You’re packing for your family road trip — what baby/little tyke gear should you include? While it’s tempting to take everything under the sun, be practical first and check the amount of space you have in your vehicle. Then you can gather what you want to take. I recommend making an essentials pile, and then a wishlist pile. Once you’ve got everything, then see what you can fit and what you may have to leave behind. Questions to answer are;
Where is your child going to sleep?
Is there a safe place for them to play?
Where is a safe place for them to eat?
Will you need a stroller?
Where’s Baby Sleeping? Can they play there too? If you have a baby or toddler that usually sleeps in a crib, you have to make sure you take something for them to (or arrange to have something at your location). While a hotel portable crib (usually a smaller version of a crib) may be fine and clean, but a hotel may supply a playard instead. Call first and find out what’s available, because if you are driving anyway, bringing your own playard for them to sleep in. It will be much cleaner and you know what you are getting. I’ve stayed in places (even recently) that the playard provided was dirty and stained and I cringed putting my precious baby in it. Since playard sheets are small, make sure you pack at least two (in case one gets soiled). A playard can also be great to provide a safe play environment so you can take a shower and get ready for the day. It’s kind of hard to blow dry your hair and get your older kids dressed when the baby is cruising towards the sharp coffee table in the hotel room!
Spotlight on the Room Ultralight Playard
Joovy offers the Room Playard line – with the Room2, Room, and the new Room2 Ultralight. If you’ve got an older baby or young toddler and looking for the perfect lightweight playard to take on your trip, the Room² Ultralight is for you! Just like the Room2 and the Room, our Room² Ultralight unfolds and sets up super quick, comes with a cotton sheet that can be easily secured to the playard (there are tabs that secure it to the mattress, which is then secured to the bottom of the playard for safety). The Room² Ultralight is 30% lighter than the Room2 and almost as much space as the Room2 (9 square feet versus the Room2′s 10 feet). Toss in a few soft toys when your child wants to play and take them out when she wants to sleep or nap. Because the Room line’s side rails are tapered, it makes it difficult to climb out of and it’s stable). The Ultralight’s floor is lower to the ground (the ground is used as its floorboard, which also lowers the weight and increases stability). The mattress is memory foam and the cotton sheet is so thick and soft (have you felt the other companies’ sheets? So uncomfortable!). The Ultralight can be folded in half up during the day if you need more room (or folded up completely and stored in its travel bag). It’s got one solid 600 denier fabric side panel instead of mesh on one side, which acts as a protective barrier against wind, light and noise on one side it (great if you are in the room with your child and they are trying to nap).
What’s Baby Going to Ride in? If you’ve got a young child, a lighter weight stroller is going to make your life easier on your road trip. But you have to still make sure your child is comfy and if you are going to sunnier climes, that your sunshade is large. You’ll also want something that folds up compactly and quickly (and also have some storage for those days out). Here a Joovy, we’ve got you covered — and we recommend one of our lighter strollers, like the Scooter or the Kooper or Groove strollers.
Spotlight on the Groove Stroller
The brand new, techy looking Groove, which retails around $199, is under 18 lbs and perfect for the child who want to relax in it (with a one handed, multi position recline, it’s super comfortable for napping). Your child will love the mesh pockets on each side of the seat — perfect for stashing little treasures. You can put your own drink in the canopy (just make sure it’s not too hot). The basket is large and can hold a lot. If you are going somewhere really sunny, you can’t beat the Groove’s sunshade (it’s huge). It’s also a stroller that your older child can ride in (weight range goes up to 55 lbs). Plus, it has excellent steering, suspension and maneuverability.
Where’s Baby Going to Eat? You want to take something that’s compact and will make sure baby’s still in the middle of the action. Even if you have the smallest possible folding high chair, you may not want to pack it (you’ve still got to fit so much other stuff!). So consider a hook on high chair – they take up a very small amount of space and most of the time, you can fit it in your diaper bag.
Spotlight on the Hook Portable Hook On Chair
The Joovy Hook is the only deluxe leatherette fabric hook-on chair on the market. The Hook’s anodized aluminum frame not only looks great, it’s super lightweight and strong. The patented folding mechanism utilizes die-cast aluminum components to support a child up to 37 lbs. The Hook requires no assembly or disassembly. Folding and unfolding this portable seat is easy; just push the buttons and fold the arms. The durable, comfortable leatherette seat has an adjustable 3-point harness and is 10.5 inches deep to provide more stability and room for the child. Just like the ultra-high-end highchairs on the market today, the Hook’s leatherette fabric is easy to wipe clean and doesn’t sacrifice comfort for cleanliness. It fits most tables from 1 to 2 inches. The arms have non-slip rubber grip pads to protect tables. The Hook includes a 600D zippered travel bag with an adjustable shoulder strap. The Hook is very compact and fits in most diaper bags. The Joovy Hook measures 15.25 x 13 x 5 and weighs 5 lbs.
What Joovy product do you take on family trips?
Contributed by Nancy Johnson Horn