Accommodating babies and young children

Dear hosts,

Do you think it is worth investing in a cot and bedding to accommodate guests with babies or young children?

I list my space as not suitable for children as I am worried about potential liabilities and damages. Not to mention the extra work to clean bedding. Despite this rule, I received my first request for a cot a few days ago and I politely declined. What are your views?

These are some questions I’d ask myself in this situation to help come to the right answer.

I rent out small bedrooms in my owner occupied home.

  1. Do I want to invest in just a crib (for infants/babies), just a cot (for children), or both?

  2. Is there adequate floor space in the room for the extra piece?

  3. Do I have a good place to store them when not in use?

  4. Will I charge extra for the extra bodies?

  5. Will I set up/break down and make up/strip the pieces or will the guests using them be expected to do so?

  6. Do I feel I need to offer the extra “amenitie” in order to attract the number of bookings I need?

  7. If there was a running, screaming 3 year old in the house, would other guests be disturbed?

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If you want kids, it’s probably worth the investment. Especially if you have a lot of overseas visitors who probably won’t be bringing their own.
However it sounds like you don’t really want kids? Which is totally fine of course

I have specifically opted to make my Airbnb (not my personal home) family friendly and offer amenities for children. So far I haven’t had any problems with accommodating children (such as extra mess or destroyed things) and most families seem very grateful for a family friendly space. As a traveler with a (super well behaved) child myself, I really appreciate places that accommodate kids and try to be EXTRA considerate so as not to give them a reason to think it was a bad decision to host us. I remember trying to request a place in Denver once and getting denied several times due to my 4 year old. So the pros are that you will probably open yourself to getting more bookings and the cons are you might suffer a little more damage/maintenance in the long run. You can also charge an extra guest fee to cover some of this and make a bit more money. My house is also historic and has a lot of “character”, so a few extra dings on the wall or scratches on the floor won’t make much difference. It might be different if my place was brand new and super nice. I did invest in kid friendly furniture as well (leather sofas).

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Well if your space is not suitable for babies I wouldn’t even entertain the idea for having a crib - as you may open a whole new bag of worms eg. parents bring along a baby and ‘forgotting’ to tell you about their 2yo.

I welcome babies and children, but I don’t have a crib or a cot. The babies who have stayed here have slept with their parents and the children have slept on one of the twin beds in our guest room. I have adored all but one of the children who have stayed here. They tend to be wonderful travelers in that they delight in that which is different from their house instead of thinking that traveling should be their house transported elsewhere as many adults believe. Personally, I wouldn’t buy extra furniture that I would need to store, but if you want to attract families and you have room to store the extra furniture, why not? I would advise that you decide on some boundaries about how far you want to go to attract children. Will you buy a high chair? Will you buy a car seat? Will you “childproof” your listing? These are all things that parents will ask for. One other thing you should know about accepting families is that many parents don’t think they should have to pay an extra guest fee for children, especially very young ones, so if you want to charge an extra guest fee put it in your house rules.

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We only have “babes-in-arms” now because of the unfenced pool but we still get a LOT of requests for families with one child, so I think it would make sense financially for you to have a child-friendly space.

We already had a cot, high chair and toys from the grandchildren, but one thing I can tell you is that putting up and taking down a full-sized cot every time you have a family is a REAL hassle! We now offer a canvas travel cot with mesh sides which is suitable for children from birth up to 3 years, is easy to put up and collapse and can also be used as a playpen during the day. Cheaper than a full-sia really good investment.

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If you’re advertising as a family friendly place then absolutely have the cot. If not, then don’t.

That’s how I see it, anyway…

My listing says family friendly because we welcome babies, toddlers and children. However, when people with children inquire we tell them that the child will have to sleep in a bed. I am not going to buy and store furniture for the few times someone brings a child.

Our flat is not suitable for children.

However, we have had people request to bring their kids. We tell emphasize that it’s not suitable for children (no cot, not child-proofed, 8 floors up), but will welcome them if they understand this. So far, it hasn’t been a problem.

I was tempted to buy a cot, but the flat isn’t child-friendly. I don’t want people who will be complacent.

