2018 Safe Family Travel Report

Parents Want Safety Help When Traveling

As the summer family travel season kicks off, Babierge 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! Approximately 98 million US and Canadian families will travel in 2018.* Many have already booked accommodations and carefully considered the beaches, museums, and attractions that will lead to a memorable family getaway this summer. Hotels and vacation rentals are gearing up for what promises to be a busy summer vacation season, and grandparents are greatly anticipating actual face time with their grandchildren as they finally see their smiles beyond a computer or phone screen.

With so many travel details to coordinate, safe sleep and play for their young children at the family travel destination may not always be top-of-mind for many parents. However, this research indicates parents do care deeply about travel safety and they want the travel industry,  and even their own parents who may be hosting them for visits, to offer gear and other resources that provide safer sleep and play options for their children.

 

Cribs are key.

Sixty-eight 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.

 

What else keeps our little ones safe when traveling?

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/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 all at Babierge: Only twenty percent of parents were aware they can rent baby equipment when traveling!

 

For more information about this report, please contact trish@babierge.com

Download infographics here.

 

 

*Based on a 2018 survey on Millennial American family travel by the American Automobile Association and a 2017 survey of Canadian travel trends by Skyscanner.ca.

Babierge Talks Safe Baby Travel with First Candle’s Alison Jacobson

Learn About our New Baby Gear Rental Safety Policy

Babierge takes safety seriously. From the beginning, we’ve had important safety standards in place, including mandatory gear safety and cleaning training for new Trusted Partners (TPs) and providing customers with the manufacturer’s instruction manuals for safety-related gear like car seats.  We don’t rent cribs with a side that lowers. When items are returned, we carefully inspect and clean them before they go back into inventory storage. We mail in a registration card or go online to register the products we purchase for our inventory so we can easily be notified in the event of a product recall. We also check products against recall lists and monitor those lists on an ongoing basis.

 

Room sharing without bed sharing

Sadly, we learned that one of our Trusted Partner’s friends lost a child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  While perusing our social media, she saw a post that was not aligned with the recommendations of SIDS organizations.  We then learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends that cribs be bare without blankets, pillows or even a mesh bumper–an item we were renting.   We realized that we could do more to improve our safety policies and set a standard for the baby gear rental industry.

 

Consequently, we quickly dug deep, learning everything we could about baby gear in relation to SIDS safety guidelines. In less than 48 hours, we removed images and content in our social media that was not aligned with AAP recommendations or guidelines from leading SIDS organizations.

Then, we introduced a Comprehensive Safety Program, requiring all TPs to be in full compliance with this policy and subsequently inspected each Babierge site. In addition to mandatory gear safety training, registering baby gear and providing customers with instruction manuals, our new safety policy requires each TP to Not offer certain products for rent, including:

  • Blankets for cribs;
  • Extra mattresses for Pack ‘N Plays;
  • Bumpers of any kind or products to be used in the crib, such as wedges or sleep positioners, as per the AAP’s safe sleep policy;
  • Car seat protectors;
  • Teething guards;
  • Dock-a-Tots or similar sleep products.

 

 

Opt for a wearable blanket like a Halo Sleep Sack

Our new safety policy also requires 100% image compliance. We don’t allow images of cribs, or other gear in which a baby sleeps, to contain soft bedding, blankets, bumpers, pillows or soft toys on the site or on Babierge social media channels.

Finally, we looked at messaging in relation to our gear and made some safety reminder messaging mandatory. For example, copy for rental bed rails must say: “Portable bed rails should not be used with infants.” We also warn customers that “pressure-mounted gates are not approved by the manufacturer for placing at the top of stairs.” As we know, only hardware-mounted gates should be used there. It’s important to acknowledge how quickly Babierge TPs made these changes. Everyone wants to get this right.  

 

To keep the safety ball rolling, I chatted with Alison Jacobson, the CEO/executive director of First Candle, a leading national nonprofit committed to eliminating Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related infant deaths, about our safety program and what else we could do to ultimately help families keep their babies safe when they travel.

