Numerous time I enter the hotel room and realize it was not suitable for my kids. So I came up with the following plan to baby proof on vacation.
Here’s the list of essential childproofing items you could need!
Tips to baby proof on vacation
1. Remove all breakables items
Look for any fancy decor item, china plates, glass, crystal, and expensive books. A curious toddler could easily break all those beautiful items. If you don’t want to pay for broken vases, put them out of your kid reach. I would also advise you get rid of all tablecloths, which your kid could pull down with everything on it.
2. Remove all small objects
Scan the room for any small items that your baby could put in his mouth. Remove anything small; push-pins, staples, bolts, magnets on the refrigerator, etc. All of those tiny objects could be choking hazards.
3. Remove all plastic bags
Plastic bags are also a choking hazard, and they should always be kept out of kid’s reach. It’s especially important when you are staying at the hotel because the hotel room can contain many types of plastic bags. Look in the garbage can, in the bathroom, in the closet and even in the mini bar.
4. Cover electric outlets
Unprotected electric outlets are a danger to your toddler. Use outlet protectors or tape to secure the electrical outlets. You can also use your suitcases or a piece of furniture to block the outlets.
5. Secure loose wires
Loose electrical wires are strangulation hazards to your children. He could also pull on the cord and receive the lamp or the alarm clock on his head. Try to hide the wires behind the furniture and use tape or tie-wrap to secure the cables. Make sure your kid can’t roll the cord around his hand.
6. Check for sharp corners
Your kid could cut-open his forehead by bumping on a kitchen island or countertop, as well as low furniture, like TV stand. The best solution would be to install safety bumpers on the sharp edges. But you could also use tape (a lot of layers) or a washcloth to soften the corners. In last resort, you could use your luggage as a barrier.
7. Say no to jumping on the hotel bed
As a kid, the first thing I would do when I saw my new bed is to jump on it. I must admit that I still do it. But, it’s dangerous, and you must teach your kid about the risk of jumping on the bed. Hotel beds are exceptionally high from the ground, and there’s a lot of furniture around them. The chances of getting hurt are too high.
8. Remove heavy, loose and breakable wall hanging
Your kids could get seriously injured if the picture frame falls on his head. Sometimes wall hangings are not 100% secure, and they break easily, especially if they are made of glass. At first, you should test and see if they are secured. If not, remove them or ask the staff to remove them.
I’m sure the hotel staff can quickly put them back on the wall if they were loose in the first place.
9. Make sure the TV is stable
In my experience, TV screen and kids fingers are a love match. But if the TV is not stable enough, it could fall and do serious harm. If it’s not your kid, it could be the TV itself who’s at risk. Both options are not desirable.
You could change it’s location in the room or ask the hotel staff to take it away from the room completely.
You could also use a free-standing baby gate to block access. If you don’t have access to a portable gate, use your luggage to create a barrier in front of the TV stand.
10. Remove furniture away from under the windows
Your kid could climb on the furniture and try to play with the window. If the window is open, it could lead to a severe fall. If you can’t remove the furniture, make sure the window is close and lock.
If you still need the window to open, you can install an adhesive latch to keep the opening to a 4-inch maximum. The last-minute DIY solution would be to put tape over the window lock, to keep it from opening.
11. Make sure the crib is secure
Inspect the crib to make sure it follows the current safety standards. Therefore, you should check for broken or loose parts. Plus, the slats should have a maximum of 3 inches apart to keep your baby from getting trapped.
If the crib is not suitable, you can always use the playpen you brought with you.
The crib should be away from heaters or windows, to prevent your baby from overheating. Additionally, make sure no loose wires or small object could be reached from inside the crib.
For more information about crib safety standards, I recommend you take a look at this ultimate crib safety checklist I created.
12. Make sure your kid’s bed is secure
To prevent your kid from rolling out of his bed, you can always add a bed rail. This guard rail is particularly useful if the bed is higher than the one your kid have at home. If you don’t have a bed rail, you can use pillows or chairs to create a guard fence.
