Congratulations! You’re traveling with a baby. While you’ve likely made every preparation to babyproof your home – from cabinet locks to baby gates – we’re guessing you might not be as familiar with bringing that level of safety to a relative’s house or a vacation home. Like, do you pack all your bumpers and knob covers, or will taping a few cabinets shut suffice? Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of things you’ll need when staying in a vacation rental – and we’ve organized it room by room.
Babyproofing the kitchen
Having access to a full kitchen is one of the main benefits of booking a vacation rental, but this is an area that will definitely need some babyproofing.
- Cabinets: While you won’t want to install cabinet locks that will damage the property, you’ll want an extra layer of safety in the kitchen. Consider bringing along some magnetic locks or zip ties. You could even rig it with a few rubber bands.
- Cleaning products: If your host has left cleaning products for you, they are likely in a convenient cupboard, cabinet or under the kitchen sink. Move all of the items to a high shelf or cabinet that is completely out of your baby’s reach.
- Sharp objects: Similar to the cleaning products, you’ll want to make sure knives, glasses, ceramic dishware and other breakable items are out of reach. Stash them in upper cabinets (safely, so they don’t fall) or even move them to a closet if you don’t plan to use them – just try to remember to put items back where you found them before the end of your stay.
- Appliances: Many vacation rentals have a good selection of kitchen appliances for your convenience. Move toasters, coffee makers and other items out of reach. You’ll also want to unplug them while they are not in use.
High chairs: A high chair can keep your baby occupied and entertained while you’re cooking dinner or making breakfast. If your host doesn’t supply a high chair, consider renting one from a baby gear rental company like BabyQuip.
Babyproofing the living room
This is the room where you should get down on your hands and knees and look at things from your baby’s perspective. It looks much different down there and babyproofing is essential. If you’re able to, we’d recommend bringing or renting a play yard to keep your baby contained for periods of time so you won’t have to worry about them getting into something dangerous.
- Outlets: Locate all of the electrical outlets and put covers on them. They are cheap, small and easy to pack in your suitcase.
- Cords: There will likely be televisions, DVD players, lamps, etc., which all have cords that need to be tucked away where your baby can’t get to them. If they are out in the open without the option to hide them, try to rearrange furniture to block them off (just remember to put everything back before you leave).
- Television: Your vacation rental host might not have secured the television to the wall so it can’t tip over. If you know your baby is apt to knock it over, consider your options before you arrive. If you have questions about this or anything else you can’t discern from the rental’s photos, ask before you book.
- Blinds and curtains: If the blinds or curtains have cords, wrap them up on the curtain rods where your baby can’t get to them.
- Coffee and end tables: These items tend to have sharp corners and can cause some serious crying and bruises if your baby bumps into them. Either move these to a different location or put inexpensive corner bumpers/guards on them. If neither of those are an option, cover them with thick fluffy blankets that your host is sure to have somewhere in the house.
- Knickknacks and breakables: Does your host proudly display local ornate shells on a glass shelf? This is obvious, but move the breakables out of reach and put them back before you leave.
Babyproofing the bedroom
Figure out where your baby will be sleeping and take care of all of the babyproofing actions already mentioned along with the following. You’ll want this to be your baby’s favorite room in the house so they feel secure and comfortable enough to sleep soundly.
- Tall dressers or wardrobes: If there are tall pieces of furniture, make sure your baby can’t climb them and tip them over.
- Windows: If the bedroom is located on a second level, check the windows to make sure they are locked and move furniture away from them.
- Cribs: Many vacation rental hosts have cribs available for babies and they are important items to consider when babyproofing. If the host has provided bumpers, pillows or any other soft items, remove them from the crib. Babies should never sleep with soft items to prevent suffocation. If the rental doesn’t have a crib on-premise, you can easily rent one from BabyQuip.
- Tall baskets or hampers: While it’s unlikely that your host has a clothes hamper in the bedroom, they may have a tall basket or two. Babies and toddlers can easily fall into baskets head first and not be able to get themselves out.
Babyproofing the bathroom
This is an easy room when it comes to babyproofing. There isn’t a ton to do here and it’s easy to shut the door if you don’t want your child to get in, but keep the following in mind.
- Water temperature: Since you don’t know how the water heater is set at your vacation rental, test the water. Bring a bath thermometer and make sure to feel the water before letting your child play in the sink or the tub.
- Bathtub grippers: Throw some tub grippers in a baggie and bring them to your vacation rental just in case the tub isn’t already equipped.
- Cleaning products: This was mentioned previously, but it’s worth mentioning again. While your host isn’t likely storing prescription medications in the medicine cabinet, they might have cleaning products under the bathroom sink or in the linen closet. It’s best to move them out of reach.
General babyproofing to keep in mind
There are several things you want to consider for your baby’s (and the entire family’s) safety. Think about these things when booking your vacation rental. They may or may not already be provided.
- Carbon monoxide detector: Find out before you book if there is a CO2 detector in the home and consider other options (like bringing your own plug-in one) should installation not be possible before your arrival.
- Fire extinguisher: Is there a fire extinguisher? If so, is it in a handy place and do you know how to use it? Also, check to make sure it’s not expired.
- Smoke detectors: It’s the law to have smoke detectors in every rental property, however, you might want to ask the property host or manager to test them or check the batteries (if they aren’t hardwired) before you arrive.
- Doorknob covers: For successful babyproofing, it’s a great idea to pack a few doorknob covers in your suitcase for the rooms you really don’t want your child to get into. Maybe there is a door leading down a flight of stairs to the basement or into a room you just don’t want your child going in.
- Baby gates: If there’s a specific room that seems too daunting for babyproofing, find out if your vacation rental host has a baby gate you can use to block off an entire room. Problem solved.
We get that you want peace of mind during your stay, and if that means a well-baby-proofed rental, then have at it. Be sure to consider each room and what you need to ask, bring, buy or rent to ensure you and your baby feel safe and secure.
In partnership with BabyQuip.
This blog was originally published on November 9, 2020 and updated on November 18, 2022.