 

Alison’s first child, Connor, died of SIDS in 1997, when he was four months old. We understand how deeply infant safety issues resonate with her, and with parents worldwide. In addition to her role at First Candle, she is also known as the “The Safety Mom.” Here’s what Alison has to say about our new safety policy—and more!

 

Q: What do you think about Babierge’s policy and campaign? Is there any way we could further improve it?

A: You’re off to a good start. But I would add a couple of things to Babierge’s safety policy: In addition to not renting blankets, include pillows too. I would also stress that only the fitted sheet that’s made for the Pack ‘N Play should be used. If a sheet becomes loose, it’s a hazard.

 

In addition to the bed rail copy, it would be great to remind parents, whenever possible, that infants should never be placed in a bed. For customers, you want to have everything spelled out. Social media is a great place to promote this message and everyone appreciates when brands and organizations do so.

 

Q: What are the most important things traveling families need to keep in mind in terms of SIDS prevention?

A: Over the years, the SIDS’ rate has gone down, which is great. But the infant mortality rate hasn’t. What’s happening? Accidental suffocation is on the rise. You can reduce the risk of SIDS, but there’s no 100% way to prevent it. But you can 100% prevent accidental suffocation. It’s something parents and grandparents need to hear. It’s an empowering message. There are steps you can take to save your baby’s life.

To reduce the risk of SIDS and prevent suffocation, traveling parents need to make sure their baby is in a safe sleep environment. In a new surrounding or if they haven’t rented a crib or Pack ‘N Play, there’s a tendency to bring the baby into bed. To prevent accidental suffocation, you don’t want that baby in bed with you. Don’t let your baby sleep overnight in a stroller either. It’s not safe. Move him to a crib.

Q: Our TPs recently had a question about Rock and Play sleepers. Does First Candle have an opinion about these type of sleep products? Are they appropriate for overnight sleep?

A: The only safe environment for a baby to sleep is alone, in a crib, bassinet or portable crib on a firm, flat surface with a tight fitted sheet and no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or bumpers.  Opt for a wearable blanket like a Halo Sleep Sack.

 

Q: Babierge works with a lot of hotels and vacation rental companies. What role can these companies play regarding SIDS prevention/safe sleep options when accommodating traveling families?

A: If hotels and vacation rental companies provide Pack ‘N Plays and cribs, I would love them to provide safe sleep language with these products, including:

  • Always place baby on back for every sleep time
  • Use a firm sleep surface covered with a fitted sheet
  • Room sharing without bed sharing
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of baby’s sleep area
  • Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime
  • Avoid overheating
  • Do not use home breathing and heart monitors to reduce SIDS
  • Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce SIDS

Again, have everything spelled out.

 

Put babies to sleep on their back

Q: What about grandparents? Are there common safety mistakes grandparents make with baby’s sleep environment? How can Babierge TPs work with grandparents to make sure these customers use baby products safely?

A: Talk to grandparents about why you don’t rent crib bumpers, that a safe crib environment is bare. You also want to talk to them about putting babies to sleep on their backs, not on their tummies or their sides, and to not place babies to sleep on a soft surface, like the sofa. One of the biggest arguments people have for why they place babies on their stomach is they’re afraid of them aspirating. But babies are more likely to choke when they’re on their stomach. It’s the opposite of what most people think.

 

Q: In addition to renting the safest baby products and avoiding those that aren’t safe, what else can Babierge do to help keep babies safe, in general, when customers rent baby gear?

A: This is more the Safety Mom talking, but encourage your customers to rent baby gates. If they’re going to visit grandma or grandpa, a rental home or a family with no kids, baby gates are an easy way to make unsafe areas off limits, such as the area near the china cabinet, the kitchen when you’re cooking, the big screen TV, the home office or the home gym. Use a pressure mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs and between rooms to keep babies out of there. Caution customers to never use a pressure mounted gate at the top of the stairs.

