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Traveling

9 Super-Smart Travel Childproofing Hacks

Use the towel racks, hide the garbage, and more ways to keep kids safe when you travel

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Even on the best family vacation, there are a lot of unpredictables: kids' bedtimes and mealtimes are off the rails and your hotel room or vacation rental isn't your usual space. But toddlers will still get into everything no matter the time zone, so here are 9 smart travel childproofing hacks that can help keep everyone safe.

1. Check the area around your travel crib. Always place a crib in an open area. "Never place a crib near windows or blinds," says Sage Singleton, a family and community safety expert from SafeWise, a home security consulting company. The window poses a risk for falling and a child could get caught in the blinds. Also keep the crib away from shelves, art, or any heavy objects that could fall. 

2. Be safe when cooking. A vacation rental may not have the same level of childproofing that your home kitchen has. "Always cook your food on the back burners so a child can't reach up and get burned," says Singleton. 

3. Keep medicines out of reach. One of the biggest dangers when children travel doesn't come from the hotel rooms-but from the things we do and bring, says Jonas Sickler from ConsumerSafety.org. "At home, parents put most of the baby hazards up high, but this isn't always possible while traveling. Many dressers and bathroom counters are low, and there aren't medicine cabinets." A good workaround: Place any medications at the top of a hotel closet or buy a hanging toiletry bag that you can keep on a bathroom hook or towel rack. 

4. Pack a small, closed container to stash choking hazards. Bring a plastic container with a tight kid-proof lid (pack it with socks and undies in the suitcase and you won't bulk up your luggage) so you have an easy place to drop coins, hard candies, or other choking hazards. 

5. Hide the garbage. As soon as you get to the hotel, put the garbage can on top of a dresser. "It may not be attractive, but it's better to have it out of your baby's reach," Sickler says.

6. Hang it up. "Bring a tote bag that can be folded up in a suitcase so there's no extra weight or bulk. This can be filled with anything your child shouldn't get into and hung on a bathroom door hook or closet hanger," Sickler says.  

7. Use towel racks. "Bathroom towel racks can also be repurposed as shelving that's out of reach to toddlers," says Sickler.

8. Look out for hidden hazards. Keep an eye out for things like seemingly-innocent things that are often in hotel rooms, like pens or bedtime mints.

9. Bring toilet locks. Bring along a travel toilet lock and you'll sleep easier, says Sickler. "They may add a little bulk to the luggage, but will be worth the peace of mind they bring."