Traveling with the kids or grandchildren can be a lot of fun, but there are also some precautions you’ll want to take that you normally wouldn’t think about. For instance, what are the differences (and similarities) between hotels and motels in terms of safety, and more importantly offering some practical advice for keeping kids safe whether you’re staying in a hotel or a motel.
What are the differences?
Many people think the major distinction between hotels and motels is just the size, but there are some other key differences in terms of safety, price and availability.
The first, and most important criteria, that we’ll be looking at is in relation to keeping kids safe because at the end of the day that is what is most important, right?
Accidents can happen anywhere, so what makes one safer than the other when comparing hotels with motels? For starters, hotels are larger than motels and typically more modern and often have to adhere to stricter safety codes. This will increase the likelihood to keep your kids safe in the hotel.
For instance, in some older rooms, the cords from the window curtains reach down to the floor and that poses a suffocation hazard for children – however any modern hotel will have taken this into account already. Hotels are also more likely to have a well-stocked first-aid kit and to have someone on staff with some kind of first aid or medical training in case your children (or grandchildren) injure themselves.
That doesn’t mean a motel won’t have a first aid kit or a staff member who can help in the event of an emergency, but generally the odds are better at a hotel.
Staying Safe In Hotels and Motels
Reserve your room upfront. This way you might lose a bit on your flexibility, but you will know what the place you are going to sleep in is like. And you will have a chance to prepare and plan for everything. You may also avoid unpleasant surprises if you view the hotel and its rooms online. Hopefully the hotel keeps up to date pictures on their website and other booking sites.
Some hotels will childproof a room before your arrival. Ask if your hotel has that service so you know if you need to bring your own babyproofing items like outlet covers and tape to keep drawers or cabinets shut. Also ask if the hotel has a crib or if you need to bring your own baby gear. If they have gear, make sure you reserve it. In busy seasons they could run out.
Make ordering your RideSafer vest a part of making your spring break travel plans. It’s the easy to use, easy to pack travel car seat for kids 3 years old and up.
For extra precautions, you should drive around the hotel or motel before you go to the check-in.
When checking in, make sure that the clerk does not announce your room number out loud. If they happen to do that, ask for another room.
Upon checking into your room, there are a few things you should immediately inspect to ensure you keep kids safe in hotels. They are as follows…
- Check the water, what color is it? If the water is brown, call the front desk. And check the temperature. Some hotels run really hot water.
- Check the telephone, make sure it has a dial-tone.
- Ensure the bolt on the room door works, and that you’re able to securely lock the door. Don’t just check from inside the room, check from the outside as well.
- Check the floor for things housekeeping missed while vacuuming that could be a choking hazard.
- Before everyone unpacks their bags, immediately remove the top few layers of sheets and check underneath them for any filth or bedbugs. Bedbugs are incredibly common in hotels, and are a nightmare to deal with, especially when you’re with kids. Also check along the headboard, baseboards, and other wooden areas in the room like the furniture.
- Supervise children at all times. You never know who’s in a nearby room at a hotel, so make sure your kids aren’t wandering the halls alone. If your child gets out, and it happens, have them wear an id bracelet so someone can help get them back to you safely.
- If the hotel has a pool, teach all of the water safety precautions to your kids and always have an eye on them in the pool. That doesn’t mean glance every 15 minutes from your room’s window; it means be there the whole time paying attention.
- Choose a room that can’t be accessed without first going through the main lobby. Shady characters, thieves and who-knows-who-else would have to enter via the front doors or via exterior rooms, so if you’re staying in an interior room you’re creating a huge buffer zone of safety around your family’s room.
- Further, an interior room will make it easier for you to watch over your kids.
- Make sure any adjoining doors to your room are locked. You don’t want any visitors.
- If there’s a door leading out to a balcony, make sure it is child-proof. Also make sure that your child can’t climb over or between the railing bars at the balcony.
- If for any reason you feel unsafe, it’s OK to leave. Even if it means losing the rooms rent for a night.
Most of all, don’t panic. In that state you are most likely to make an error in judgment. Stay safe!
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We originally published this post in March 2015. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.