With the holidays fast approaching, I was wondering about toddler safety mechanisms for families that are traveling. Bind drawstrings, open outlets and the typical safety concerns might be an issue. Hotels that aren't generally, "baby-proofed." With airline restrictions as they are (and even before said restrictions) it isn't like you can instal latches and bring all safety devices along. That just isn't realistic. Are there specific questions to ask when booking hotels that can help ensure a safer stay?
There might also be drawers and closet doors to open, and just maybe a hard corner on a table -- but generally, as GdD says, hotel rooms are pretty safe. I'm guessing the reason is a mix of insurance safety, and theft prevention. There simply isn't a lot to move around or pick up.
The biggest problem is more likely the matter of the baby monitor's poor radio reach; you can't sit in the hotel lounge while the baby sleeps on the third floor. I found an iPhone app that runs on my wife's phone which we leave in the room. It listens, and in case there is a configurable noise level for a configurable duration, it starts a phone call to a configurable number -- which would, in my case, be my cell phone.
But better than an app is to just live on baby's terms for the few days you are traveling -- early to bed, early to rise.
As for questions to ask:
- Some hotels offer cribs, either for free or for rent.
- They might also have a hotel wireless phone system that doubles as a baby monitor.
- Access to a water boiler and/or a microwave would also be useful.
- Ask for a room near the escalator and/or fire escape. The former will help you get to the room fast if you're in the lounge. The latter will help you get out faster.
Ask for these things when you book, and when you check in.
Hotels are generally pretty safe to begin with, they have to be for insurance reasons. The only issue with most hotel rooms is that the bed has no guards and your child could roll off of them, so ask them if they have bedguards available.
You can't bring everything, but you can bring the most important things. If you know your toddler is tempted by outlets, you may wish to pack a handful of plug protectors to cover the most visible ones.
If you know your child likes to escape, you may wish to call the hotel and find out what sort of doorknobs are in the hotel room and bathroom. They may or may not be ones that work well with doorknob covers, but if they are, you can certainly throw one or two in your suitcase. Keep in mind you may be able to use security latches that already exist on the door (such as to prevent intruders) to your room/suite that may also work to prevent toddler from escaping, so this may be overkill.
But for the most part, hotel room don't have that much stuff in them, and they're so small that you can supervise them easily, so it doesn't end up being that dangerous. That said, I wouldn't leave a toddler alone in a hotel room, but I wouldn't worry too much.
You may also ask about ammenities or supplies they have for toddlers, such as travel cribs/cots (usually a pack'n'play), baby monitors, toddler snack food, whether any lounge areas have toys, etc.