Five tips to help keep your little ones safe in a home away from home.
Five tips to help keep your little ones safe in a home away from home
Just because you have an energetic toddler or young kids doesn’t mean that everyone you visit needs to batten down the hatches. Be prepared, carry your own arsenal of kid-safe tools and ease everyone's safety fears.
Scope out the space.
As soon as the shoes come off, give the room a once-over for anything that could be attractive to little ones. Look for the obvious (vases on tables, electrical outlets, long and loose cords or wires), to the hidden (objects on the floor under couches that can be swallowed, pet bowls). If you plan on staying a while, request a house tour. This gives you the opportunity to check out potentially hazardous areas in the home. And remember, your hosts want your kids (and their stuff) to stay safe, so speak up if you think a prized possession needs to be moved out of harm’s way.
Create a contained environment.
The less area your child can cover, the less temptation they’ll have to touch things they shouldn’t. Place a chair in front of stairs, a doorway — whatever you want to section off. If that area has loose wires or a raised fireplace, create a barrier by covering them with seat cushions or pillows. You can also leave spring-loaded baby gates in the car, and pull them out when visiting relatives. These don’t require installation or make marks on walls, so they leave no trace behind when you're ready to leave. Look for portable gate options like North States Supergate Portable Travel Gate.
Keep them busy.
Bring along enough toys that will keep their little hands, and minds busy. Books, crayons, sensory toys and puzzles are all great diversions. Once they’ve tired of their toys, or if you have more than one kiddie on the go, rotate child-watch duty: Mommy takes the first 25 minutes, then it’s daddy’s turn. This way each of you can converse with your host without being distracted.
B.Y.O.G. (Bring Your Own Gear)
Travel with a portable safety kit, and don’t be afraid to think D.I.Y. Throw in a few electrical outlet covers (they’re small and convenient) - non-marking masking tape can also be used to cover outlets, pad sharp corners, tamp down wayward wires and keep doors and cupboards shut. Twist ties, pipe cleaners, elastic bands, and hair ties are also great for keeping cupboards closed and bundling long cords.
Do your research for long-term visits
Before you book the hotel, take a close look at the pictures online. Is it kid-friendly? Can you see the potential play area from the kitchen? Some hotels even provide childproofing equipment, or will childproof your room before you arrive. And, while you may not want to tote extra gear, some gadgets can come in handy.