Additionally, you could use the extra pillows to create a soft landing in case your kid roll over from his bed.
13. Unplug all small appliances or electrical devices
If you are not using the coffee machine or the blow dryer, it an excellent idea to unplug them. Your kid could activate them by accident and get burnt or electrocuted. Moreover, he could pull on the cords and catch it with his pretty face.
Take the time to unplug those small appliances or electrical devices.
14. Make sure the dishwasher is secure
A dishwasher contains shapes object and toxic cleaners. That’s why I never let my kids play around an open dishwasher, and I would encourage you to do the same.
You can use an adhesive latch to childproof the dishwasher door.
Additionally, you should advise every occupant of the house to load the dishwasher in a way your kid is not at risk. This mean, the knives should be placed with the handle up, and the dishwasher liquid or tablets should be added only when its time to start the cleaning cycle.
15. Make sure the stove is secure
Kids love to explore, and if they see something new to play with, you bet they will give it a try. It could be the case with the stove at the Airbnb apartment you rent.
To quickly childproof the stove, you can take the knob off and place them in a cabinet, out of your kid’s reach. Without the knob, the oven can’t be ignited, and it will also look less attractive to your kid eyes.
Furthermore, you could fence the kitchen access with the portable baby gate.
16. Make sure the garbage can is out of baby’s reach
The garbage can is full of germs or small objects your kid could chock on. It’s not a place for children to play. You can lock it with an adhesive latch or use tape. Otherwise try to put it higher up, out of your kid reach.
17. Secure all doors
Cabinets and interior doors are a well know source of bumps on the head and pinch fingers. While exterior doors have more severe consequence, especially the door leading to the balcony or the pool.
All those doors should be secure. To do so, you can install proper door knob covers, door cushions, and adhesive latches.
But if you don’t have those items you can create a temporary DIY solution. For example, side-by-side cabinets doors can be attached with elastic bands. Doorknob cover or door stopper could be replaced by a towel on the top of the door.
For more information on how to secure a door, you should take a look at this complete guide I created on how to childproof doors.
18. Secure all windows
Windows are a severe risk of fall and every year kids are sent to the ER because they fall from a window. Remember, the window screen is not strong enough to hold a child, and you must never rely on them.
Keep windows closed if possible or lock them with an adhesive latch.
Likewise, remove any furniture on which your kid could climb to reach the window.
19. Secure the balcony
If your kid has access to the balcony make sure the railing is tall enough so your kid cannot climb on it. Some cities have different regulation for balcony, and you must never take the safety of a guardrail for granted. Even at the hotel.
Inspect the spacing between each rail to see if it’s not too wide. If your kid could pass between the rails, you must consider installing a deck guard or chicken wire to secure it.
Ultimately, remove any furniture or chair that your kid could be tempted to climb on.
To keep your children safe, you should install a safety Railnet along the railing of your stairs or balcony.
20. Secure curtain cords
A loose cord is a severe strangulation risk to your children. Therefore, you should check the window for any drapery or curtain cords. Tie them out of your kid reach. You can also use tie wrap or tape to secure the cables high enough.
21. Secure the fireplace
If you plan on using the fireplace or wood burning stoves, you must find a way to guard it. You could install a freestanding gate in front. Or use something as a barrier to keep your kid away.
22. Keep the bathroom door close
There’s too much going on inside a bathroom and too many options to get hurt. You should not let your kid play alone in the bathroom.
Keep the soaps and glasses out of your kid reach. Also, put all medicines and vitamins in a child-proof container, and on a shelf or cabinets out of reach.
23. Don’t let your kid play with hot water
Maybe at home, your kid is washing his hand by himself, and it’s a good thing. But, before letting your kid use the hot water, you should test the temperature to see if it’s too hot.
24. Make sure the backyard and playground are secure
The backyard of your rental could also contain hazardous items, and you should do a sweep of the zone. Check for small and sharps objects, like nails, glass, shell or metal container. Also, watch out for openings where your kid could get trapped.
