overnight train/portable bed guard

(21 Posts)
janek Sun 02-Sep-07 12:01:06

in a fortnight we are travelling on an overnight sleeper train from paris to milan in a 2-person cabin with our 17mo dd.

has anyone who has done this got any advice?

we have been told (by a friend who has made this journey) that 1)the floorspace is limited (we were hoping to use our little life arc 2 travel cot) and 2)there are actually 3 bunks, even though the room is sold as a double. can anyone confirm or deny?

we have considered getting a travel bed guard for use on the bottom bunk - does anyone know of one that is truly portable (ie can be carried in a rucksack, along with all our other stuff)?

it's annoying because i have a hundred problems and possible solutions going round my head, but cannot solve them properly till i actually see the cabin. and that will be very close to bedtime...

thanks for any advice at all!!!

msappropriate Sun 02-Sep-07 12:04:53

babydan guards are potable but heavy

Won't the bunks be next to a wall? If so, I'd be tempted to put her on the wall side and sleep next to her.

janek Sun 02-Sep-07 13:29:31

i rather suspected they might be msappropriate, by the way no one ever mentions their weight when selling them.

ABO - yes they're next to the wall, but they're quite narrow and we've never slept together. and sadly dd has never shown the slightest inclination to sleep with me.

i was wondering if i could fashion some kind of bed guard out of some kind of lightweight material, perhaps a sheet. i clearly haven't thought this through though...

thanks both for your thoughts.

Isababel Sun 02-Sep-07 13:36:50

I have only been in such predicament when using ferries. Depending on the cabin, DS slept on the floor or besides me on the side of the bed facing the wall. (actually, I prefered this as I didn't want very curious DS playing with the water, or opening the door while we slept.

It is not the best solution, but TBH a cabin is a cabin, not a hotel room, so there should have to be some adjustments, it is not going to be as comfy as a proper bedroom.

MrsBadger Sun 02-Sep-07 14:05:52

wedge her in with rolled up towels etc?

does she normally move much in her sleep at home?

janek Sun 02-Sep-07 14:21:24

she ends up in the top left corner of the cot, having started feet to foot. towels are a good idea. i wonder also if a sheet would work, not to stop her falling, but to make her think she can't get out.
i'm still rooting for there being enough room for the travel cot on the floor. if the worst comes to the worst we'll have to take the mattress and just put her on that, she couldn't escape the carriage, but she could spot mummy and daddy and refuse to sleep... it's only one night, that's what i keep telling myself. oh, and the return journey of course.

Isababel Sun 02-Sep-07 14:27:43

you can also put the mattress of the top bed on the floor with the added advantage that if is wide enough, your child won't bang her head against the metal bases of the beds.

I don't know if Paris to Milan is covered by the same trains as Barcelona to Paris, but if they are perhaps the above is a good solution, as there was definitively not enough space for a travel cot.

janek Sun 02-Sep-07 14:54:24

isababel - do you mean for her to sleep on, or for her to fall onto if she falls? are the mattresses removeable?

Isababel Sun 02-Sep-07 15:14:56

for her to sleep on, on the floor.

Although if I remember well, in the train I took, the space left free once the beds were open, was tiny.

TBH, I think you will need to do a bit of "go with the flow" and use the space and "resources" available. I wouldn't bother with a bed guard, mainly because I would hate to carry it around. But that's just me wink

NannyL Sun 02-Sep-07 21:48:36

if you have a spare sheet tuck a BIG bit of the sheet all the way under the matteress, then bring it right over her and then tuck under the mattress on the side by the wall

It will be pretty difficult for her to fall out as the sheet will effectively be all the way around ehr and almost strapping her into the bed

We once put DS on a "bed" made of the duvet on the floor of the ferry cabin. That was before we discovered the samsonite popup cot which I assume is similar to your arc) If she is on the floor, she cannot fall out of bed!

janek Sun 02-Sep-07 22:30:08

nannyL, the sheet is a great idea. the problem is, i have no idea how likely she is to fall. she is always at the top left of the cot in the morning, so presumably if we position her accordingly there is little danger, and we will know she is awake because we are in there with her, so can leap down and rescue her before anything untoward happens.

we will be able to use the mattress from the cot, even if we can't erect the cot, i just like the idea of her being imprisoned in a more normal environment...

kindersurprise - the samsonite travel bubble is only suitable to 18mths isn't it? the main problem with our cot is that it has a big bottom! i was wondering if i could put the cot on the bottom bunk, but only if it actually fitted and i fear it will not.

i'm sure all will be fine, but i'm more of a neurotic, stick-to-the-routine type, than the kind of person who likes to go with the flow and not worry about it. perhaps the rocking of the train will lull her off to sleep, leaving me to lie awake worrying all night...

