Our frog family is always excited to hit the road for an adventure. Whether we are hopping to the theme parks, the ski slopes or a new tourist destination, we always take precautions to keep our family safer while away from our frog pond. We don't just plan for some good ol' froggy fun, we also plan for safety! Whether you're staying at a luxury resort or roadside motel, keep your family out of harm's way with these steps to hotel safety for kids.
Taking steps to keep children safe in hotels can be helpful in preventing injuries or emergencies. They also prepare you for the unexpected. If each family member is made aware of what to do in case of an emergency, he or she is likely to remain calm and solve the problem rather than panic. A little prep and planning always go a long way in making everyone feel secure and safer in their temporary home away from home.
15 Steps to Hotel Safety for Kids
1. Scan the room for hazards
As soon as you arrive at your lodging, do a quick visual scan of the room to look for safety hazards such as balcony doors and small objects (i.e., choking hazards). Small objects could be under the beds and curtains. Also, keep away lamps and cords that could be dangerous to children under 3. If you're concerned about outlets, bring painter’s tape or plastic plug covers. Keep active toddlers away by using painter’s tape (which does not leave residue) to secure items or keep drawers shut. You can also tape shut the minibar to keep sweets from children while preventing additional charges to your room. You may even be able to lock it. Some hotels such as Marriott offer outlet covers, nightlights, toiletries, bibs and bedding for babies to make your stay easier and safer. Just inquire about these amenities when booking. Some hotels provide infant tubs or you can also bring an inflatable tub for bath time safety.
2. Follow crib safety
Call the hotel in advance and request a crib or playpen if needed. Ask what type of crib they offer. If it has slats, there should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart to prevent injury. Inspect the crib for holes in mesh or missing slats. Do not use bulky bedding. Bring your own crib sheet and light baby blankets to remind your little one of home and prevent suffocation. Position the crib away from cords, lamps and televisions or from any objects that could fall on the baby in case of an accident or an earthquake.
3. Do a door check
Secure the deadbolt and safety latch whenever you are inside your hotel room. This keeps children from leaving and others from entering. If there is a balcony door or even a ground-level slider, secure any high latches so your children cannot go out there without you. When you leave the room, always double check that the door is locked to prevent theft. Make sure an adult is the last to shut the door as children are likely to leave doors unsecured. If someone knocks, teach your children to ask who is it instead of automatically opening the door. If there is a door to an adjoining room, make sure it is locked from your side for added hotel safety.
4. Use the hotel safe
Secure passports, credit cards, jewelry, cameras, devices or any items of value in a hotel safe. Stow away laptops. Store treasured comfort items like a favorite blanket or stuffed animal in your luggage when you leave the room. Check the beds every morning (and especially upon checking out) for personal items and secure them during the day. If they make it into hotel laundry you may never see them again.
Once, upon checking into a hotel, we were given a key to our room. When we opened the door, someone else’s luggage was in it! They gave us the key to someone else’s room! This made us realize that this could also happen to us, so we started securing our belongings and bolting the door whenever we are in the room.
5. Discuss elevator safety with children
Elevators toadally worry me! I fear that we could get separated if Lily jumped on an elevator without us or if she somehow get trapped by a crowd and did not make it on or off with us. We discuss elevator safety with our children to prevent this. We also hold doors open until we have everyone accounted for.
Tell your children that if they ever get on an elevator without you, to stay in the elevator until the doors open and they see you again. If you are staying in a hotel with 50 floors you can imagine the nightmare if your child make an exit onto a random floor. But if you push the button, eventually the elevator will come back, so stay put and your child should return to you fairly quickly. There are usually house phones located near elevators so you can call the hotel to alert them to the missing child. Tell your child in advance that if they accidentally exit with a crowd on the wrong floor that they should stay put and you will return to them in the elevator. Hold hands on the elevator if you see others entering so you do not become separated.
6. Prevent separation and have a plan to get help
Aside from elevators, you could also get separated elsewhere in the hotel. That’s why when you talk to your kids about hotel safety, you should discuss how to find an employee. Point out uniforms and name tags. Tell them if they can’t find you to go to an employee for help. This also works well with theme park safety and other public spaces. We taught our kids at preschool age our phone numbers by singing them into a tune they could remember. If they can sing your phone number (with area code) to the employee, you might get reunited quicker.
