By Beth Blair (TwinCitiesGal)
Staying in a hotel is part of the family vacation fun. However, just like at home, it's important to prepare your surroundings for the safety of the little vacation-goers. Here are a few tips for childproofing your next hotel room.
Plug outlets. Just like at home, little people are intrigued by wall outlets. Stop pennies or fingers from exploring electric sockets with classic outlet plug protectors.
Nix the bed jumping. Jumping on a hotel bed seems like a classic kid activity, especially when offered the challenge to leap from one bed to the next. Instead, have the kids save the bouncing for the next birthday party bounce-house. Sharp bedside tables and glass balcony doors are only a jump, or fall, away and can easily trigger a trip to the ER.
Cover sharp corners. Besides bedside tables, corners seem to be everywhere in hotel rooms, which can be a nightmare with a toddler or rambunctious preschooler. But the good news is sharp edges can be covered with store-bought corner cushions and protectors. Or better yet, use a tennis ball (just cut a sliver in the ball and push it on).
Avoid balcony falls. One of my kids' favorite vacation pastimes is sitting on the balcony watching the sites. However, when not supervised, balconies can be one of the most dangerous aspects of a hotel room—even if the ledge is taller than the child. Chairs and tables make for an easy boost as do wall details that may add just enough leverage for a little one to climb up and potentially fall over the edge. Never leave a child unattended on a balcony and always keep the doors locked when inside.
Curtail Curtain Cords. Along with bed jumping, hiding behind the lengthy, flowing hotel drapes is great fun for a child. The danger here is the long cords. Simple trash bag ties can be used to tie up the cords to keep out of the little people's reach.
Be wary of sleepwalkers. When I was young, my family had two adjoining hotel rooms. My siblings and I were in one room and our parents in the next. One night, my brother experienced a bout of sleepwalking. He climbed out of bed, open the room's main door and walked right outside. Fortunately, my parents awoke knowing something wasn't right and caught up to him before he got hurt. Besides latching every lock, there are motion sensor alarms you can place on the door or, even better, on the floor which will trigger an alarm and stop the door from opening. Balconies are harder to secure; however, a chair or some type of barrier will make the door more difficult for a little one to get to.
Stop the nighttime fall off the bed. New sleeping arrangements can prompt a nighttime fall to the floor, especially if siblings are paired together and one is overly restless. Besides padding the edges with pillows, which can fall off too, request bedrails before you arrive (some hotels do have them on hand) or if your child is young enough, you may request a crib from the hotel or order one from a baby rental supply store (either way, ensure the crib is up to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC] standards).
Don't play with fire. Since smoking rooms are less common these days, it's unlike you'll run across a pack of matches in a non-smoking room. However, make it a habit to check every drawer in the room, as you never know what was left behind by previous guests. If a fire does breakout somewhere in the hotel, it's imperative you know where the closest stairwell or exit is and never take an elevator during a fire. Keep in mind that the average fire truck ladder can only reach the seventh or eighth floor of a building.
Prevent bathroom dangers. Parents should be vigilant in observing water temperatures when filling a bathtub to avoid scalding temperatures. And remember, it only takes a second and just a bit of water to trigger a drowning, so pay attention to slow draining tubs. Hairdryers and the counter sink can also make for a hazardous situation; therefore, unplug and stow all handheld electrics. Most importantly, never leave a child alone in a bathroom. It's very possible you could get locked out while they are inside.
Darn Doors. Speaking of getting locked out, the tricky thing about entry hotel room doors is once the door closes behind you there is no getting back in without the key. Keep this is mind if you quickly run down the hall to fetch a bucket of ice or even step out to pick up the newspaper â€“ hotels doors are usually self closing, too. That means if your spouse is at the gym you could potentially lock yourself out and who knows what kind of havoc the kids can stir up on their own inside. And since hotel card keys have been known not to work from time to time, it's best to never leave the little ones alone in the room, even for just a moment.
About the Writer
Beth Blair (aka TwinCitiesGal) is a former flight attendant who traded her wings for a laptop and now works as a freelance travel writer. She is also co-founder of TheVacationGals.com. You may learn more about her at bethblair.com.