This past weekend my husband and I took a mini vacation. When we came out of our hotel room we found a boy who looked to be about five years old standing in the middle of the hall. When I asked him where his mom and dad were he said that he had left his room to go find the soda machine. He got lost trying to find his way back. Within about two minutes a woman opened one of the doors down the hall and frantically raced out. She explained that she had been in the shower and her son must have walked out the door without her knowing it. While I’d like to think this doesn’t happen often I tend to suspect this isn’t the case. It’s so easy for all of us, when we’re on vacation, to overlook child safety hazards that we wouldn’t when we are in familiar surroundings. But hotels are usually not designed with children in mind and it’s up to us to make sure our kids are safe when staying at hotels.
I know when we check into a hotel room with our kids the first thing they want to do is jump on the beds but once the initial excitement wears off I tell them that we’re going to have a "safety talk." I explain that they are never to walk out the door or go onto the balcony without mom or dad knowing. We all look at the fire escape route that is always posted on the back of the door and we decide on a spot where we would meet outside the hotel if we ever got seperated during a fire. We also remind them that if only one of us is in the room and the other is in the shower they are never to open the door for anyone.
Of course, this is fine for my two older children but we need to take extra precautions with the baby. Take a few moments when you get into the room to baby proof the room as you would your own home:
- Tie-up any window blinds cords that might be hanging down
- Bring some electrical ties with you to secure lamp cords to the legs of tables
- Use band-aids to cover up electrical outlet sockets
- If there is a mini-bar that is unlocked remove all alcohol and choking related food items
- Be sure to keep the dead bolt and chain guard secured on the door and balcony door at all times
- Ask hotel staff to remove any furniture from the balcony
- Bring a tub mat and bathtub ring with you to prevent slipping in the bathtub
- Move glasses and glass coffee carafes out of reach
- Bring a portable gate with you if you are staying in a duplex room to secure the stairs
- Keep toiletries in the closet on the highest shelf
Also, if you are borrowing a crib from the hotel, check that they have Pak-n-Plays as opposed to older cribs that might not meet today’s safety standards.
I do love staying at full service suites when I travel with my kids. It’s so much more convenient to give them a quick bowl of cereal in the room or some pasta at night rather than sitting with potentially tired and cranky kids in a restaurant. But when you have a kitchen area in your hotel room there are even more safety hazards. Be sure all electrical appliances are pushed back out of reach and move all sharp objects to the highest cabinet possible.
It’s also a good idea to do a little research prior to your trip and find a local pediatrician and pharmacy in case of emergencies. And be sure that your kids have memorized your cell phone number and the name of the hotel you’re staying at should they get lost.
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