Master J is on the move this week! I am very much having a proud mummy moment, but I am also feeling totally and utterly outnumbered and out of control. I’m sure Our Globetrotters 1 and 2 had exactly the same fetish with electrical wires at this age but how quickly we forget, even our ultra-child friendly house feels like a military assault course of death and destruction by Barbie shoes and hair clips.
So what do you do when arriving in unfamiliar territory with an unstoppable adventure tot? Entering a new hotel room can be like handing a baby an armed grenade. Now I’m not an overly precious mumma – I’m more from the ‘dirt’s good for them’ end of the spectrum – but with years of hotel room experience and mummy instinct I can baby-proof a new room in about two minutes flat (we all have our special talents).
Here are 5 quick and really easy tips to make things a little more ‘baby friendly’ on your arrival;
- Clear the surfaces, Yep everything. Those ornate vases, beautifully laid out blotter pads and courtesy pens, guest directories, in-room dining menus – grab the whole lot – anything that could possibly be in arms reach and put it in a cupboard; waiting to ‘see if junior can reach’ is like a red flag to a bull, just remove the temptation completely.
- Electrical cords are your foe. They can’t be avoided entirely but do a sweep when you enter the room; anything that looks as though it can be pulled down, try to relocate – or at worse ask housekeeping to remove particularly precarious objects during your stay. You don’t need to go overboard but do duck down to baby’s height and scan the room just as they would see it. For our own electronics, we are big fans now of just taking one converter plug with a power board attached for charging all our devices. Look for a plug if possible behind a bed or desk then put the power board up high where all your chargers etc (should!) be out of reach.
- Check balconies; whilst building regulations in most countries should require the gap between slats in a balcony railing to be smaller than a child’s head (a generally accepted rule of thumb internationally appears to be 4 inches) – many places you visit may not comply with this. Make a quick assessment (you don’t need to pack a ruler just some common sense!) and if you think the gap is too wide, or perhaps an older child can climb up over the balcony, see if the door to the balcony can simply be locked, its not worth the risk.
- Make your own play pen. Portable cots aren’t just great for baby to sleep in, they really do make superb portable play pens. When they first hit that crawl and explore age, NOTHING is sacred. At home you might be happy for baby to freely explore the floor, but I would be incredibly dubious in a new environment. Even if the carpet looks clean and you’ve done a quick scan under the bed for any potential treasurers left by a previous tenant, be wary of simply letting bubba roam. As long as they haven’t hit the pulling themselves up and over objects stage the play pen will allow you to relax a little in your room knowing they are safe.
- Defend thy cupboards. While your surfaces might be clear, the most avid little explorers will of course still try to find anything they can to open and explore. Some very small and easy slip on door catches might just do the trick to contain curious cupboard lookers, these are seriously the lightest and easiest childproofing tools you can easily pack. Failing which, even some well placed elastic bands or hair ties can do the same job.
I’ve heard people suggest taking everything from table corner protectors to plug covers (but will they fit the plugs at your destination?) If you’re really that concerned or junior has displayed a particular fetish for destruction this month then sure – use your packing space as you will – but there’s no need to go over the top. I am far from overly cautious but it really only takes minutes to remove the worst forms of temptation for destruction and before you know it, they have outgrown this phase.
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Do you have any hotel room rituals you follow on arrival or suggestions on how you keep your little ones safe when arriving in unfamiliar territory?