Friday, September 16, 2005

Baby Proofing a Hotel Room

By Christina VanGinkel

Baby proofing your home and other places that you will be spending time with your infant or young child is an important issue. Sadly, it is one that though of utmost importance, often becomes overlooked accept for the most glaring atrocities. Latches on cabinets, plug in covers, gates on stairwells, etc. Yet, if you do stay vigilant, you can be assured that you are saving both your child and yourself from harm and heartache. Baby proofing when you are traveling is just as important as the steps taken at home, and there are definitive steps to take when staying in a hotel.

A recent phone call I received from my daughter brought this problem for parents to the front of my thoughts, especially in regards to traveling with an infant or toddler. She is some distance away from me right now, with her husband and my grandson, in Mississippi. They are staying in a hotel in Jackson. Upon their arrival, one of the first things she noticed about the room was that its third floor window was missing a screen. While the window was located high enough that my young grandson could not reach it, she still was unnerved by it, in part she said because she knew it would bother me. She made sure the window was shut and locked, and notified the front desk. Not that she would trust a screen to keep him from falling, but that if that was amiss, what else might be in the room? She then proceeded to look around the room to do a quick assessment of any other possible problems, such as outlets needing covering, cords in awkward spots, pointy corners, glass topped tables, tipsy furniture, and blind cords that hung within reach of my grandson. She also looked around the floor area and inside of the drawers for anything left behind from a past guest that the house cleaners may have missed. She does this at every hotel she stays in, not taking the chance that something small but harmful might have been left behind. She also makes sure the toilet lid is closed at night, along with the bathroom door.

While she realizes accidents can, and do happen, she tries not to be trusting of her surroundings at the possible expense of her son. She also goes on to tell me that I worry way too much, yet she says that my constant worries when she and her siblings were small have ingrained in her a common sense approach to just being aware of her surroundings. She checks out where the exits are in any hotel they stay in, where the fire extinguishers and fire alarms are, and does things like making sure exterior hotel doors are shut behind their entries, and never walking around the hotel alone. A little extra caution when staying in a hotel away from baby's normal environment can go a long way towards ensuring that they are in a safe place. Take the time to check out the room, get down on your hands and knees and do a baby check the same way you did at home when they first started crawling around. If something is amiss, do not hesitate to contact management to fix whatever the problem is, as it is after all, the safety of your most prized possession at stake!

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