I dont know about anyone one else but the thought of taking my kids to the house of someone who doesn’t have kids practically gives me palpitations. There seem to be infinite ways they can get hurt or cause damage. So, when you leave your childproofed home to go on vacation, it’s prudent to plan for safety … and non destruction of property/your sanity.
Keep childproofing in mind from the beginning.
If you are booking a family vacation rental home, look for single story layouts. Staircases with gaps so large your kid can fall right through? No Thanks. After selecting a place, contact the owner and inform them that you will be traveling with small children and request that they remove and store any valuable items. As soon as you arrive, move anything breakable or poisonous outside of your little ones reach.
A few months ago, one of my worst case scenarios played out.
We had just spend a month in a beautiful vacation rental home in Ko’Olina. I was packing up our bags when all of the sudden I heard a crash. I found my 20 month old baby boy standing in a sea of glass. He had pushed one of the suitcases over to the table and while trying to touch the glass piece of art, accidentally knocked it over. Thankfully, he had only a few minor scratches and was otherwise unscathed. Now for the horrible part. Apparently, the item wasn’t just something that the owner picked up at HomeGoods to make the place look nice. It was a very expensive original piece by a world renewed artist. I was SO stressed out. I thought of all the options. Can I fix this? Should I offer to pay the deductible on an insurance claim? (High property values in Hawaii meant that would have been at least 8k) Can I buy a replacement? Does my lease protect me? In the end I decided I had to fess up to the owner and go from there. By some struck of insanely great luck, the owner was SO nice about it and didn’t charge us a thing! Turns out, she’s friends with the artist and he told her he would take care of it. Don’t count on that kind of luck. In this scenario I had done my due diligence and asked the owner to store anything valuable. She moved several items into storage. The things left out I simply moved up higher where my toddlers wouldn’t be able to reach.
Learn from my mistake and move items at least twice as high as your kid can reach in case they decide to get creative.
When you check into your hotel ask them to clear the mini-bar completely – or relocate items you plan to use to a higher area. Tiny, toy like, glasses filled with alcohol are the antithesis of childproofing. You can always call room service for mini-bar items later on.
Bring Child Locks.
There are 3 options; you can use the store bought kind or improvise with elastic hair ties. I prefer the hair ties because they take up less space in my bag. Buy them before you go and carry them with you. Look through photos of your rental home/hotel and see which types of locks would work for you.Child locks are especially convenient for longer stays in vacation rentals where you really want to make yourself at home.
Watch this video to see how I use hair ties to lock cabinets:
Don’t be afraid to rearrange furniture to suit your needs.
I’ve moved plenty of chairs and storage trunks around to block off bathroom access when the door doesn’t latch.
If you’ve rented a two story accommodation, or if you want to block off a portion of the house (kitchen, bathroom that doesn’t latch, etc.) baby gates are a great option. Most countries have amazon these days so you can order the gate ahead of time and have it waiting for you when you arrive. A local charity will appreciate the donation when you leave or you can ask the home owner if they’d like to keep it for future guests.
If you leave your child in the care of another, be sure to vet your sitters.
Despite the best childproofing, kids all over the world still get hurt and it wont be the destinations fault. We do what we can to minimise the risk for serious injury or expensive damage, the rest is just part of growing up. Remember that risks/danger is actually an essential part of child development. Playing in a new environment will only be benificial in the long run…. even if they get a few boo-boos along the way.