One of our challenges on each trip is keeping the kids safe while we're staying in hotels or a vacation rental. Most guidebooks recommend bringing bulky baby proofing items from home… meaning that you either need a second set for travel, or you need to undo your home babyproofing just before leaving & remember to redo it when you return home.
You'll probably never take the time, resources or desire to baby-proof a hotel room as completely as you would your own home. However, each the room needs to be safe enough that your child can play with supervision while you get ready in the morning or wind down in the evenings. Using my step-by-step guide all you'll need to bring with you is some duct tape, blue painters tape, and twist-ties or pipe cleaners.
- Call or email the hotel before the trip and ask about baby proofing (some offer this service or have special baby proofed rooms).
- Request a crib. Even if your child won't sleep in a strange crib, it's useful to have a safe place to put them for a few minutes.
- Remove anything dangerous that is within baby's reach. Look for floor lamps, lamps with dangling electrical cords, anything that can be pulled off a table or desk, and any plants. Don't forget to look for small items inside drawers, closets and under beds. Check to make sure that all the furniture in the room is stable. Once you’ve collected everything that is unsafe, call housekeeping to remove the items from your room or hide them in a closet or wardrobe.
- Secure any loose cords or wires with twist-ties and duct tape.
- Twist-ties or pipe cleaners can be used to secure drape cords up high where toddlers cannot reach them.
- Duct tape over any electrical outlets. If the outlets are painted or wall-papered, use blue painters tape instead. It's not as secure, but it won't damage the surface. (Thanks Parent Hacks!)
- Use painter's tape to secure dresser drawers so that they cannot be opened.
- Look for exposed light bulbs on bedside reading lights or in other spots where a small child might reach them. Remove the lamp or use duct tape to secure the switch in the off position.
- Look for furniture with sharp corners. Use paper (usually available in a hotel stationary kit) and duct tape to make a cushion for each corner.
- Water in hotels can be very hot. Make sure that your child cannot reach the bathroom tap. (If they can, you'll need to keep the bathroom door closed and supervise them carefully.) If there's a bidet in the room, it likely has a faucet handle that is very low to the ground. Turn the water off at the wall or call engineering to turn the water off.
- Check the crib for safety. Remove any loose bedding and make sure that the mattress fits snugly. Hotels will often add a thick mattress to a pack-and-play, thinking that they're ensuring a more comfortable night for baby, but because the sides of the pack and play are stretchy, baby's head can become trapped between the mattress and the side of the crib. Finally, place the crib where baby will not be able to reach anything dangerous or anything that might enable them to climb out and be mindful of whether heating and cooling vents are blowing on the crib.
- Bathroom doors need to be babyproofed too… To prevent pinched fingers from an open door, throw a washcloth over the top of the door to prevent it from closing fully. Tape over the lock to prevent a toddler from locking themselves in the bathroom. Try to keep the bathroom door closed to keep babies out.
- Close and lock all windows and balconies, even those with screens and move furniture away from windows and balconies.
- Put the trashcan (with it's germs, plastic bags, and soon your trash) out of reach.
You'll need to take a quick survey of the electrical outlets and your other baby proofing "hacks" after every housekeeping visit to ensure that your babyproofing measures are still in place.
No matter what you do, you'll still need to keep an eye on your child, as you'll never be as aware of the dangers in a strange place as you are at home.Related Links:
Choosing a Child Friendly Hotel
Guide to Planning a Vacation with Kids, Babies and Toddlers
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