When on the road, staying in a hotel is a great option for young families but it’s essential to check the safe sleeping conditions for your baby before even making the reservation. While hotel cribs are the most convenient option, this route should be your last resort if anything. Even if you were to ask for the crib model to see what you can expect during your stay, hotel cribs tend to be old and violate many safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. To sum up hotel crib mattress hygiene and safety in one word: YUCK. Mildew, mold, or bacteria from previous babies could pose a respiratory hazard to your little one.
It’s best to bring your own crib supplies not only because it puts you at ease knowing that your child will be safe throughout the night, but it also will serve as a comforting reminder of home for them. Portable cribs and play yards are two great options to consider when you’re preparing your family for a vacation. If you are bringing along a portable crib, current safety standards must apply. The spacing between slats shouldn’t be wider than 2 3/8 inches apart and none of the slats or spindles should be loose, missing, or splintering. Be sure that the crib’s headboard and footboard doesn’t include a cutout design in any way as this provides a space for your infant to become entrapped.
Whether your portable crib comes with a mattress or not, it’s important to check to make sure that this item is firm and fits snugly within the crib’s frame and that you can’t fit more than two adult fingers between the mattress and the crib. In addition, numerous crib safety and SIDS prevention sites have found that the chemicals used in crib mattress flame retardants are extremely harmful to the child. It’s strongly recommended that parents look into a BabeSafe mattress cover that will ensure their baby is sleeping on a mattress that is free from phosphorus, arsenic, and antimony elements used in mattress flame retardants today. BabeSafe instructs that a pure cotton “underblanket” needs to be used over the mattress cover and tucked snugly around the mattress before the crib is made up properly with a tight fitting, breathable sheet and blanket.
If you plan on using a play yard with a bassinet attachment during your travels, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s assembly instructions very carefully and only use the firm, one inch thick pad that is provided. Adding additional mattresses or plush bedding may pose a threat to your child’s life as they can easily suffocate when turning onto their stomachs to sleep. Most play yard bassinets run the length of this portable sleeping option and should be free from any thick blankets, bedding, or stuffed animals. Just as in standard baby cribs, placing your child in the bassinet on their back is the safest sleeping option.
Consumer Reports recommends that if the play yard model you have includes a changing table, keep any restraint straps out of your baby’s reach to prevent a strangulation hazard. If these can be detached, that’s even better. Your play yard’s sides should be constructed of mesh holes that are smaller than ¼ inch and never use a model where this material is frayed, punctured, or tearing in any way. Most importantly, be sure to read the owner’s manual on all portable crib and play yard models as this will provide you with baby age, height, and weight restrictions and give you an idea of when your child has outgrown these temporary sleeping arrangements during your family vacations.
One of the biggest advantages to bringing your own portable crib is that it looks, smells, and feels comfortable and familiar to baby. If baby’s able to sleep soundly, you’ll be more apt to enjoy your time away.
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