The standard item that family-friendly rentals have is a pack and play. It can be packed down and stored and it’s easy to set-up and breakdown. Sometimes the hosts have it set up for us and sometimes it’s in the closet and we set it up ourselves (takes around 5 min). You don’t need much bedding as babies aren’t supposed to sleep with blankets or anything else in the crib (suffocation risk). There just needs to be a sheet to cover the pad. Basic pack and plays cost around $50 although I’ve bought 2 from craigslist that barely looked used for $15-20 each.

If you are going to have young children in your rental, make sure you have waterproof mattress pads on your beds as little kids often end up sleeping in the bed when traveling.

There have been a few times when a pack and play was a deciding factor in which rental I chose as it’s one less thing that I have to arrange (I rent baby equipment if a rental doesn’t supply it). I’ve stayed in over 10 rentals, most family-friendly, and no one has ever had a high-chair or any other kind of furniture besides a pack and play. A few units had a little bin filled with some toys and books (stuff that belonged to the owner’s kids or grandkids). The toys are always a big extra and totally unexpected and very appreciated as it distracts the kids to see unfamiliar and “new” stuff.


Yes, a pack n play is handy to have and easy to buy used and in good shape. I also have a booster seat/high chair that can attach to existing chairs that I have available if needed (and I forgot to offer to our guests that left yesterday!). Having a bin of legos, duplos, lincoln logs, or blocks is a nice amenity to offer as well as it keeps kids from getting into stuff. I always have letter magnets up in the apartment, the adults that stay have fun with those as well!

@Sarah_Warren. See, that is what can get you into trouble. Those magnets are not to be used by any child under the age of 3. But they are bright and colorful and of course the 18-month old wants to touch them. I am a great believer in not having anything out that isn’t safe for any age when any age might be in the space. Of course, the original legos have the same choking problem. Providing a safe space, where the parents don’t have to say “no, you can’t play with that” over and over isn’t easy.

I’m surprised by this. I provide a pack n play, a high chair, a stroller, toys/games, a dollhouse, children’s table and chairs, and a play teepee in my family friendly listings. I get a lot of people who appreciate that it is family friendly. I am surprised that more hosts don’t offer these amenities. I find it interesting that if so few places offer them, almost no one has mentioned them specifically in my reviews!

I guess when you travel with kids you know how helpful these things are!


I’m not surprised. I have family friendly checked on my listing because we welcome children of all ages. We don’t have all the baby/child gear you’ve listed as I have no idea where we would store it when it isn’t in use.

For you folks who have children; it seems to me like baby/child gear gets recalled often. If hosts who don’t have children get baby/child gear to accommodate guests would we have to check recall information?

Yes, what EllenN says. As you know, barefoot (since you have it all!) just a stroller and pack and play can take up quite a bit of room in a closet. The pack and play is at least a reasonably shaped rectangle and is easier to store but even a “small” umbrella stroller takes up tons of space, esp in an urban space.

I supply a pack and play, our umbrella stroller, and books/toys for toddlers, baby bathsoap, and my guests with kids mention this in reviews. I’m shocked that families don’t mention all your extras – my kids would be in heaven with your toys and tee-pees. Maybe such items are more standard in your area since they sound like large houses? Parents with newborns/infants might welcome a baby tub which makes daily bathing much easier when they can’t sit up yet.

The only time someone provided me with a stroller was in Portland where the owner offered to drop hers off for the week. I really appreciated it because I don’t want to fly with all this crap.


Hmm, that’s true – there are quite a few recalls, although I notice it most with car seats and strollers.

That’s a good point. I do have plenty of closet space available in my house so that is a factor!

Ah, I get it now! A “pack and play” is what I referred to above as a “travel cot” (two nations divided by a single language …)

We have a high chair, stroller and various toys, but only because we had those for our grandchildren when they were smalls. In theory we don’t take small children now, but actually we look at it on a case by case basis. Unfortunately many of the families we have accepted have raved about our child-friendly facilities so we get a LOT of enquiries.

We also keep (but don’t tell the guests!) an emergency stock of nappies in different sizes - dating from the time a toddler guest had erm, an unfortunate stomach upset and I had the choice between a heap of soiled sheets or a visit to the 24-hour pharmacy at 1.30 a.m. Guess which one I chose …

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