They write on the samsonite that it is up to 18mths but our DS slept in it longer. It would be a big bulky to lug around though. Probably not worth you splashing out on because another wee while and she will be ok in a bed.

Our DCs have both fallen out of their beds this year on holiday thought, and they are now 3 and 5. We have realised that it is important to put them in the same side of the bed that they have at home. DS sleeps with the wall on his right at home and if he sleeps in a bed on the other wall, he tends to fall out, iyswim.

janek Mon 03-Sep-07 08:44:44

yes, i had imagined her with her head at the far end of the carriage until i realised that this would inevitably lead to falling out.

i e-mailed the man at seat 61 and he said that our cot may fit, but that there are definitely 3 bunks. this is quite reassuring. i am taking a tape measure with me and reporting back when i get home, because i would love it if someone else had already had this conversation and all the answers were sitting on mumsnet.

also, i think she only moves when she's awake, and normally when awake she is perfectly capable of not falling off things. also, the bunks are quite low. it won't be pleasant to fall out, but she will definitely survive it intact. thank you KS for revealing your own dc's falling out of bed habits. that has made me feel better too!.

NoNickname Thu 06-Sep-07 18:15:39

I'm not sure what the trains are like for Paris to Milan, but we recently took a sleeper train from Calais to Frejus and it is really tight for space once all the bunks are put up. We had a four berth on the way out and a six berth on the way back - so two bunks either side then three either side. When the bunks are up, there is not enough room to sit up on the bed.

Between the bunks (whether they are up or down) there is really hardly any space - you would definitely not fit a normal travel cot in there. I think you would just fit one of those Samsonite pop-up ones, length ways only, but I would be a bit worried about it moving back and forwards with the motion of the train (the door is metal and at the other end there is a metal wall with a bin affixed to it).

Actually, I've just looked at a picture of your cot, and although I can't tell its size very easily, it may well fit. And it looks far more sturdy than a Samsonite, in terms of moving about.

To be honest, for us, with a 3.6 year old, it was a bit of a nightmare. He did fall out of bed on the way (hadn't done this for six months or more at home), and he had trouble falling asleep as it was quite noisy and obviously the train moves a lot, which he just found quite strange. Don't think you'd have that problem with a 17 month old though, as motion usually sends them straight off! The train company recommended that all children under five sleep in the lower bunk, with an adult. The beds are very narrow, and there was just about enough room, but I didn't do it in the end. I was a bit worried about rolling onto him with the motion of the train.

On our train, the mattresses were fixed to the bunks.

Oh, ignore all of that! Just found some pics of the trains from Paris to Italy here

janek Tue 11-Sep-07 21:22:45

no, thanks for that. i did email seat 61 man, because he has a child the same age as dd, but for some reason he'd never taken a tape measure with him. so couldn't answer my questions precisely (was still very helpful though).

i'm definitely hoping that the train will lull her off, not wake her up. our cot is wide at the bottom, then narrows, then widens again at the top, so i think it would definitely fit in a 4 person carriage, as for the 2 person one we shall see...

lapsedrunner Wed 12-Sep-07 11:16:03

I did this when ds was nearly 2. I ended up sleeping head to toe with hime to stop him rolling out. He slept like a log (I didn't!)

janek Thu 08-Nov-07 17:51:27

hello - this is my report after the event - the space on the floor turned out to be 80cm wide and about 120cm long. not big enough for our travel cot, but big enough for the thermarest we use as a mattress (60cm by 120cm) and the arms of the train seat were like big cushions that we used to fill the gap so she didn't roll anywhere. and she slept like a log. she even slept through the guard coming in several times in the morning to wake us, give us breakfast, tell us the train was delayed etc. in fact she only awoke as we cheekily tried to pick her up to transfer her to her pushchair so she'd stay asleep. in summary everything was fine, i didn't need to worry. the only thing i'd do differently is ask the guard to make up the beds sooner, i assumed he'd come round and do it automatically, but i forgot that most people don't need to go to bed at 8.30, the second they get on the train!

Habbibu Sun 11-Nov-07 10:28:02

Ooh - Janek! I've just been looking at the seat61 website, because we want to go to Italy by train this summer, and our daughter will be around 18 months then - very glad you had a good experience. Did you book a first or 2nd class cabin? It looks to me as if you just book bunks - does this guarantee you an unshared cabin?

janek Fri 30-Nov-07 18:33:13

we booked a first class one, on the grounds that we wanted to share with no one and no one would want to share with us!!! also, i have a vague memory of having read somewhere in my pre dd days, that you have to book a whole cabin if you want under 4s to travel free. don't know where i read it though. feel free to ask me anything about our experience, because i am always keen to encourage people to enjoy the fun of the overnight train!

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