Traveling with a baby or toddler isn’t just stressful when you’re on the road or in the air. It’s also stressful when you get to your destination.
That’s because many hotel rooms, vacation rentals and relatives’ homes aren’t childproofed, so if you’re like me, you have to spend the first few minutes after you arrive doing a quick safety assessment, throwing pillows over dangerous spots and moving furniture to block outlets.
I figured there has to be an easier way to handle trip childproofing so I turned to Alex Lund, the owner of the Bay Area-based childproofing firm, Safety Nook, that helped me childproof my home. Mr. Lund, who can relate to the dangers lurking in hotel and motel rooms as the father of a 4-year-old and 1-year-old, shared these five tips:
1.) Bring packing tape. Mr. Lund says packing tape is a quick fix for locking toilets. (And according to a 2007 TodayShow.com article by Peter Greenberg on how to childproof a hotel room, tape (he recommends duct tape) also can be used to seal windows and to create makeshift corner bumpers.)
2.) Consider removable (and travel-friendly) childproofing products. If you’re visiting the home of a relative that you’re likely to return to a bunch while your child is young, Mr. Lund recommends buying a good pressure (i.e. easily removable) gate for a guest room doorframe and leaving it at their house. “It’s well worth the investment,” he said, nothing also that there are portable travel gates on the market in Europe that fold up and fit into suitcases (like this one from Babydan).
(Meanwhile, other childproofing products also come in removable versions as well. The company Travel-Tot, for instance, offers a $35 to $40 portable childproofing kit that includes removable, and reusable, childproofing products like foam corner guards and cabinet locks.)
3.) Consider investing in a travel bed (i.e. an indoor tent for kids). Mr. Lund uses KidCo’s PeaPod Plus P4010 model to create a travel play and sleeping area for his 1-year-old in hotel rooms (on the bed or on the floor) and on camping trips (within the big family tent). It’s a “very easy tent to set up,” he says, adding that the zipper feature helps keep his younger child inside so he and his wife have a little extra time to pack and unpack.
4.) Use chairs to create a toddler bedrail. When his older daughter was about two and a half (and already sleeping in a toddler bed at home), she rolled off of a hotel bed in the middle of the night and hit her head on the nightstand, “not a fun way to wake up at 2 a.m.,” Mr. Lund remembers. So since then, he and his wife create a toddler bedrail of sorts for their older daughter, placing hotel-room chairs about six to 12 inches from the nightstand, the chair backs up against the bed.
5.) Ask for extra pillows. To complete the bed childproofing, Mr. Lund and his wife also make a little pillow bumper along the edge of the bed so their daughter would have to roll over the pillows to reach the bed edge. (Note: Only try this trick if your child is old enough to sleep near pillows, and while Mr. Lund doesn’t do anything else with pillows, I have found that pillows also work great for covering up dangerous destination spots like stone fireplace hearths.)
Finally, Mr. Lund notes that much of travel childproofing involves taking the same sorts of precautions that you take would at home, such as making sure to secure dangerous items like razor blades and medicine out of a child’s reach. Looking for more hotel room childproofing tips? Check out helpful posts on the subject on the blogs Momaboard and Jetlag and Mayhem.
What are your travel childproofing tips?