We all know by now the importance of doing at least some baby proofing at home but what happens when you’re visiting Grandma or another relative? While it might never be as safe as your own home consider some safety tips before hitting the road this holiday season.
Get ready for take-off
Getting there can either be half the fun or the entire nightmare! If you’re flying to your destination, plan ahead. Ask your pediatrician to write you an extra prescription in case your child’s medication spills or is misplaced. Be sure to place a label in your child’s shoe with his first name and your cell phone number in case he gets lost. The safest place for a child in a plane is in an approved child restraint system – not on your lap! This is a hard-backed child safety seat that is approved by the government for use in motor vehicles or aircrafts. There are also child safety devices that are FAA approved for use in aircrafts.
If you have been to the home before, you will have an idea of what child hazards to expect. If you are visiting for the first time, it’s wise to have a conversation with the hostess prior to your arrival. Find out if they have certain areas of the home which might have antiques or glass objects and whether they have a staircase. Explain that in order to make the trip easier for everyone, you would like to bring along a few items to help make their home a little more “baby friendly.”
Create “Safe Zones”
If you’re child is just beginning to walk or has still not perfected climbing stairs it’s best to bring two pressure mounted gates that you can install at the top and bottom of the staircase. While I do not recommend these types of gates in your own home, for traveling they’re great. If your hostess’ home has a dining room filled with fine crystal and other fragile items it’s best to make that a kid-free zone and install another gate across this door way. Laundry rooms, home offices and exercise rooms are extremely dangerous to toddlers and young children. Ask that these doors be kept closed at all times while you are there and, if possible, locked.
Do a Clean Sweep
Do a quick inventory of the kitchen cabinets for sharp objects, cleaning products and other dangerous items. If you feel comfortable enough, ask your hostess to move them to a basement or a garage while you are visiting. Be sure that if liquor is kept in a cabinet low to the ground that it is either moved or a rubber band is used to secure the door. It’s also a good idea to purchase some electrical outlet covers and bring them with you.
Beware of the “Silent Killer”
One of the most over-looked dangers is carbon monoxide poisoning. Because this silent killer will affect small children first, it is imperative that the home you’re visiting have a carbon monoxide detector installed. You may feel silly bringing one with you, but if you and/or your children will be sleeping in a downstairs basement or the children will be playing there it is better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, get the name of a local pediatrician and locate him as well as the local hospital on a map. If you’re child becomes ill or is seriously hurt you want to be sure to have this information available immediately.
You might initially get resistance from your hostess to the precautions you want to put in place, but accidents happen in the blink of an eye.