Given the current trend for writing articles in the form of lists I was aiming for a piece entitled Ten Top Tips for Baby-Proofing Your Hotel Room but I came up with eleven. Safety wins over style.
Speaking of safety, you’ve reached your hotel room (phew!) and the journey is finally over. However, before you unpack and settle in, take a few minutes to quickly scan your room and use these top tips to make a secure and risk free environment for you and the kids.
1. Clear the decks! Remove anything from around the room that looks breakable/hazardous. Store it out of reach or ask for it to be taken away.
2. Check the stability of the furniture. Televisions and shelves might not be fixed down and so unsafe for climbers and clamberers.
3. Speaking of mini mountaineers, move furniture away from below windows and balcony edges.
4. Cover any unused electrical sockets with a socket safety cover. If you don’t have the correct covers for the socket shape ask the hotel reception to provide them or block off with tape.
5. Once you have explained what the bidet is to your bemused toddler bear in mind it has accessible taps and often a hot water one. If your little one is a fan of water play you can ask the hotel to turn the water off.
6. Be aware of radiators and towel warming racks in the bathroom as they can be extremely hot to touch.
7. Check for blind and curtain cords that the children could get caught up in. Tie them up out of reach (the blind cords not the kids) and let your hotel know that they are a risk (again, the blind cords, not the kids!).
8. Look under beds, in drawers and other unlikely places. It’s amazing what you will find. We once found a plate of the previous occupant’s dinner under the bed … ugh! Look closely and get down to the kids’ level as you need to make sure there is nothing a child can choke on or ingest e.g. a dropped pill, small pin. You don’t want your holiday to start with a trip to the emergency room.
9. Whilst we are talking about medication, remember to remove and store away safely any items from your suitcase you would normally keep out of reach of the children. Suitcases are fun to rummage around and often kept at a level the kids can reach in hotel rooms.
10. Ensure that the latch/chain on the front door works. Children are fascinated by new doors (and the big wide world outside them) so make sure they can’t escape. Also, hotel doors always seems to be heavy and you don’t want little fingers getting caught in them. Check what kind of locks the bathroom/connecting doors have. Can the kids lock themselves in a room accidentally?
11. Read the emergency exit route, normally posted on the back of the door. If an alarm sounds, you will want to be confident about leading your family to safety despite your sleepy jet-lagged state. Before the family hits the sack ensure there is a clear route to the door, no towels, toys or travel bags blocking your escape path.
It’s harder to baby-proof in an unfamiliar environment, so hopefully these tips will help in hotels and other places you stay. Wherever you are, keep an eye on the kids. Undoubtedly they will lead you to the hazards you haven’t spotted yet!