If the backyard has access to a pond, lake or beach, make sure it’s appropriately fenced. You don’t want your little explorer to be playing in the water without your supervision. Drowning can happen in as little as 2 inches deep of water.
25. Make sure the pool is secure
If you have access to a pool, make sure your kid can’t play around without adult supervision. The pool should be fenced and gated by a closed door.
If the pool is not secure, you should consider renting a temporary fence from a fencing company. A less expensive solution would be to create a kid’s safe area with a rounded baby gate.
To learn more on childproofing a door, you should check out this article I wrote about childproofing doors. Also, I suggest you check the different types of safety gates in this other article I wrote.
26. Check out for wild animals
If your kid has access to a backyard, check for any wild animals who could have a nest in the surrounding. Your children could get attacked if the animal feels threatened. Also, diseases like rabies can be given from animals to humans. Plus some animals, like snakes, could be poisonous.
If you do find animals in the backyard, don’t try to remove them, because you will be putting your self at risk. Just advise your kid on where he can play or not and always keep an eye on him.
In my opinion, this is where a baby monitor with cameras might be useful.
27. Protect your kid for insects
If you are traveling into a new country, you must be aware of potentially infected insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and ticks. They also carry diseases which can be transmitted to humans.
Apply insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin (Picardin) on exposed skin.
28. Inspect the environment from your child’s perspective
The best solution is to scan the environment from your child point of view. It could mean to crawl around and look for potentially hazardous items. I’m sure you will find more things to secure this way.
If you completed the previous 28 tips, you are good to go, and there’s no need to over think it! If you’d like a printable version to carry with you, I you download the PDF version.
Helpful items for a childproof vacation
Some of the following items are essentials to childproof a hotel room, and I recommend you to pack them in your luggage. Some items are also nice to have, depending on where you will be staying at and the age of your kid.
I have identified the essentials with the symbol:
⭐⭐: Don’t leave home without it
⭐: Very useful
29. Duct tape or painter’s tape ⭐⭐
This is not a joke. Duct tape is the Swiss Army knife to baby proof on vacation. You can use it to cover electric outlets, shortening blind cords, attach loose wires, soften sharp corners, secure the TV, lock the toilet seat, and keep windows closed.
Every location is different, and I’m pretty sure that duct tape can be useful in many situations.
If you are worried that it could damage the surface, you can always use painter tape.
30. Travel baby proofing kit ⭐
A travel baby proofing kit contains all the proper childproofing materials you need to secure the most critical stuff.
- Doorknob covers
- Electric outlet covers
- Adhesive latch guards
- Doors and cabinets locks
- Anti door slammers
You could also buy them separately, depending on your need.
31. Baby monitor ⭐⭐
A baby monitor is very useful to watch over your kid when it’s bedtime or for afternoon naps. Especially if you are on vacation and you don’t want to go to bed at the same time as your kid.
If you want my advice on which baby monitor is the best for you, check out this list I created of the top baby monitors.
32. Baby gate ⭐
A portable pressure safety gate or roll mech gate is handy to block access to specific rooms or areas. Therefore, a travel gate is perfect to bring in vacation, because they can fold or roll and fit into your luggage.
Remember that a pressure gate is not recommended to block a staircase or an exterior door.
If you need help choosing the right gate for your trip, I suggest you check out this guide I put together with all the information on safety gates you need to know.
33. Playpen ⭐
A playpen is very useful in vacation with a baby or toddler. It will be convenient to sleep at night or for the daytime nap, as you can move it around the house with you. Your child could also play inside the playpen will you are cooking dinner.
In my experience, the playpen was very handy until my kids were almost two years old and they could climb out.
34. Portable play yard
The portable play yard is a mix of a playpen and a baby gate. It will create a safe zone where your kid can play. They can be used inside or outside the house.
