Keeping Your Kiddo Safe: Babyproofing Hotel Rooms
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Toddlers can face a minefield of dangers just about anywhere, especially in unfamiliar hotel rooms, where sharp corners, tabletops filled with chewable items and electric outlets free to be prodded await a curious child. Hotel “babyproofing” services may mean as little as providing electric outlet covers or as extensive as offering a full range of baby gear and services.
We recently asked members of the TPG Family Facebook page what they expect from hotels when traveling with little ones and what they do at hotels on their own accord to help ensure their child’s safety. We found both people who do little to nothing and those who go all-out and bring their own babyproofing kits along.
Our advice: If you’re concerned about the child safety of hotel rooms when you travel, call the hotel directly (not the toll-free reservation line) and ask what it offers. (Note: The front desk may bounce your call to housekeeping or maintenance before you find the department that handles such requests.)
High-end, family-focused hotels and resorts, such as those in the Orlando area or ski country, are more likely to offer extensive childproofing services than business hotels in cities like Manhattan or Chicago. At the family-focused places, you’re more likely to also find other kid-friendly amenities like complimentary baby gear for use on-property, paid nannies and sitters, and even special “tuck-in” treats. Other hotels may offer little to nothing. (After all, we found it’s not always even possible to reserve a crib at a hotel.)
How Some Resorts Babyproof Their Rooms
The Loews Orlando properties, including the Loews Portofino Bay, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, offer babyproofing kits for the room and such handy items as strollers, car seats, baby tubs, books and toys. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes provides a six-pack of outlet covers and a small collection of playthings.
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, Wyoming — like all Four Seasons properties — will put padding on the tables and corners in the room, block the fireplace and put plugs in the outlets. The service does need to be requested in advance; the hotel takes information about your baby or toddler at the time of the booking and will have the room ready upon arrival.
At The Breakers Palm Beach, Florida, childproofing services are offered to families with children up to age 3. The hotel removes plastic bags from trash cans, clears horizontal surfaces, adds furniture corner guards, covers outlet sockets and can provide an infant bath to be placed in the tub with a spout cover. Bottle warmers, nursing equipment, bedrails and diaper changing tables are also available and can be requested at the time of reservation. Mini-refrigerators can be reserved for storing breast milk and formula, and strollers are available for use during your stay for a minimal fee.
DIY Hotel Room Childproofing
If you’re staying at a hotel that doesn’t offer any sort of babyproofing services, you can take some safety measures yourself to help modify your room. Here are some suggestions for what to pack and what to do when you arrive:
Some childproofing items to bring:
- Sterile or antiseptic wipes or spray to clean furniture surfaces
- A blanket so your baby can play on the floor without you worrying about the cleanliness of the carpet
- Blue painter’s tape (more on that later)
- Outlet covers (or just use the tape to cover the outlets)
- A large binder clamp to keep the draperies tightly closed at naptime
- A toilet lid latch
- A night light or two
When you first check in, do a safety assessment of the room:
- Get down on your hands and knees to check under beds, furniture and even chair cushions for little left-behind items such as paper clips, pens, safety pins or other items that could end up in a child’s mouth.
- Remove any cleaning fluids from under-sink cabinets.
- Check the cords for blinds and draperies to make sure they aren’t in a loop that could choke a child. It’s been at least a decade since these regulations went into effect, but some properties may have been grandfathered. Tape the pulls out of reach with that handy roll of painter’s tape you brought along.
- Remove pillows and bumpers from any crib provided by the property. Make sure the crib slats are no more than 2 3/8″ apart.
- If the room has a balcony (or balconies) with rails, check to see if there’s a safety net. (This feature is something to ask about in advance when making your reservation.)
- If you don’t expect any phone calls to the hotel room, unplug the phone and put it (or at least the cord) out of reach to keep your child from playing with it.
- Use rubber bands or hair scrunchies as a quick DIY fix to keep any low cabinet doors closed (loop them around the knobs).
- Tape any loose electric and phone cords to the floor and wall.
- Tape over the bathroom door lock so kids can’t lock themselves in.
- Use tape and a washcloth to cover any sharp furniture or wall corners.
- Remove plastic bags from trash cans and put the cans out of a child’s reach
- Move furniture away from windows and doors.
When traveling with small children, it pays to call ahead, ask lots of questions, and if necessary, pack a few items to ensure a hotel room is safe for your little ones. While these measures are all in the category of “better safe than sorry,” with a little advance planning and a small amount of on-the-ground prep you will be able to enjoy your vacation in your home-away-from home without worrying about any lurking dangers.
Featured image by ljubaphoto / Getty Images
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