2018 Safe Family Travel Report
by Trish McDermott
Parents Want Safety Help When Traveling
As the family travel market heats up, BabyQuip introduces our first annual Safe Family Travel Report, based on survey data of US families with children age four and younger. This year’s report coincides with the company’s new safety-focused Baby Gear Rental Policy and is informed by our colleagues at First Candle, a leading national nonprofit committed to eliminating sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths.
Families love to travel, but family travel can be complicated. Already busy parents must find time to book accommodations that work for the entire family and carefully consider the beaches, mountains, museums, and other attractions that will lead to a memorable getaway. Packing can be stressful. Navigating busy airports with exhausted toddlers is often an act of courage.
With so many travel details to coordinate, safe sleep and play for their young children may not always be top-of-mind for parents. However, this research indicates parents care deeply about travel safety and they want the travel industry, and even their own parents who may be hosting them for family visits, to offer gear and other resources that provide safer sleep and play options for their children.
Cribs Are Key
Sixty-five percent of parents with children under age two believe it’s important for a hotel or vacation rental to have a full-size crib so their baby can sleep more safely, with nearly a quarter (24%) indicating it is extremely important.
What’s Not So Safe?
Sixty-nine percent of parents indicated they slept with their infant in their beds while traveling, with thirty-nine percent of parents indicating they’ve done this frequently.
This data ties into a concerning trend. From 1999 to 2015, SIDS rates have decreased 35.8 percent. However, the rate of accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed among infants has increased 183.8%, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
According to Alison Jacobson, CEO and Executive Director of First Candle, “There’s only one safe environment for a baby to sleep–that’s alone in a crib, bassinet or portable crib. Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface with a tightly fitted sheet and no blankets, bumpers, pillows or stuffed animals.
BabyQuip makes it easy to rent a crib at hundreds of US and Canadian travel destinations.
Parents Want Other Safety Gear Available
More than two thirds (70%) of parents would like to see electrical outlet covers available at hotels and vacation rentals, and more than half would like highchairs. Other top safety-related items many parents would like available include cabinet locks (43%), safety gates (41%) and bed rails ( 39%).
How Safe Is Grandma’s House?
While parents were much more likely to give their in-laws and their own parents’ homes an A (32%) or B (36%) when asked to grade these locations in terms of how safe they were for their visiting infants and toddlers, parents were more likely to award a C grade to vacation rentals (53%) and hotels (49%).
Only two percent of parents gave hotels or vacation rentals an A score. When it came to a failing grade, hotels (6%), vacation rentals (5%) and grandma’s house (2%) all received a few Fs.
Can The Travel Industry Help?
Ninety-two percent of parents would rent a “safer baby” hotel room — one equipped with baby gear to help their child sleep and play more safely — if it was available to them.
Parents want other supports available for their families when staying in hotels and vacation rentals too, including air quality monitors for carbon monoxide & radon gas (72%), information about the nearest hospital & emergency room (68%), a drinking water filtration system (46%) and information about the cleaning products used on the premises (32%).
What Did We Learn?
Wherever they stay, almost all families traveling with young children would like more help when it comes to safety. Ninety-five percent of parents surveyed want access to additional safety-related gear, information, and support from the travel industry, or from their own parents.
Far beyond the availability of cribs, parents would like an assortment of safety-related gear available to them when traveling, including high chairs, outlet covers, cabinet locks, safety gates, bed rails, doorknob covers, and infant bathtubs.
Some parents anecdotally told us they would like to see televisions and dressers bolted to walls, and rooms with fewer sharp corners or breakable decor. Clean floor space was also important. Some also suggested changing tables, sippy cups and airport shuttles with car seats.
Finally, as the leading baby gear rental service, one data point surprised us: Only twenty percent of parents were aware they can rent baby equipment when traveling. We have some work to do!
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Trish McDermott brings a lifetime of community, communications, and storytelling experience to BabyQuip. She is best known for her ten years running communications for Match.com, serving as Spokesperson and Vice President of Public Relations for the company. You may have seen her on Nightline or 60 Minutes, or Today, explaining the benefits of online dating, read about her in the New York Times, People Magazine, and MarketWatch, or in lively conversations with audiences at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, attempting to decipher the emerging culture and etiquette of online dating communities.
Having traveled solo with her four children over the years, Trish now feels eminently qualified to speak to the challenges of family travel, as well as the solutions BabyQuip and its collaborative economy of Independent Quality Providers offer. Read more about Trish’s role in launching BabyQuip in this Moneyish story.