2018 Safe Family Travel Report
by Trish McDermott
Parents Want Safety Help When Traveling
As the summer family travel season kicks off, 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! 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-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.
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 BabyQuip: Only twenty percent of parents were aware they can rent baby equipment when traveling!
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