strollers! I thought I'd post a quick run down and review some of them, including the ones we currently rent.

Full Sized:

Bumbleride Flyer - A bit heavy for me but the manuverability is great. I loved the reversible handle so baby could face me or the world, and the lockable swivel front and rear wheels were nice too. Height adjustment on the handle was good and manuvering department store racks was easy with both sets of wheels in swivel mode. It came with a lot of accessories for the price too.

Chicco Cortina - A little lighter than the Flyer and a lot of similar features. No reversible handle though and no unlocking swivel real wheels. It was very comfortable for my daughter and the snack tray on the front was great. It's pretty large when folded though.

Peg Perego Aria - I know a lot of people love these strollers, but it wasn't my favorite. It was difficult to manuver with one hand and felt a little flimsy. Maybe it was the light wieght of 9 lbs, which makes it great for carrying and lifting in and out of the car. It does fold quite small too. The snack tray is nice on the front as well but the canopy is pretty small and doesn't do much for the sun.

Phil and Ted's Classic (in rental inventory now) - Have had this one for about a month now and I like it a lot. No snack tray provided and it's a little on the hefty side weight wise. It does fold pretty easily and is of reasonable size for a three-wheeled stroller. I absolutely love that it's convertible to a double stroller with the doubles kit attachment. The harness has a wide range of adjustment but the canopy could be larger. Height adjustable handle is nice to have on this entry level model as well. It pushes very easily with one hand and is smooth. The air tires keep it quiet on city sidewalks as opposed to the clunking of standard plastic stroller wheels. The lockable front swivel wheel could be suitable for light jogging as well.

Umbrella Strollers:

Chicco Capri/C6 - This was my first umbrella when my daughter was old enough to sit up alone. It served it's purpose and made many a trip to the mall. For me, the handles were a bit too short and I kicked the wheels a lot. It was unsteerable with one hand too but it was much better than the basic Cosco/Kolcraft/etc umbrellas. The recline was minimal but it was better than nothing.

Maclaren Quest (in rental inventory now) - If I had only known how much better this one was, I would have sprung for the extra $100 over the C6 a long time ago. I held off for a long time because of the cost but after the last fateful trip to the mall where my back was killing me when we got home, we picked one up on sale at our local Babies R Us, and have been loving it ever since. It's easy to manuver with one hand and the handles are tall enough that I don't kick the wheels. I selected one with a black canopy because as with most umbrellas, the wheels hit the canopy when closed and it make unremovable stains. A lot of the Maclaren's have white or light colored canopies that look pretty dirty after only a couple uses. The recline on the Quest is nice, but I find we don't use it very often. I probably would have gotten the Volo instead, had I known since that's pretty much the only difference. One last think I love is that I don't have to bend down and unhook the latch to fold it. It can all actually be done with your foot!


Baby Trend Single Jogger with swivel wheel - I purchased this one at Target and it was ok, as long as you weren't actually trying to jog. When running, the entire stroller seemed to shimmy as if a wheel was out of balance or something. I got a replacement wheel from Baby Trend and it still did the same thing. The stroller was decent for the price of $99, but not great. It folds rather large and is awkward to put in a standard sized trunk. If you're main goal is to stroll the neighborhood, not jog, and not put it in your car, then it's a good deal. Otherwise, I'd opt for something better like the Phil and Ted's or a BOB. The folding mechanism got pretty sticky after a few months and had to be regularly maintained too.

Baby Trend Double Jogger with swivel wheel - This model is only sold at Babies R Us as far as I know. It was a decent double jogger but the children tended to slide together toward the middle because of the design. It did have independent recline on each seat and was actually not that bad for weight in terms of a double stroller. I didn't have any real complaints about it but it wasn't extra fancy or anything. It was pretty easy to push one handed and the fold was not bad in terms of size.

BOB Sport Utility Stroller (in rental inventory now) - Wow! What a difference between the cheap joggers and this one. It's fixed front wheel is suitable for walking or jogging but has to be lifted off the ground to turn the stroller. It has built in suspension for the child and some adjustment to how it tracks when moving. A hand brake is a nice feature for running and the foot break is the easiest I have ever used. The flip of one single bar locks both wheels and it's acutally unlockable while wearing flip flops, so you don't have to bend down and use your hand on the dirty brake. Being in Arizona, this is an important feature where flip flops are worn year round by nearly everyone! I've nearly broken a toe on many a stroller trying to unlock the brakes. One of the best features is the huge two-stage canopy that will shield your child from the harshest of summer days here in the Valley of the Sun. It is a bit bulky when folded due to the 16" rear wheels and fixed front wheel, but if you have the space and the funds for the $299 entry price, it's a great stroller.
BOB Revolution Duallie (in rental inventory now) - Again, another WOW! This is an extremely nice double jogger with a swivel front wheel. Many of the same pluses as the review for the single are noted, along with a swivel front wheel. Once again, the canopies are amazing and it also features lay flat recline for newborns and naps, along with attachments for some popular infant car seats, snack trays, etc. A good alternative if you don't need the big 16" offroad tires, is the 12AW model which features 12" aluminum wheels, saving space and weight.

Double Strollers:

Graco Duo Glider LXI - A great tandem double stroller, compatible with many infant car seats that can be used two at a time for twins. Folding is easy and steering is as well. The drop down basket in the back is ingenious when the rear seat is reclined all the way down. Comes with adult and kids snack trays and folds to a reasonable size for transporting. A great mall cruiser or neighborhood walker.

Joovy Caboose (in rental inventory now) - A sit/stand type stroller that's very manuverable. It's a little heavy but there is a ultralight version that's been made since I purchased mine. The fabric has held up well and it's compatible with most infant car seats.