My daughter lived in a hotel between the ages of 5 days old and 2.5 years old, and we still travel frequently. Hotel safety in and around elevators, big lobbies, rooms, and pool decks has been at the forefront of my mind for a long time.

I’ve observed a lot over the years with my own daughter and other traveling families that I book hotels for. I have listed simple things parents can do to create a safe hotel room for babies, toddlers, and even older kids, as well as tips for hotel safety in common areas. There are also some packable gadgets mentioned that you can bring for babyproofing your hotel room. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make purchases through them, we may be compensated. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for supporting our small business. See our editorial guidelines.

1. Get Familiar With Your Accommodations Before Checking In

Thanks to the internet, you may be able to see what a hotel room is like before checking in. Photos might showcase the furniture inside the room, the pool, and other common areas around the hotel. A lot of hotels even have floor plans online for their rooms and suites as well.

This information is helpful for people who like to bring their own babyproofing and gear to decide how much and what to bring.

If this information is unavailable online, call the hotel to find out what furniture may be inside your room. If opening and closing drawers and cupboards is of concern, ask what kind of handles are in the furniture. Ask about locks on balcony doors (see below) and other aspects of the room that may need to be addressed.

2. Find Babyproofing for the Hotel Room

Most luxury hotels like Four Seasons can usually babyproof rooms before guests check-in. One day, when staff at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (where we lived) noticed my daughter was getting bigger, they thoughtfully added plastic corners onto all of our tables and added plug covers to electrical sockets.

I have heard of people carrying painter’s tape or duct tape to temporarily cover outlets, seal windows, and secure mini bar fridges shut. Duct tape can leave residue, so a good painter’s tape is a much better option if your kids can’t penetrate it.

It’s actually pretty easy to pack small, basic babyproofing items if the hotel doesn’t offer any, such as:

3. Inspect Hotel Room Floors Immediately

A myriad of things, from paperclips to old food, can be hiding under beds or behind curtains in hotel rooms of any caliber, in my experience (though not usually in luxury hotels).

Upon entering your room or suite for the first time (and perhaps also periodically throughout your stay), give the room a good scan to ensure that toddlers and crawling babies won’t pick up anything harmful or dirty.

Some parents actually crawl the room like a small child would to note hazardous items within reach and to be sure nothing hazardous is on the floor. I stopped booking a particular hotel after a child stepped on a small fragment of a curtain rod that ruined a vacation (and also caused me a lot of work).

4. Put Unnecessary Items Out of Reach

You may consider putting these hotel room items in places where curious kids can’t get to them:

  • Trash cans as they contain debris and a myriad of germs.
  • Curtain cords or rods, if long enough for kids to grab.
  • Freestanding lamps that could be knocked over.
  • Coffee table books.
  • Loose decor within reach (vases, bowls, etc.)
  • Bathroom toiletries.
  • Barware.
  • Table covers — many hotels place glass or plastic covers on top of tables to protect them. My daughter moved a couple of these during her toddler years, causing things on top of them to come crashing down.

5. Bring or Source Baby Gear

The baby gear that a hotel may have in reserve for guests isn’t always listed on websites. You can call to see what your hotel has if anything. Part of the reason why this information can be hard to find (let me put on my travel agent hat here) is that it is sometimes subject to availability. So, if they have an influx of families, it might not be available if you request it at the last minute.

Digging around hotel websites and perhaps placing a few calls may reveal that baby gear such as bathtubs, cribs, and high chairs are available for guest use, especially if it’s a luxury brand like Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental. Bathing a baby without a bathtub is quite tricky and not the safest, even in a bathroom sink. I have been there.

Depending on the length of your stay, baby gear rental services may make sense. Look into companies that service your destination or ask the hotel for a reference. Baby Quip is popular.

If there is one thing you should bring, many believe it should be a travel crib. I’ve never had trouble with hotel-provided cribs—in fact, the one provided by Shangri-la Hotel Bangkok (just to name one example) was nicer than my daughter’s real crib.

However, many parents have found hotel-provided Pack N Plays and cribs dirty, flimsy, or unsafe. I personally loved our Baby Bjorn travel crib if you’re in the market for one that can be neatly folded into a case and checked as luggage or slid into the trunk of a car. You can also read my list of the best travel cribs.

6. Lock Balcony Doors

The best thing to do with curious or climbing kids in tow is to avoid rooms with balconies. However, many hotels have childproof locks on sliding glass and swinging doors that lead to balconies. If your hotel lacks sufficient locks, other measures should be taken. I’ve heard of parents even duct-taping balcony doors shut if kids can undo locks on their own. A small door alarm may also come in handy in this instance.

Note that balcony safety regulations vary by country and that metal slats can be wide enough for small children to fall through. The same strategy applies to ground-level rooms near beaches, swimming pools, or anywhere you don’t want kids to roam.