 

Also, if your friends or grandma or grandpa has a dog, encourage your customers to use a gate to keep your baby away from the dog’s food. We’ve unfortunately seen bites from the most docile dogs who become territorial when baby gets near their food.

 

Q: Last question: Have any other baby gear rental companies reached out to First Candle?

A: No! It’s surprising. You’re the first.

Memorial Day is the Official Kickoff to Summer — Enjoy it!

When you feel the warm breeze on your face, hear the song birds chirping and the smell of the sizzling grill tickles your nose, you know it’s going to be a great Memorial Day weekend. You’ve probably got the basics already planned but we’ve got a few unique suggestions to make your Memorial Day unforgettable.

 

Play at the beach

‘Tis the season for bare feet, salty hair, and cooling waves. Be sure to pack some beach balls and shovels too for your kiddos to play by the water. With no school (yay!) and early summer breezes, packing up the beach bag can lead to some lasting  Memorial Day memories.   Traveling for the holiday? Pack light and rent a Beach Fun Package. Better yet, have the family try their hands in Bocce Ball, a simple game for the whole family to play — learn what you need and how to play here.

 

Spectate your local event in style

 

 

Local events such as block parties, barbecues, fairs, amusement park celebrations and parades will  be in full swing this Memorial Day weekend. Want to attend but travelling with little ones who may not last through a day-long event? Rent gear that keeps them comfy all day long, like this Amusement Park Package. It  includes a stroller or wagon, bug spray, sunscreen and even a fan to keep your little one cool as a Memorial Day cucumber.  A stroller is a must-have item to extend your day, and your fun, and give your kiddos first-class seats at any spectating event.

 

Prepare a family picnic for a day at the park

With a simple trip to the grocery store, a checkered blanket and the basket lying around in the garage, you can get the whole family to make sandwiches and drinks for a day at the park. Break out the containers and cooler for egg salad, lemonade and all your go-to summertime favorites. Don’t know where to start? Whole Foods has some prep tips and recipes to help get you off the ground running.

 

Go fruit picking at a nearby farm

Kids are berry picking machines! A PYO adventure will definitely result in huge smiles, lots of giggles and adorable berry stained fingers. Be sure to have the camera ready, this will be a great photo op! Cherries, strawberries and blueberries are growing all over local family farms, ready to be your family’s next healthy summer snack! Supporting local agriculture is just an extra plus to skipping the grocery store and getting delicious, fresh fruit right at the source. Head over here to find a pick-your-own farm in your area.

 

How are you spending Memorial Day? Tell us your plans for additional inspo in the comments below!

CEO Fran Maier Announces Babierge Funding!

I’m thrilled to share this VentureBeat article out today announcing that we have closed a $1.3M Seed Investment funding round. The new investors were impressed with how Babierge has emerged as the only national brand in this space as evidenced by the rapid growth of our Trusted Partner community to 220 and our expansion to nearly every state and over 170 markets. And we did this before our 2nd birthday!

I have always been super impressed with how hard our Trusted Partners work to serve our customers and their dedication to delivering clean and safe gear on time and with a smile. I’d like to give a special call out to Trusted Partners that have been with us from that first summer: Kathleen Chaput and Meredith MacNeill, Laura Espino, Blair Gross, Laura Herndon, Joe and Debra Moreno, and Lindsey Meyer and Sarah Huff. Thanks to all of the other Trusted Partners too: You have made a difference to our company, community, and to our customers’ lives.

I also want to recognize the HQ staff, starting with Trish McDermott, VP Communications, and Andreas Stenzel, VP Demand Generation and Business Development. I invited them to join Babierge in that first summer and for many months they worked for only equity or a pittance of a salary as we pursued funding. I’m so pleased that they are now applying their talents to Babierge full time. More recent hires, such as Joe Maier and Nicole Kitzman, as well as Adam Heymann and Ana Vela, have really immersed themselves into the nuts and bolts (or digits!) of this business and I look forward to continued contributions!

