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Baby Proofing Family Vacation Spaces - What to Know Before You Go. Make your list and check it twice. Vacationing babies and toddlers can be challenging. Just remembering the baby stuff and toddler toys is enough to make any sane person think twice about leaving home.Baby Proofing Your Family Vacation Space

Here's the scoop. But parents need a break and babies are fairly flexible if their basic needs  are met so why not make plans to getaway with the baby. The actual travel time and ensuing vacation experience will need fine tuning in order to be  enjoyable - meaning stress free and rejuvenating. Just as parents provide a safe home environment  the same needs to happen in a vacaiton space. Eliminating reasons to shout no to your baby or toddler will increase harmony and improve the odds of a stress free holiday. I have a few suggestions  to make the process easier.

Create safe space. Childproofing your vacation space (hotel room, condo, beach house, cabin, or cottage) need only take a few minutes but may be the best time investment of your vacation.The same safe space rules that apply at home also apply to vacation spaces because being on a vacation doesn't mean that parent’s responsibilities are on a vacation as well. Few hotels recognize the needs of young families so unless you are staying at one of the savvy places it is best to be prepared.

Location, location, location. When selecting a room, request one that opens into the interior of the hotel or to a courtyard. Interior facing rooms provide more safety, and are usually quiet during nap times. With small companions often eager to get going, the coming and going is also easier to control. With condos or cabins think twice about loft space or stairways to separate sleeping areas. If the selection includes multi levels either bring a security gate or rent one.

Inspect and correct. Think of the vacation space as your home away from home and proceed to inspect and correct. But before you leave, call your hotel to see if childproofing items are available on site. The Ritz Carlton in USVI has a bellman ready to inspect along with new guests. For example: The Holiday Inn Suites Orlando has all of the bases covered not just within the unique family-friendly sleeping areas but also poolside. Novatel properties have free safe-room kits available at the desk. FDR, a delightful all-inclusive in Jamaica provides parents with a vacation nanny.Baby Proofing Family Vacation Space

Plan ahead. Luckilly most vacation rental companies provide details about vacation rental units so it is easy to determine what units work with toddlers. The three-story beach house with a great beach view, two decks, hot tub, and way too many steps may not be wortrh the stress.  Best practice is to ask about child safe rooms and spaces before leaving home. Depending on the answer supplement the efforts with your own precautions. For young companions curiosity is a given so what you will need depends entirely on the age of your children and their mobility.

Exit here. When you arrive at the sleeping space, for your own peace of mind, make a mental note the emergency exits in case of a fire. Once inside it is inspection time. That means, just like at home, one adult needs to view the space at toddler child level. Yup. It is best to get down-on-your-knees look around. Depending on the quality of housekeeping, the results are often surprising. I have found chewing gum under chairs and condoms under cushions - gross, right?

Encourage discoveries. For young companions curiosity is a given so what you will need to have peace of mind depends entirely on the age of your child/children and their mobility. Planning ahead means you won't have to spend your family vacation days repeating no!

 Home-away-from-home safe space check list.  

1. Check the floor area for small objects like hairpins, staples lost buttons.

2. Make sure that all windows and doors can be locked.

3. If your location has a balcony, make sure there is a safety net between the rails.

4. Move furniture away from the windows.

5. Make steady any unstable furniture.

6. Add protectors to tables with sharp edges and remove tablecloths.

7. Tighten knobs or pulls on drawers.

8. Clip electrical cords and cover unused outlets.

9. Move glass objects out of reach and preferably out of sight.

10.Check the water temperature from the taps.

Sleeping arrangements.  If your child requires a crib ask ahead of time what the property has available. All cribs are not equal so make sure that it is up to standards with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (For reference slats should not be more than 2 and 3/8 inches apart.) Remove extra pillows or blankets which might cause suffocation. Some hotels have sleeping alcoves for children and often these alcoves contain bunk beds. While great for older children, for toddlers upper bunk beds can pose problems. Just having a mattress on the floor may be a better option.

Content and images by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Updated copyright 2017.

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