Hotels are exciting places for kids. There are giant fluffy beds, sliding curtains, extra-large bathrooms, and light switches galore! But among these marvels are many clear and hidden dangers. Before you arrive at your destination, it’s a good idea to call the hotel to find out if they provide any type of childproofing services or a kit upon arrival. (High-end and family-friendly hotels are the most likely to offer these services.) If they don’t, this is an opportunity for you to ask questions about the space so you can prepare in advance and pack what you might need (see our list below).
The level of childproofing needed depends largely on your child’s developmental stage. If you have a climber on your hands, for example, you’re going to need to be extra diligent about supervision and have an adult no more than arm’s length away. But if you think childproofing is just for babies and toddlers, think again. School-aged kids can still face hazards if you’re not careful and don’t go over the hotel rules.
Learn what to look for and how to take the proper precautions so it’s a vacation to remember for all the right reasons.
Take Care of Loose Cords
Any long, exposed cords belonging to table and floor lamps can be tempting for kids to pull on, not to mention pose a tripping hazard. If you don’t need to use the lamp during your stay, unplug it and wrap the cord so it’s out of reach. For those you will be using, hide the cords behind or under nearby furniture as best as possible–taping them down as necessary too.
Prevent Furniture Tip Overs
Do a stability check of any dressers and TVs to make sure they don’t pose a risk of tipping over easily. (You can also push any freestanding TVs to the back of the surface to make it harder for your child to reach from the ground.) Without these heavy pieces physically anchored to the wall with an anti-tip kit, it’s safest to keep kids far away and always in your sight. If your child shows any interest in climbing on furniture or playing with the drawers, you can also create a barrier on the ground with your empty luggage to act as a deterrent. Having something closer to push, pull, zip and unzip, is a distraction in the least.
Soften Sharp Corners
If there’s a coffee table with dangerous edges and you have a walker or crawler on your hands, try throwing an extra throw blanket or bath towel over the top for some extra cushion. You can do the same thing for a dresser or console table that’s right at your child’s height. Just remember to not place anything on top of the blanket or towel. Should your child pull on it you don’t want anything to fall on them.
Plug Obvious Outlets
Tiny fingers tend to gravitate toward tiny holes. Throw a few outlet covers in your bag or use electrical or painter’s tape in a pinch to cover any outlets that are visible and attract your child’s attention as they move around the hotel room. It’s also important to pull the crib or pack and play away from the wall if there’s any outlets (or wall art) within reach.
Clear the Counters
Some of the items that might be present on top of dressers and vanities, could really hurt your child if they fall on their head or body. Unplug phones and store them in the closet if you won’t need to use them during your stay. Then, remove any heavy books or vases, also placing them out of reach. In the bathroom, push soap dishes and tissue box holders to the back of the vanity–and make sure there’s no extra plastic garbage bags laying around while you’re at it. If you can’t find a safe space to store these items, ask the hotel to take them off your hands during your stay.
Get on the Ground
Little kids spend a lot of time on the floor, where adults can’t always spot potential dangers. The best way to keep your child safe on the ground is to get on your hands and knees and do a sweep of the floor yourself. Look for small objects that could pose as choking hazards or might otherwise be harmful, like dropped medicine or bobby pins. You never know what other guests could have left behind or what housekeeping might have missed cleaning. It’s also a good idea to lay out a blanket for kids to sit and play on, this way they’re more comfy and you have a set zone that’s been cleared for safety.
Take Caution in Tubs
When you’re away, make bathtime more about washing, and less about playing so there’s less time for potential accidents. First, fill the tub up all the way before letting your child get in so you can make any temperature adjustments with little ones at a safe distance. To make the bottom of the tub less slippery, you can put a hand towel down for your child to sit on. (Just rinse and wring it out after your bath like you would a washcloth.) You can also wrap the faucet in a washcloth for added protection. As always, stay within arm’s reach of your child at all times.
Secure The Balcony
If your hotel room has a balcony, keep the door locked at all times and check to make sure the railing is sturdy. If there is any furniture outside, move it away from the railing and never let your child go or stay on the balcony without you. If your child is tall enough to open the door on their own, consider bringing your own door alarm or use duct tape in a pinch as a deterrent. None of this replaces constant supervision, of course.
Close and Lock Windows
Kids should never play with or near windows due to the fall risk. It’s also important to keep them closed at all times. If your child is the extra curious type, close the curtains and flip on the lights in the room so you can see without the natural light.
High-touch surfaces in hotel rooms can be breeding grounds for germs. Pack those disinfecting cleaning wipes and use them for TV remotes, the top of the coffee table, and borrowed baby gear your child will be in contact with on your trip.
Keep a Close Watch
Nothing replaces in-person supervision, but for times when your child is sleeping in another room a baby monitor can bring extra peace of mind. Before you step away–even if just for a minute–make sure your child is in a safe, secure sleep space without any dangers in reach. Need to run to the bathroom or take a quick shower? It’s best to bring your child with you (remember it’s only temporary if you’re traveling), but if that’s not an option consider buckling your child in a stroller or car seat so they’re secure before you step away and watch with the monitor.
Childproofing items to pack:
- Door alarm for balcony
- Outlet covers
- Cord wraps or rubber bands
- Disinfecting wipes
- Duct tape for locks and cords
- Baby monitor