We have big plans for the funding:

  • Open new markets and recruit more Trusted Partners
  • Support current and new markets with unsurpassed marketing and lead generation
  • Improve our technology platform and enhance our mobile experience
  • Train and develop our Trusted Partners for increased impact
  • Pursue new distribution and other partnerships
  • Add needed expertise to our team (some of whom who are already from our TP Community!)

We are also super excited about owning the two leading baby equipment rental directories, now with Rent-Baby-Gear.com. This will support both lead generation for our Trusted Partner community and help us recruit more Trusted Partners and expand into additional markets.

The market for baby gear rental is massive and heretofore underserved. We know that parents and grandparents alike are looking for a relaxing vacation with their friends and families and that Babierge is allowing them to “Pack Light and Travel Far.” The reviews and ratings that our Trusted Partners receive, with so many saying that Babierge “Saved the Vacation,” or “Came to the Rescue,” are testaments to the quality service and gear we are providing.

We also know that many of our Trusted Partners are enjoying gratifying work and bringing home income that makes a difference to them and their families. We are proud to be part of their lives and hope to continue helping them succeed as they become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Spring Cleaning Baby Gear Storage Tips – Earth Day Baby Blog #3

Are you constantly assaulted by toy mines waiting to attack your feet at any moment as you meander through your own home?

Veteran TP Bethany Baker has a patented storage system that will both protect your soles, and teach your children about organization and tidiness.

  1. Yes Pile, No Pile – First minimize by getting rid of anything you or your children don’t use or doesn’t bring you joy.
    • *Protip: If you are struggling to get rid of something for sentimental reasons take a picture of it. That way you can save it without it taking up any space.
  2. Sort it Out – Sort the stuff you’re keeping by item size so you know how much of each category and you can get the right sized container.
  3. Store it Well – Store smaller things in containers that stack securely on top of each other, or the green option: diaper boxes. They’re free and the boxes are smaller and easier to move around in storage.
  4. Clean it – It’s important to make sure everything is clean before you store it. We like Babyganics brand or similar organic cleaners for sanitizing toys and soft items.
  5. Have a System – Clear tubs you can see into without opening are great, but color coordinating categories with colored tubs is preferable for others.
  6. Document it – Label the tubs with a general category and then list the contents. For example, “Craft Supplies: paper, cutting utensils, adhesives, ribbon, stickers, popsicle sticks.”

Babierge’s Spring Cleaning Fun – Earth Day Tips and Activities

In honor of our beautiful planet and the wonderful experiences and people it provides us, here are 5 blogs that offer some great ways to lend a hand in keeping the Earth healthy, all while having fun with your kiddos improving your home.

From Babierge to you, have a wonderful Earth Day, Arbor Day, and Spring 2018!

Ingenious Ways to Reuse Baby Gear

Baby clothes, blankets, toys, potty trainers, cribs – parents can extend the shelf lives of all these items by creatively repurposing them into all kinds of things: book shelves, porch benches, plant feeders, and new stuffed animals. These projects will have your old baby gear working for you instead of sitting in a dumpster.

  • Clothes into Companions – There are so many different items you can make with your baby’s old clothes and blankets. Rather than donating them, you can always consider creating a new stuffed animal, quilt, pillow, or headband for your baby.
  • Cribs into Porch Benches – Got an old or broken crib? You can turn that into a beautiful porch bench, with very little work or skill required.
  • Toys into Treasure – Reusing toys is just a matter of imagination and creativity. Have extra trucks lying around? They can be used as planters for flowers and succulents in your garden. Or, grab a 2×4 piece of wood and superglue toy figures on to create a coat hanger your kids will love.
  • Gear into Cash – If you have extra quality baby gear in excellent condition lying around and want to make some extra income, Babierge awaits. Babierge helps you start your own baby gear rental business renting out cribs, car seats, highchairs, toys and more to traveling families.
  • Make it a Contribution – Watch what gets played with and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t get played with then it becomes donation material.

