Vacationing with Kids: Hotel Room Safety

The Caribbean Resort

Heather says:
My three children are all under six years of age. I’m not quite sure at what point children stop working hard to put themselves in imminent danger, but none of mine seem to have reached it, yet. While I travel frequently with our kids, this is the first time I’ve had to worry about a balcony.  We’re nine stories in the air and the view is gorgeous, but my stomach flips when I think of the kids wandering out of the hotel room. Even with a sturdy railing, my imagination is on overdrive. Of course, I keep the doors locked, but I’ve taken the extra step of placing the furniture in the bathroom,  just in case.

The second is a danger not limited to highrise hotels. With three very mobile kids, we’re not always headed in the same direction. I would love to say with a flip my hair and assure the world that my children are angels who always listen and obey my every word. Reality is we try, but sometimes, especially in busy situations my older boys are capable of zipping out of sight in the blink of an eye. Each morning I tuck a card with my name, cell phone number, and our room number into their pocket. They both know to ask an adult, preferably a mom for help if they get lost. As we are out of town, this helps ensure we could be reunited quickly in case of separation.

How do you cope with child safety in the unusual circumstances that often accompany travel?

Heather is sharing pics on Flickr and her personal blog.
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  1. sam on July 3, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Keeping kids safe is definitely hard, I know that I always sit my kids down and remind them of any dangers that I think are present (low railings, sharp corners etc..) but when traveling I really just keep them under an extra watchful eye and hope for the best, because after all you cant protect them forever.

  2. Vacations MAX Blog » Blog Archive » Vacations with Kids: Hotel Room Safety | Home Ec 101 on April 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm

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  3. Carol on April 1, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I like the idea of the card in their pocket with their information on. One idea I read suggested getting a pet id tag made at the big chain pet store, and put that on them, attached to a belt loop or on a chain that sits below their shirt, or tucked into the laces of their sneaker, so it is there and visable, but not readable.

    Also, check with your hotel, some of them have special locks you can have installed on the door, so it can’t be opened by anyone. We went to Niagara Falls, had a gorgeous view, but the door just opened to bars, not even a balcony. I had the door bolted shut by maintence before dinner that night.

  4. Marybeth at on April 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Always, always, always request a room on the second floor. Yes, it’s fun to have a few and enjoy a balcony, but my first thought is safety. Balconies are dangerous, and it’s much easier to escape from a fire when on a low floor.

  5. Melissa on April 1, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Don’t forget to check the room for odd things that shouldn’t be there! I don’t have children, but the last time I stayed in a hotel with my dog, she found a half-full can of Skoal chewing tobacco under the television cabinet.

  6. Kristin on April 1, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I FLIP OUT over balconies! I am very afraid of heights (I don’t even like being close to the railing on the 2nd floor of the mall!), but have 2 little girls (and a husband!) that aren’t. Typically he watches them if we are anywhere near a ledge, and I have to leave the room or I go crazy. I like the idea of moving a chair or desk in front of the sliding door – I will try that on our next trip.

  7. Mom of three on April 1, 2009 at 8:43 am

    We always ask for a first floor room. But it’s probably too late for that now. 🙂

    Mine are older and I assure you traveling with teenagers is no easier than traveling with two year olds. Teenagers can find so much more to get into (think drugs, sex, Natalie Hollaway). We sit ours down as soon as we get there and plan a safe place for them to go if they get lost. In any store, we have a special cash register that we go to if we get separated. The kids know they go to that cash register, even here at home.

    While at Disney a few years ago, #3, who was in Kindergarten left the bathroom while I was still going. When I came out, she was no where to be found. I totally freaked out, running from store to store. There she came down the sidewalk, with a maintenance man in tow, saying there’s my mom, I told you she was lost. She’d seen a video in the hotel that morning that told her what to do if she got lost at Disney, and she’d done exactly that. We were separated for under 5 minutes, but she was totally calm and collected as she lectured me for getting lost. 🙂 So telling them what to do and where to go can save their lives.

  8. Cathy on April 1, 2009 at 8:38 am

    We did the card in the pocket thing in Disney World – and we would point out workers any chance we got – soon my son was able to recognize someone who worked there and would randomly ask workers, “Do you work here?” Luckily, most of them in Disney World don’t get too frustrated with a 4 year olds questions.

    Whenever we go somewhere I take a picture of the kids with either my phone or camera – so that if something were to happen I know exactly what they were wearing and I have a VERY recent picture to share with those trying to help.

  9. Angela on April 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

    I have never had to deal with a balcony, but at night make sure all doors out of the room are deadbolted. If your child has to get up in the night you do not want them mistaking the out door as the bathroom or connecting door.

    If there is a pool: one of you and more then one of them, make sure they have life jackets on. They can “fall” of the side far too fast.

  10. DC Becca on April 1, 2009 at 3:13 am

    I like your idea of tucking the info card in their pockets…..I guess you could also use a Crayola marker to write your phone number on their body somewhere (which, I know, sounds unusual…..but why not?)

    We had this experience in the exact same town you are in last year. We were on the 7th floor and I could actually picture, in my head, my children falling off the balcony. I was never afraid of heights until I had kids….now I am so afraid of them FOR THEM that it gives my tummy butterflies everytime it is an issue.

    We just went to the Grand Canyon for a two day trip with the 3 and 4 year old. The Grand Canyon is a big old hole in the ground that anyone could easily fall into, unsupervised. We kept them on us AT ALL TIMES, no exceptions. They held our hands, tightly. When they got tired WE STOPPED. Kids came before any photos or needs of mine or my husband’s. It was nerve wracking but, luckily, our girls were good little tourists who minded mom and dad.

    While we were there we so COUNTLESS children under the age of 13 out beyond the fences…..dangerously close to the rim. Their parents were taking photos of them out there…or no where to be found! THE HORROR! I, literally, had to stop myself from telling other people’s children to get their butts back on this side of the fence.

    The key, when traveling, is to take a photo of your child as soon as they are dressed….so JUST IN CASE you have a picture of what they looked like THAT DAY and exactly what they were wearing. (We do this when the boys fly back to visit their mom for breaks). If you lose them indoors…notify security ASAP so they can watch the doors. If you lose them outdoors…call for help as soon as you can. Better safe than sorry.

    Being a parent is the most nervous occupation I have ever had, a lot of us probably feel the same way. They give us many mini-heart attacks throughout a week, but I suppose that is our lot!?

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