Making Your Hotel Room Safer
When our kids were younger we traveled with a bag full of plastic plug guards (make sure the American-style plug guards you bring along will actually fit into the sockets in the host country. You might need to buy something locally; we once found some very attractive ceramic plug outlet covers for sale in the UK).
We also brought along the plastic locking things to keep the kids out of cabinets.
Check the room carefully for hazards. Look inside closets, behind seat cushions and especially under the bed for dropped pins, coins, clips, hair things, pens or other potentially harmful, choke-able objects (we once found a disposable lighter under the bed!). Cleaning staff can leave behind dirty rags, cleaning chemicals and other nasty stuff.
The cords used to open and close drapes can form a strangulation hazard; tie them up out of the way. Velcro loops, pieces of string or twist ties are useful for this purpose.
Check carefully cribs or other baby gear borrowed from the hotel; not every country has strict safety laws for such things, and you may find the slats on a crib wide enough to allow your child to get her head stuck.
Some hotels abroad may set out ashtrays with books of matches in them. Some desks can come supplied with pens that may be a poke hazard and/or encourage your child to draw on something, like the wall, that is better left undecorated.
If the bathroom door locks, consider taping the lock so that your child cannot accidentally lock herself in the toilet.
Test the hot water—sometimes it can get hot enough to scald or seriously burn a child. If it is too hot you will not likely be able to convince the hotel to turn the heat down, but you will be alerted to a potential hazard.
Be especially careful with prescription or other medicines you bring with you. Unlike at home, they may not be out of reach in a bathroom medicine cabinet. Don't leave them next to the sink in a hotel bathroom. There is usually a high shelf in the closet that is out of reach.
Take a look at any little bottles of shampoo and the like in the bathroom. Depending on your child's age and curiousity, you might need to put these out of reach.
We always, when first shown to our room, make a point to locate the fire exits in the hallway. As our kids got a bit older, we walked them to the exits. Its almost become a game of sorts with us, maybe more of a tradition, but one that is very, very important in an unfamiliar place.
A quick tour of the room and some do's and don'ts will call their attention to new things, such as 34th floor balconies (lock the sliding door and check it twice) that are not found at home.
A tour of the room like this can also help younger kids know at least that there are new things afoot that may require Mom or Dad's help, even if things like the bathroom light switch are well within their grasp at home.
If you are traveling within the U.S. or some parts of Canada, a company called Babys Away (800-571-0077) can deliver cribs, cots and other baby equipment to your hotel, or to grandma's house. Call them for details and prices.