Organic and Green Products for Baby

Often times green products are not just healthy for Mother Nature, they’re also healthier for our bodies. When it comes to baby products this is especially true. Babies grow rapidly and each thing they interact with has the potential to affect their health, for better or worse. Here are some basic starting points to keep your baby healthy and happy with environmentally friendly products.

  • Teething – The American Association of Pediatricians policy states that any teething toy or pacifier your baby uses should be BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
  • Bath Time – Newborns only need a sponge bath and rinse with warm water. Once a baby is a couple months old green products are a great choice as they are free of chemicals that can irritate skin.
  • Crib Sheets – Newborns sleep more than half a day on average, so a healthy sleeping place is important. Consider organic cotton sheets that are soft, chemical free, and most importantly, cozy. How you launder is important – an all-clear detergent, no perfumes/dyes.
  • Bottles – The bottles humans drink from are surprisingly impactful. Even when bottles are certified BPA free, they can give off other harmful chemicals. For babies and mommies, glass bottles and high-quality, green baby bottles are safest.

Spring Cleaning Baby Gear Storage Tips

Are you constantly assaulted by toy mines waiting to attack your feet at any moment as you meander through your own home? Veteran TP Bethany Baker has a patented organization system that will both protect your soles, and teach your children about organization and tidiness.

  1. Yes Pile, No Pile – First minimize by getting rid of anything you or your children don’t use or doesn’t bring you joy.
    • *Protip: If you are struggling to get rid of something for sentimental reasons take a picture of it. That way you can save it without it taking up any space.
  2. Sort it Out – Sort the stuff you’re keeping by item size so you know how much of each category and you can get the right sized container.
  3. Store it Well – Store smaller things in containers that stack securely on top of each other, or the green option: diaper boxes. It’s free and the boxes are smaller and easier to move around.
  4. Clean it – It’s important to make sure everything is clean before you store it. We like Babyganics brand or similar organic cleaners for sanitizing toys and soft items.
  5. Have a System – Clear tubs you can see into without opening are great, but color coordinating categories with colored tubs is preferable for others.
  6. Document it – Label the tubs with a general category and then list the contents. For example, “Craft Supplies: paper, cutting utensils, adhesives, ribbon, stickers, popsicle sticks.”

Join the Green Rental Movement

Aside from offering cash saving solutions to classic consumer issues, the emerging sharing economy is also quite green in nature. Owning less stuff = less garbage later. Below are some great ways to leverage the sharing economy to save some money and reduce your family’s environmental footprint.

  • Easy One-Offs – Need a jogging stroller for a mommy & baby run? Taking the family on a hike? Don’t buy gear that will spend of its time on a shelf. Save money, and the planet, by renting gear you will seldom use.
  • Upgrade Your Celebration – If you’re hosting fifteen or twenty children for a birthday party and need extra trains, toys, games or even a complete soft play zone, stay green and reduce your carbon footprint by renting gear instead of purchasing new.
  • Try Before You Buy – Before you purchase that expensive jogging stroller, only to find it’s a challenge to get it in and out of your car and, as a result, doesn’t get much use, rent it for a few days to make sure it’s right for you.
  • Use it or Lose it – Babies age out of some gear rather quickly. Consider renting equipment, like infant swings, that have a short shelf life but a high sticker price.

Earth Day Garden Projects With Children

Earth day is all about enjoying the world we inhabit and showing it our love and respect. What better way to honor the world than to contribute to it with the ones you love and show them how wonderfully beautiful it is? Here are some great garden projects to share your appreciation of the earth with your children.

