Here are a few tips for baby-proofing your hotel room to ensure that everyone stays safe on your next vacation:
These supplies are small, compact, and easy to carry in a suitcase:
- duct tape
- blue painter's tape
- high density foam squares
- outlet covers
You'll also want to check with the hotel about borrowing a portable crib. These are a great way to keep most toddlers contained while you're busy getting ready for the day or need a moment to unpack the beach tote.
Step 1 – Find a safe spot to contain Junior
It's important that you do your baby-proofing without distraction. You don't want to be so busy trying to keep an eye on your toddler that you miss the aspirin pill that the last guest accidentally dropped under the bed. So, either set up the playpen or have your husband take your child outside to walk the halls for 10 or 15 minutes, letting you baby-proof in peace.
Step 2 – Check the floor
Inspect every inch of the floor - yes, even under the bed and behind the dresser - for choking dangers. These can include pills, paperclips, sewing needles, and old food. You may have to get on your hands and knees and crawl around to make sure you caught everything.
Step 3 – Walls and Outlets
Now take a look at the walls. Are there any wall lights that could be pulled down by "helpful" little hands? (Unplug them and wrap the cord around the fixture out of reach.) Any peeling wallpaper? (Secure it with a bit of painter's tape.)
While you're inspecting the walls, take a moment to secure of the outlets. Either use the outlet covers or duct tape (or maybe both, if you have a super smart kid) to cover the outlets and ensure that baby can't get to them.
Also, you'll want to secure the thermostat cover so your child doesn't bring on an early winter in your hotel room.
Step 4 - Inspect the furniture
Check out the bed, dresser, coffee table, and any other furniture in the room. Have management remove any pieces that are falling apart and could endanger your child. Move any that are in a bad spot for your child, like a badly placed coffee table. Cover any super-sharp corners with the foam squares and duct tape. Make sure the TV is secured to the table and can't be pulled over.
Unplug and store away any lamps on low tables. Move the phone out of reach or into a desk drawer so Junior doesn't dial China one afternoon. Use your painter's tape to secure any cords that you can't remove. Move any miscellaneous items - like ashtrays, flowers, pens, paper, and postcards – to a high shelf or into drawers.
Step 5 – Check the window and curtains
Are the windows and screens secured? This is especially important when you're not on the ground floor. There have been many news reports of babies tumbling out of unsecured second and third story hotel room windows.
Also, take a look at the curtains. Are they frayed? Is the pull string in reach of your child? Is it a choking hazard? Fix any issues with a little tape.
Step 6 – Set-up a kid-friendly area
Now that the room is safe, take the time to set up an area of the room that is just for your child. This area should be a completely safe zone that is out of the way of general traffic - the last thing you'll want to have to do is step over Junior's toys every time you have to go to the bathroom. Move the portable crib to that area and place his toys nearby. That way, when he comes back in the room, he'll know right away where he can play.
Step 7 - Stow your stuff
Now that Junior's stuff is taken care of, take a moment to secure your things.
Place suitcases in an area that will be completely out of reach of your child. Especially don't place suitcases on top of dressers where small hands can pull them down on top of themselves. You'll also want to make sure to stow your bathroom stuff and any medication in a high location well out of reach of your child.
Step 8 – Stay ever vigilant
Even after all of that work, you should never let down your guard when it comes to a toddler in a hotel room. Keep an eye on them at all times. Never leave them alone in the room. Lock and latch the door. Drain the bathtub and keep the bathroom door shut.
Remember, safety first! No matter how relaxing your vacation is, it's important that you keep the safety of your toddler your number one priority. That way, everyone can go home safe and happy!