The summer vacation season is fast approaching and many families with young children are preparing to travel. Whether you’re staying at a luxury hotel or a roadside motel, you can keep your family safe by taking a few precautions.
If you have small children, pediatrician Dr. Pilar Bradshaw says, as soon as you arrive in your hotel room, get down on your child’s level and do a safety sweep.
“If you have little kids or cruising toddlers, get down on the floor and do the crawl through,” she says. “Look for every dangerous thing at your child’s eye level because I guarantee the child will find it.”
Things to watch for
You’ve evaluated your own home for safety and taken preventive steps. However, in a new, unfamiliar place, it’s a good idea to go through a safety checklist.
- Beware of outlets, cords and edges. Consider taking a few inexpensive electrical outlet covers with you, as well as twist ties or tape to secure electrical and drapery cords.
- To prevent furniture and TV tip-overs, push TVs away from the edge of their stands to make them harder for little hands to reach.
- Can your child reach the doorknob? Ensure they can’t leave the room unattended. Always secure the deadbolt and safety latch whenever you are inside your room and secure balcony doors.
- Have a fire plan. Know where the exits and stairs are, just in case—and decide on a meeting place outside the hotel.
If the hotel has a pool, be on guard that your child stays a safe distance away and doesn’t swim without supervision.
“If you are at a hotel with a pool, many of those hotels do not have their pools fenced,” Dr. Bradshaw says. “They often don’t have a lifeguard, so if your child is in the pool or near the pool, make sure you have them within arm’s distance.”
Just like at home, hotel or motel bathrooms also pose water dangers, so be sure to shut that door to help keep out your young child.
There are additional safety steps to consider as well, including a discussion of elevator safety and developing a plan of what to do if you and your child should become separated during your stay.
Don’t forget sleeping safety
Even if the hotel room has a crib, you’re probably better off bringing your own, Dr. Bradshaw says.
“I recommend that you take your own portable crib,” she says. “Don’t count on the one that might be at the hotel because you want to be sure that what your child is sleeping in is up to current safety standards. It’s so important.”
It’s also important that before you leave on your trip, make sure that you pack carefully and secure items that could be dangerous to your child, Dr. Bradshaw says. “Notice that in your bag you probably have some medications or sharp razors or other things that little kids rifling through your bag might get into and get themselves into big trouble.”