  • Start from Scratch – A superb way to introduce gardening to your children is the bucket garden experiment. Just give each child three things: A big bucket, lots of happy soil, and seeds from their favorite plants and flowers. Put it all together and add water!
  • From Plaything to Flower Pot – Old RC cars, stacking toys, aquariums, and whatever else the imagination comes up with can become a plant feeder. Why buy another flower pot when you have an old potty chair?
  • Plant a Pizza Garden – Create some excitement with a garden that comes with a pizza guarantee – kids are more willing to plant tomatoes, onions, peppers, and other veggies they love on their ‘zza.
  • Use it then Reuse it – There’s great lesson in conservation and creativity in saving all the water bottles you produce this month and turning them into nifty hanging tomato planters.
  • Bring in the Butterflies – If your children enjoy butterflies, hummingbirds, or ladybugs, you can plant plants that entice these beautiful creatures.

Babierge Hitches a Ride with the Fourie Family

Start with one baby. Add a two-year old and a pre-teen boy. Two teenage girls. Last, mom and dad. Bake that for 7 months, 7 states, 3 countries, and 2,500 miles worth of travel distance and you get the Fourie Family.

Anyone can relate to the amount of preparation and effort the Fourie Fam puts into their trips, journey after journey. It’s all worth it though as mom and dad, Louise and Claude Fourie, have always believed in the benefits of exploration. “There is no better education than sharing this vast and beautiful world and all it has to offer with our children,” says Louise.

When Babierge caught wind of the Fourie Family’s epic travels we had to connect and see if we could come along for the ride. Just our luck, the family obliged and we hooked them up on their recent 4 month journey from Orlando to Arizona with strollers, car seats, toys, and much more.  

“Last year we spent 5 months in the States traveling from Florida to Colorado. For that journey we needed a huge car to take all our stuff and our youngest baby wasn’t even born yet. When I think of how easy this journey has been and how we simply could not have managed without Babierge it makes me feel quite silly that we didn’t think of Babierge much sooner in our travel adventures! Plus, it was so fun getting to meet Babierge Trusted Partners who were very friendly and quite helpful with tips and travel hints for each area. ”

Showing the Fourie Fam how Babierge takes the stress out of family vacations was a pleasure, as partners in Orlando and San Antonio met the Family at the airport and other accommodations with car seats, strollers, toys, and other vital gear. We were happy to catch Louise on her return home in late January to hear about the latest trip, and collect some special family travel tips from these veteran travelers.

 

  1. Has the Fam really been on the road for 7 months?

We travelled for 5 months in 2016 and then embarked on our Going West Road Trip in December 2017 starting off in Orlando, Florida, driving across the southern States of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally ending up in Las Vegas, Nevada. All in all we travelled over 2500 miles. We’re a travelling family so we spend a fair amount of time in the air or on the road.

  1. What was your favorite stop?

It’s been hard for us all to agree on a favorite destination. We’ve been travelling with the kids’ grandparents (Claude’s parents) and Claude’s dad is obsessed with cowboys and so naturally he loved the cowboy town of Tombstone, Arizona. My bucket-list destination was my favorite – the Grand Canyon. Claude loved a personalized wine tour in Sedona. Most of our kids love Orlando and all the kiddie entertainment and parks there.

  1. Funniest experience?

Late one night we decided to go take a dip in the hot tub at our resort in Orlando. When we got there we were disappointed to see two ladies already in the tub. But a few seconds later we saw a furry creature emerge from the bushes behind the tub and walk right up to the women. When the two ladies turned and saw it they shrieked, shot up, and bolted out of the tub screaming! After thanking the raccoon for his services we enjoyed the hot tub all to ourselves.

  1. Coolest experience?

Probably one of the coolest experiences we enjoyed this trip was racing sports cars in Las Vegas. We got to Drift Race in uber fast cars with a company called Dream Racing on a proper Racetrack – it has got to be one of the coolest experiences I ever had!

  1. What do the kids miss most about home?

Our kids are quite used to being away from home as we travel a lot, but if there’s one thing they miss the most about home it’s probably their own toys and games. It’s hard traveling with Xboxes, bicycles and skateboards but luckily they haven’t missed their toys too much as Babierge has supplied us with fun toys and games along our journey.