7. Latch Front Doors

In addition to a traditional door lock, many hotels have higher latches on the door that prevent people with room access from walking in (housekeeping or anyone with a key). It also prevents kids from walking out. There is something about hotel doors that kids find curious, so let the latch become your friend. However, older kids should know how to release the latch in an emergency.

If there is no latch, consider a door stop alarm to prevent the door from opening and alert parents when an attempt to open it has been made.

8. Attach Travel Identification

A brightly-colored wristband that clearly outlines a child’s emergency contact information can become very useful if you are separated. I like waterproof bands that securely attach, come in multiples, have emergency colors, and have multiple lines for writing contact information. Carry multiples to change your hotel information as you travel through various destinations. And use a ballpoint pen or something that won’t bleed if your child wears it swimming.

Write-on tattoos are also popular, but it seems like they might be harder to see if a child is too young to show people the information. It could be easier for someone to spot a wristband, depending on the situation.

9. Point Out Hotel Staff

In large hotels, hotel staff are usually uniformed. In the event of separation from your child or any other emergency, I believe it’s important for my daughter to know who the staff members are and where to find them (lobbies, Executive Clubs, pool staff, etc.).

10. Discuss Hotel Safety Dos and Don’ts

Knowledge is power, and the first thing parents need to do is explain to kids what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do in the hotel room and around the property’s common areas.

This could range from opening doors to devouring that granola bar in the minibar to running in the lobby area (I have seen many distracted kids accidentally run into people and bell carts and slip on shiny stone floors).

Devise a plan for what to do if you become separated, which also becomes important regarding elevator safety below.

11. Focus on Elevator Safety

If your child is of walking age, assess the hotel and consider what would happen if you got separated while getting into an elevator. It nearly happened to me once, and I have seen it happen to others where either the door open button doesn’t work as planned, crowds separate a child from a parent, or a parent thinks the child is walking in behind them when he or she is not.

What you do depends on how you are separated, your hotel, the age and abilities of your child, and personal preferences. If I was the one left in the elevator, I told my toddler to stay put on whatever floor she was left on and that I would return to get her. It gets trickier if the situation is reversed, and truth be told, I don’t have a perfect answer for this.

In our hotel residence, which spanned over 40 floors, I would have used a nearby phone to alert the front desk (Four Seasons has phones near the elevators in many hotels, for example) about which elevator she was in so that they could put hotel security in action because there was no guarantee the elevator doors would open again on my floor if she remained inside the elevator. In a two-story hotel, the odds are more in your favor. This is a situation where travel identification wristbands can come in handy.

When my daughter was elementary school-aged, we agreed to meet in the lobby at the front desk if we got separated. Part of the reason for this is that if a hotel requires a key to access room floors, the lobby is always accessible from the elevator, even without a room key. Lobby levels can vary based on hotels (we recently stayed in a hotel where the lobby was on the 3rd floor), so make sure kids know where it is.

Explain how to avoid elevator injuries by keeping extremities away from closing doors. Kids under the age of 5 typically do not have the strength to stop doors from closing. Kids should be instructed to stay close to you and enter at the same time you do.

12. Show Older Kids How to Dial the Phone

Older kids should know how to call from the hotel phone, especially when traveling with only one parent. Hotel phone systems can be a bit complicated these days, so I point out where the front desk button is just in case I ever need medical attention and cannot dial myself. I also remind her that “0” leads to the hotel operator.

And believe it or not, dialing “0” for help is not something that teenagers think of automatically anyway because they never have to dial “0” on a mobile phone!

You could go as far as to teach them how to dial emergency services, which vary by country. In the United States, it’s 9-1-1, but in Hong Kong, for example, it’s 9-9-9. A hotel should be notified if there is an emergency, so that would be the first place to call in most circumstances.

13. Practice Swimming Pool Safety

Make sure that kids understand the depth of the swimming pool. This is crazy important on many levels and may take you getting in or asking staff, as pool depth is often not marked these days for aesthetic purposes.

Kids need to know where they can stand, if necessary, and where they can’t. They also need to know if it’s deep enough to jump in. I’m not a fan of diving into hotel pools—it’s disruptive and unsafe—so I don’t allow it under any circumstances.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen kids slip while running around the edges of a pool. Tell them not to run on the pool deck or stand on the poolside furniture.

14. Pack a Small First Aid Kit

A small first aid kit with Neosporin (or an equivalent), various bandages, sterile bandages, blister bandages, tweezers, etc. can come in handy for small injuries like cuts and splinters. Of course, many hotels will stock these supplies, but it’s always much more convenient to have these things immediately accessible to quell distress. I find that nail clippers and nail files are also good things to pack, as hang nails or broken nails can be so annoying for my daughter.

15. Store the Hotel’s Phone Number

Keep the hotel number easily accessible on your mobile phone. If you are not near a hotel phone, your mobile might be the easiest way to get in touch with the hotel in case of an emergency. This also prevents wasting time searching the internet for the phone number.

How do you keep kids safe when staying in hotels?

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.