You've packed the car, you've grabbed the kids, and you're ready to hit the road for your big family getaway.
But wait! There's one thing you can't forget: safety.
Family vacations mean a whole new set of safety precautions for your kids. Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council, joins The Saturday Early Show from Washington, D.C., with an overview of what you need to know.
Children's Sleeping AccommodationsBefore you get to your hotel, ask about cribs if you are going to use ones provided by the hotel. It's important to make sure that they have not been recalled and meet basic safety guidelines. Visit the Web site of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for recent updates. Make sure crib hardware is strong and secure. Remove soft bedding, pillows, toys and stuffed animals from the crib. Use sleepers instead of blankets. Follow the product guidelines for crib toys and discontinue use at the recommended age. Make sure the crib sheet and mattress fit tightly to avoid entrapment and suffocation. Remove bumper pads to deter children from climbing out easily. Keep cribs away from windows and window blind cords. For metal or wooden cribs, make sure slats are 2 3/8 inches apart or less. (The slats of the crib should be close enough together so you can't fit a soda can through.) Corner posts should not be over 1/16 inch high. Avoid headboards and footboards with cutouts large enough that a baby's head can become trapped. For mesh-sided cribs or playpens, look for mesh less than a quarter of an inch in size, securely attached to the top rail and floor plate. If staples are used, make sure none are missing or exposed.
Water SafetyIf the hotel has a pool, ask about barriers or fencing and safety guidelines (pool safety details).Pool fencing should be at least five feet high and have self-locking and self-closing gates. Keep poolside rescue equipment close by. Equipment should include a sturdy, lightweight pole measuring at least 10 to 12 feet and a ring buoy with line. Do not permit children to play with these tools. Never leave your children unattended at the pool.Fire Safety Fire sprinklers are an important fire safety precaution.
Bring safety precautions with you
Depending on your child's age and how long you will be staying at the hotel, you may want to consider bringing such precautions as door knob covers, toilet seat locks, stove knob covers (if there is a kitchen), and emergency phone numbers. (You may research local emergency numbers in advance.)
What to do when you arriveDo a safety inspection from your child's point of view. Look for sharp objects, matches and any other potential dangers that could be in the room. Be sure to look for any potential choking hazards.Test locks on doors and windows.Inspect window blinds and drapes for any looped cords that could pose a strangulation risk.Look for any potential poisons (cleaners, shampoo) that could be within reach of your children. Also be especially careful to keep your own medications and other personal items out of their reach.