How to Baby Proof a Hotel Room
Smart tips from travel-savvy moms
You've baby proofed your nursery and toddler proofed your kitchen. But what about your hotel room? From extra-germy TV remotes to exposed outlets, hotels can pose special challenges for parents traveling with small kids.
Some of the steps you can take to protect your little ones are common-sense: Move balcony furniture well away from railings (and keep balcony doors locked). Put sharp or breakable objects out of reach. If you're using a hotel-supplied crib, make sure it's safe.
But here are some tips you might not have thought of, courtesy of folks who know what they're talking about: moms who travel a lot.
Keep it on the down-low
Ask for a first floor room, advises Corrine McDermott of Have Baby Will Travel! It won’t eliminate the need to be vigilant about keeping doors and windows locked, but “a main floor room also eliminates any risk of a fall,” she writes. “This will give your back a break when lugging kids and gear around too.”
Inspect on all fours
You never know what the previous guests may have left behind, or the housekeeping staff may have missed. On Travel-Tot.com’s blog, Destination Mom advises doing “a kid’s-eye clean sweep: “Get down on your hands and knees and explore the room from your toddler’s perspective; be sure to thoroughly check under beds and furniture for stray pills, buttons, pins, or other items that could pose a poisoning or choking hazard.”
Pack duct tape and twist ties
You could fill a small suitcase with child-proofing paraphernalia like outlet plugs and corner pads, but that would be a waste of carry-on space. According to Debbie Dubrow, founder of DeliciousBaby.com, when traveling with tots you can get away with packing duct tape or painter’s tape and twist-ties or pipe cleaners.
“Look for furniture with sharp corners. Use paper (usually available in a hotel stationary kit) and duct tape to make a cushion for each corner,” she writes. “Secure any loose cords or wires with twist-ties and duct tape. You can use twist-ties (or pipe cleaners) to “secure drape cords up where toddlers cannot reach them.”
You also can cover outlets and door locks with tape.
“You’ll need to take a quick survey of the electrical outlets and your other baby proofing hacks after every housekeeping visit to ensure that your baby proofing measures are still in place,” Dubrow adds.
To protect little fingers from getting pinched in the bathroom door, “throw a washcloth over the top of the door to prevent it from closing fully,” suggests Dubrow.
Banish bacteria and other nasty bugs
No matter how pristine your room looks, it's likely teeming with germs. That's why Destination Mom advises parents to "sanitize surfaces, door handles, faucets, remotes, phone handsets, light switches, and any other object from which your toddler could potentially contract germs with disinfecting wipes." Wiping down the TV remotes is especially important: Research has found they're one of the germiest items in hotel rooms.
(Sanitizing wipes will kill only so many germs. To really avoid the nasties, Chuck Gerba, PhD, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, suggests covering the remote with a plastic bag.)
Dubrow has one more tip: "Put the trashcan (with its germs, plastic bags, and soon your trash) out of reach."