  1. Where is the Fourie Fam heading next?

After the States we head back to Italy for a spell and then hit the road again in a few months! We have a few European destinations and then we’ll be back in the USA to explore more of your beautiful country.

  1. Any thoughts about what else a family like theirs might need to rent (beyond baby gear, or gear we aren’t renting)? What do you wish you also had on your journey?

Babierge really did supply everything we needed to make this journey stress free and easy! I know our teenage kids would have loved some Video Games. We like the kids to fully experience the destinations we visit but quite often there’s nothing to do on a rainy day and some video games would go down really well with them – like an Xbox or Playstation.

  1. What types of things are their kids learning on these trips?

Our kids are well travelled. In fact our oldest daughter learnt to walk at an airport in Namibia. JP our 2 year old learnt to walk before flying out of Las Vegas. Besides learning to walk, our kids have discovered amazing things and learnt life skills that they would not have picked up in school or from the tv. Travelling is very much experiential learning which tends to cement certain facts and information a lot more permanently in the mind than some books do.

We believe strongly in learning from other cultures, we try to immerse ourselves as much as possible in every experience. On a recent trip to South Africa our children got to spend a day with traditional Zulu people. We ate Mopani worms and ground Maze into flour. Pierre learned to stick fight and Bali carried pots on her head. We learnt how we live is not how everyone else lives. It opens your eyes to how beautiful, different and sometimes difficult other people’s lives are.

  1. Are your children homeschooled?

When we’re on the road our kids participate in an American Home Schooling program that keeps them up to date with international studies. They also continue with their Italian schooling online with the help of their teachers back home who understand our lifestyle. Our children are bilingual and we hope to further increase their language skills.

  1. What was their favorite Babierge item during the trip?

Although the strollers were probably used the most I’ve got to say the kids probably enjoyed the toy packs the most as these kept them entertained the entire time. A new toy pack in every new destination? Just like Christmas!

Keep up with the Fourie Family and their wild adventures on Facebook and their YouTube channel!

Babierge Above and Beyond Trusted Partner Award March, 2018 – Bethany Baker

Isn’t it great when good things happen to even better people? Well that’s what happened this month for our March Above and Beyond award winner Bethany Baker! This Atlanta Trusted Partner and mom of two adorable littles is being recognized for her steadfast honesty, authentic attitude, and constant positive contributions to Babierge’s Trusted Partner community. She also just happened to luck out and win our Trusted Partner referral raffle prize of $500!

So wonderful to see the stars align for Bethany, a major collaborator and source of support for the other Babierge Trusted Partners. She attends virtually every TP bi-monthly meeting, and according to another Trusted Partner “always shares helpful things, she’s honest and down to earth, and she’s successful.” Bethany truly cares about the Babierge community and helping all the Babierge TP’s succeed. If a partner has an issue, Bethany always chimes in with an uplifting, positive outlook, as she approaches all obstacles with a tough mama, can-do attitude. We appreciate all she does to provide love, support, and understanding to our community.

Clearly Bethany’s customers, like Monisha from Newhall, CA, appreciate her for these same qualities:

“I called Babierge today to reserve a car seat for my almost three-year old. A cheery voice greeted me on the phone. It was Bethany. Though she typically doesn’t deliver to the Buford area, she was willing to make the long drive to “make it happen”! She was polite and reassuring and so very patient as I filled out the reservation information. Though we had to change our plans, I was left with such a lovely experience. I wish this type of customer service was the rule. Sadly, it’s the exception. Bethany is the exception. You can bet that the next time we travel to ATL, and if we need to rent baby gear, she will be the first phone call I make. Thank you, Bethany, for being an exception to the rule!”

Find out why friends, colleagues, and customers are raving about Bethany and let her supply your family with premium car seats, strollers, cribs, and more when you visit Atlanta, Georgia.  

