A baby or toddler crawling or tottering around indoors will encounter a range of dangers if the interior hasn’t been childproofed. Aspects of any property, mobile home or any other form of holiday dwelling may present no cause for alarm when it comes to adults, but can be very hazardous for small children.
If you are renting a holiday home, it is well worth checking suitability for babies and young children. There are lots of child-friendly options when it comes to holidaying, both in the UK and abroad.
The best kind of holiday accommodation tends to be geared towards families with young children or are those run by parents who know all too well the dangers posed to toddlers. Beside The Sea Holiday Cottages are one such vendor and say “Being parents ourselves, we know how hard it can be to travel with a baby in tow.” They offer baby-friendly holiday cottages with essentials such as stairgates, travel cots and high chairs.
Wherever you decide to go, be aware of toddler danger zones as your own home may have a very different set up to your holiday dwelling.
One great thing about holidays is that days are usually spent on the beach or doing other active pursuits so your toddler will hopefully be too worn out to get up to too much mischief when you head back to your holiday home.
It is however, better to be safe than sorry, so check exactly what is provided and be prepared to take anything with you that will prevent any unnecessary accidents during your stay.
You will want to consider:
If your holiday home contains any stairs it’s essential to have safety gates. These are invaluable in stopping your child from falling. Stairs present a real hazard for very young children, especially when they are able to crawl or walk on their own.
Without a safety gate how can you possibly relax if your toddler is fascinated by the stairs? Check with the property owner or travel company to find out if the property has safety gates. Or be sure to take your own. There are plenty of collapsible travel stair gates suitable for holidays available at a cost of around £30-£35.
It can be worth taking a safety gate even if the holiday property doesn’t have stairs as gates can also be used to prevent a child getting access to the kitchen or any room posing a danger that does not have a lockable door.
It’s worth noting that if you holidaying in a property that already has safety gates installed, it’s a good idea to check over them to ensure any gate is in good working order. Be aware that an older model may not conform to modern safety gate regulations. Some may even present a hazard to children.
Another important feature for any holiday property used by families with a small child is safety latches. Latches can be applied to any drawer or cupboard that might hold anything that could present a hazard to a child.
Top candidates for safety latches include those containing kitchen and cleaning products, as well as any bathroom cupboards. A latch on the cutlery draw will ensure little hands can’t get hold of anything sharp.
Check with your travel company or holiday home owner to see if they already have safety latches or if they would be prepared to fit them. This could be especially important if you are planning to spend a lot of time at the holiday dwelling.
Socket covers are a must-have on your holiday packing list (you can also buy these to fit EU socket covers if you are holidaying in Europe). Unfortunately most electrical sockets are at the perfect height for toddlers to investigate. Placing covers over sockets that are not in use will prevent the possibility of electric shocks, and they can be purchased easily and cheaply.
Doors and door hinges can trap, pinch and crush the fingers and hands of children. The best way to counteract this is to ensure that doors are either kept shut or are held open at all times. Once again you just need to make sure that the door stop will not present a choking hazard. Picking one that is large enough will not only ensure it functions correctly but will keep your child safe from choking too.
Corner and edge protectors
Corner and edge protectors are small enough to fit into your luggage and may be worthwhile to prevent injuries.
Many of the major risks to your child’s health can be eliminated by a quick sweep of your holiday accommodation as soon as you arrive. Look out for the usual home safety hazards. It’s smart to move furniture and anything a child can climb on away from windows and other fall hazards.
If your holiday accommodation has cooking facilities or a kitchen, it’s a good idea to only use the backburners of your cooker rather than those closest to the front. The last thing you want is your child to pull a pan of boiling water or sauce off the hob. Equally this is a way to stop them from burning their hands if they reach up onto the top of the stove.
The most serious childhood accidents happen in the kitchen or on the stairs. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, more than 67,000 children in the UK experience an accident in the kitchen every year.
Remember children are in a completely new environment on holiday, so will want to explore!
Consider the risks of pools or water features, such as ponds
While renting a holiday property with a pool may seem like a great idea, it will mean you’ll have to be on super alert and watch your toddler the whole time. Consider whether that might be a better choice when the children are older and are confident swimmers.
According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust young children can drown in as little as 5cm of water, so even water features in outside areas, such as ponds could be a hazard. See here for more advice on drowning prevention and other tips for staying safe on holiday.