Today’s grandparents need a lot more equipment to babysit than they ever did before. Baby gear is safer and higher tech—and often expensive, which is why you might consider renting some items. Here’s a rundown of the best baby gear you’ll want to have on hand…
FOR SLEEP TIME
Full-size crib: When baby sleeps better, everyone sleeps better. Best crib: Dream on Me (DreamOnMe.com) fullsize, foldable crib. $242. Best mattress: Colgate Mattresses (ColgateKids.com), $130 and up. Any of Colgate’s firm mattresses will do, but foam mattresses are easier at sheet-changing time. You’ll also need a mattress pad and a fitted sheet.
Caution: Don’t put bumpers, blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in the crib with baby. For safety, “bare is best.” You can rent a crib, mattress, pad and sheet for about $15 to $24/day, with set-up and retrieval.*
Bassinet: The Snoo Smart Sleeper Bassinet is a “smart” bassinet that automatically responds to baby’s fussing with soothing sound and motion. But it’s expensive to buy ($1,595, HappiestBaby.com), so consider renting it ($149/month from the company or about $18 to $37/day through BabyQuip) or buying it used ($600 to $1,000 recently on Facebook Marketplace).
Bouncy seat: A bouncy seat gives you a place to put the baby so you can take a break. Recommended: Fisher-Price Baby’s Bouncer Geo Meadow (Fisher- Price.com). To buy: $29.99. To rent: $4/day.
Car seat: An ideal car seat is a “one and done” that accommodates infants starting at four or five pounds to kids up to 110 or 120 pounds. To be safe: Google the name of the car seat you buy or rent, and watch the video of installation instructions. Recommended: Graco 4Ever, Graco Grows4Me (GracoBaby.com) or Britax One4Life (Britax.com). To buy: $250 to $300. To rent: $10 to $12/day.
Stroller: It’s convenient if grandparents have their own stroller so your adult children don’t have to lug theirs from home. Recommended: Graco strollers (GracoBaby.com). Their technology makes them quick and easy to fold. To buy: $75 to $370. To rent: $10 to $22/day.
Foldable high chair that can be put away between visits is ideal for grandparents. Recommended: Joovy (Joovy.com) and Graco (GracoBaby.com). To buy: $50 to $250. To rent: $6/day.
FOR TODDLER SAFETY
Baby gate: Use a pressure-mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs but not at the top—toddlers can push them out of position and get hurt. Recommended: North States Supergate (NorthStatesInd.com). To buy: $39. To rent: $4/day.
For the top of stairs, install a hardware- mounted gate that requires drilling into the woodwork. Best: Spectrum Designer Baby Gate (QdosSafety.com). To buy: $160 to $180. BabyQuip does not rent hardware-mounted gates.