The Best Winter Getaways for You and Your Baby

February in North America is a prime moment to enjoy the snow – just in time to say goodbye to rough temperatures, while still being able to enjoy fresh powder soon to be rain. We checked in with Babierge Trusted Partners across the country to see what fun times are happening in their areas, and get some ideas for local kid-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and attractions for your family to enjoy the end of Winter.

Jessica Beemsterboer – Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is the perfect winter mix of small town fun and mountain town sporting opportunities.

See: For playing in the snow, some beautiful walks, and sledding, try out Nichols Arboretum. The Hands On Museum is downtown and tons of fun, perfect for indoor play. It even has a great room just for 5 year olds and below, and a baby area too.

Eat: Zingerman’s Deli is a must-try! Afternoon Delight and Seva are a few of our other favorites and kid-friendly.

Stay: If you want to be downtown within walking distance to some of the best restaurants in town, a few stellar hotels are the Bell Tower and The Graduate.

Insider Tip: A bit further from downtown is the new 242 Community Center with a huge indoor park-like play area, and its free!

Recommended Baby Gear: Add on our stroller or infant carrier covers to keep the little ones warm while you’re out and about.

 

Patricia Stacer – Grand Rapids, Michigan

West Michigan always has so much to see and do, even in the winter!

See: Bring the kids to see dragons, unicorns, and mermaids! Get some hands on learning and take a ride on a 1928 Spillman Carousel that overlooks the Grand River at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Eat: My family’s favorite restaurant happens to be in my hometown, Vault Cafe and Bakery located on Main Street in Caledonia. It’s worth the drive for some fresh baked breakfast treats or some homemade soup and sandwiches for lunch. A great place for kids and parents.

Stay: AirBnb and similar sites offer tons of affordable, fun accomodations for families visiting Grand Rapids.

Insider Tip: Vacationing on a budget? Grab the kids and head to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for Family night every Thursday. Admission is only $1.75 per person from 5pm – 8pm.

 

Caitlin Hankins – Denver, Colorado

Colorado and the Rocky Mountains provide some of the most beautiful winter views, with a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

See: Copper Mountain Resort – Located just over an hour from Denver, Copper Mountain provides everything you’d expect from a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains, plus so much more! Snow tubing, ice skating, a snow-coaster, and a special kids-only zone on the mountain are sure to entertain the entire family!

Eat: Before a day on the slopes or even just a stay in town, locals love to start their day at the Butterhorn Bakery and Cafe. Then for lunch, soak in some Rocky Mountain sunshine at one of Copper Mountain’s many restaurants right at the base of the slopes. We recommend Mahi’s Street Tacos for a quick and delicious meal to refuel the family for some afternoon adventures.

Stay: Frisco offers tons of cabin and home rentals for your stay. Use 5 Diamond Lodging, a local property management company, to find your dream mountain chalet for your stay. Only 7 minutes to Copper Mountain, they offer a free shuttle to the resort and around Frisco as well.

Insider Tip: Even though it won’t be hot during your stay, sunscreen and SPF chapstick are a must when on the mountain! The sun is much stronger at 10,000 feet, even when it is cloudy. Also remember to drink plenty of water so altitude sickness doesn’t ruin your visit!

Recommended Baby Gear: Around town or on a snowshoeing adventure, you and your child will find comfort with this backpack kid carrier, made for longer treks in the great outdoors.

 

Mircedez Falcone – Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham is a typical Pacific Northwest wonderland with great food and even better outdoor opportunities.

See: Go skiing, sledding, or snowshoeing at Mount Baker. Lift tickets are free for kids 6 and under! The third biggest mountain in Washington, Baker always has unforgettable views for its visitors.

Eat: Washington is known for its breweries. At North Fork Brewery parents can enjoy a brew while the kids enjoy the pizza.

Stay: Mt. Baker Vacation Rentals have several cabins perfect for the whole family, all close to the ski area, hiking, and the small town of Glacier, WA.

Recommended Baby Gear: To enjoy some hiking with your little ones be sure to rent the backpack carrier. It’ll keep them nice and warm while you trek through the snow.