35. Play Tent
If you are planning to be outside at the park or the beach, a play mat with sunshade might be the best solution to keep your baby safe. Instead of a portable play yard, you could get a play tent, where your kid can play into without getting sunburn. You can also use it for daytime naps.
36. Inflatable bed
Sometimes beds in hotel rooms are a bit too tall for toddlers, and it can be dangerous if they roll out. So why not bringing an inflatable toddler bed. It will give you the peace of mind you need to get a good night of sleep, without continuously been worried that your kid will fall. Plus, your kid will love it.
37. Deck Guard
Maybe you have access to a balcony from your hotel room are the Airbnb you rent come with a nice porch. If your planning to spend time enjoying the view with your little one you should secure the railing with a deck guard. It can easily be folded into your luggage.
38. Portale high chair
There’s a good chance the place where you will be staying at will not have a proper high chair. To avoid mealtime stress, you can pack a portable high chair into your luggage. It can fold so you can bring it into your purse if you go to the restaurant too.
39. Inflatable life jacket
Another good thing to consider if you are going on vacation with kids is to bring a life jacket. The proper life jacket can be a little bit too bulky to put in your luggage, but you could get away with inflatable a life jacket.
Life jacket or not, I would recommend you always keep an eye on your child, even with the life jackets.
40. Portable door lock and alarm
If you don’t feel 100% safe with the location you will be staying at; you can always bring extra peace of mind with you.
First, I would suggest bringing a door lock that can be added to any door. You can insert it between the door frame, and it will lock from the inside of the room.
Also, a portable door alarm could be useful to warn you in case someone tries to come in.
41. GPS tracker
If your kid attempts to escape while you are at the beach or the mall and you can’t find it, you’ll be glad that you brought a GPS tracker.
They come in two formats, one is a wearable watch, and the other is a device you slide in his pockets or shoe. It will be connected to your smartphone, and you can see exactly where your kid is on the GPS map.
I would use one if I were visiting a crowded area or event. Especially in a country where my kid doesn’t speak the language. I can’t imagine losing sight of my kid while visiting Hong Kong or Sao Paulo.
To learn more about wearable tracker and their safety, I suggest you read this article I wrote about GPS Smartwatch for kids.
42. Glow sticks
If you are planning on being outside with your kids in the evening, you could bring wearable glow stick. It’s no joke. If your kid is wearing a glow stick neckless, you will be able to see him quickly, even in the dark.
If you are often traveling with your kids, I would suggest you keep all your travel accessories in one bag, ready to go. Or you can download this checklist, print it, and make sure you go everything you need.
Before you leave, I strongly recommend you…
43. Check the hotel website or call
You can plan by consulting the hotel website and check if they have a kid’s friendly room. If you don’t find all the answers to your question, you could call and talk to the hotel manager.
Here’s some information you might want to know before you arrive:
- Do you have access to a balcony from the room?
- Is the furniture safe for children? Any glass door or sharp edge?
- Is the TV mounted on the wall?
- Any heavy decor item on the wall?
- Is there a fireplace and do they have a safety gate?
- Do they have a kid’s bed with guard rail?
- If the crib meets the safety standards?
- Can you open the windows and what is the size of the opening?
- Do they have a life jacket for the pool
You can also ask if they have baby proofing item or if you need to bring yours. For example baby gates, electric outlets covers, bumper, etc.
44. Let them know you are coming with children
If you are a guest at someone’s house, in addition to letting them know you are coming with children, you can ask them to remove any breakable objects. They will appreciate your concern for the safety of their porcelain collection.
Have a safe vacation!
You can childproof your hotel room in less than 15 minutes. And it can be even simpler if you call the hotel in advance and let them secure the room. The same principles apply if you rent an apartment on Airbnb or if you are staying at someone’s house.
By doing so, your kid will have more freedom to play around, and you can appreciate your vacation. Having to follow every step of your kid in an unsecured environment is stressful. All that stress can be avoided if you follow these tips.