7. Store the hotel phone number in your phone
Grab some business cards to the hotel upon check-in. The phone number, address and hotel name will come in handy if you need to tell a driver the address or if you forget how to get back and need to put the address into a directions app. Add the actual hotel phone number to your contacts in case of an emergency. It can be challenging to find the hotel number online in an emergency because websites often provide a reservations number instead. Having a business card is especially helpful if you are in a foreign country and have a language barrier to communicating with a driver. Just hand them the card and you should be on your way.
8. Teach your children how to use a hotel phone
With the prevalent use of cellphones, landlines are increasingly more confusing to children, and a hotel phone is even more foreign with different buttons. Show them how to reach the front desk or make an outgoing call. You never know if something happens to you they may need to call for help. Hopefully they do not use it to order ice cream from room service!
9. Stay clean
We frogs certainly do not consider ourselves germophobes, but we do take steps to stay clean and healthy in a hotel room. Studies have found the hotel remote control to be crawling with bacteria and the dirtiest thing in the room. We travel with plastic freezer bags and sandwich bags because they always come in handy, so we drop the remote in a bag (or even a hotel shower cap if we forget the bags) for safer handling. Wiping it down helps too. Move trashcans out of reach for crawlers and toddlers. Bring sippy cups or plastic cups for drinking. Those glasses and mugs sometimes do not leave the hotel room to get sanitized. Housekeeping may just use the bathroom sink to give them a rinse. You don’t know the history of those glasses, so use your own reusable containers, water bottles or cups. When traveling with sippy cups and bottles, we bring a bottlebrush and a travel size dish soap to keep everything squeaky clean.
10. Don’t let the bedbugs bite
Inspect the hotel room for bedbugs before unpacking. These tiny, oval-shaped wee beasties are from 1 to 7 mm long and reddish brown. A tell-tale sign of them is dark blood spots. Peel back sheets and blankets and inspect the corners and seams of mattresses. You can use the flashlight app on your phone. Also check the sheets as well as the seams and folds of furniture. If you do discover some, leave the room immediately. The skin reaction to the bites can be severe and may include itching, redness, swelling, blisters or hives. Plus, you do not want to take any of these freeloading parasites home with you because they are difficult to remove.
11. Bring a nightlight
It can be disorienting to wake up in complete darkness in the middle of the night. Consider bringing a dim nightlight if this is a concern. This also helps in finding your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night without getting bumped around. Keeping a nightlight in the bathroom keeps you from turning on the bright light in the night and risk waking up the whole family.
12. Ask for a refrigerator
Request a hotel room with a fridge, if possible. Having a fridge keeps your milk cold and other foods from spoiling. Having a mini-fridge can also mean saving money on breakfast. You can bring cereal and milk to the hotel (along with bowls and spoons) and feed kids in the room before heading out for your day.
13. Travel with a first aid kit
We always replenish out first-aid kit before each trip. It seems that on every trip we need to open it up for something, be it a bandage, antibiotic cream, tweezers for splinters, cold packs, pain or fever relievers, or an antihistamine for a bug bite. Add baby or kid strength medicine to the kit if traveling with little ones.
14. Be vigilant
Do not yell out your room number in public spaces, keep your room key secure in a bag at all times and do not let younger children roam around unsupervised. Never leave small children alone in the hotel room and keep them with you at all times. Watch your children in the hotel pool, beachfront or in arcades. Escort them to public restrooms on the property. While you do not need to be paranoid, you do have to be careful and exercise good judgment. You can allow teens and tweens to buddy up to explore on their own after giving them some ground rules.
15. Review the evacuation plan
In every hotel room there is an emergency plan with a diagram for finding exits and staircases. Take a look at it and locate the nearest exits. Most likely you will never need to use it, but it is good to be mentally prepared in case of fire or other emergency. Count the number of doors to the staircase just in case. Being familiar and knowing the exit points can help you remain calm and get to safety. If there is smoke, get low and crawl under the smoke to the exits.
So there you have it, froggy friends! Now that you know some hotel safety basics, it's time to have fun! Did you know that Undercover Tourist offers discounts on hotel rooms? Let’s hop to it and book that hotel stay. And if you have any helpful safety tips for staying in a hotel with babies or children, share them in comments below.