executive director

Warning to Parents: Make Sure Your Vacation Rental Home is Child Safe

It's no secret that kids are curious. 

And that curiosity only increases when they enter a new environment, like a rented vacation home, with so many new items to explore.

Nancy Cowles is the Executive Director of Kids in Danger, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating parents about child and product safety.

She said with more parents opting for vacation rentals through popular housing apps, it's important to know if the home you're staying in is safe for your child.

Cowles said tip-over accidents are the most prevalent among small children.

"A tip-over accident is when a child is either opening drawers to get clothes out of them, or maybe even using it to step up and get something on top of the dresser, the unit is unstable and will tip over on them, trapping them underneath it. It's a very common hazard that some people are aware of," she said.

So, if you're staying in a rental home for your next vacation, follow these child safety steps:

Ask the host if dressers or other heavy furniture in the home are anchored to the walls.

If they're not, and the host isn't willing to do so, you may want to find another rental.

Next, make sure the home has a suitable crib for your child, if needed.

"If there is a crib there, it should have crib sheets on it and not just a sheet from one of the beds because a fitted sheet is very important for a crib," she said.

You may also want to check the make and model to make sure there aren't any open recalls on the crib.

Last, but certainly not least, ask your host if they have a pool in the backyard.

"Drowning is the number one killer of children ages one to four. It just takes a minute for a child to fall in a pool and drown," said Cowles.

You'll want to make sure the pool has a four sided fence or barrier around it.

Also ask if they have rescue materials in case something goes wrong. Don't rely on inflatables.

And if you've never lived in a home with a pool make sure you have a plan in place for each parent to watch the children at the pool with no distractions. That means put the phone down.

These safety precautions may sound a bit stressful, but Cowles believes they're a must.

"We think if you start thinking safety from the very beginning, if you're already doing these steps at home, it'll give you greater piece of mind when you're there," she said.

If you plan on staying in a hotel or resort, it may not be a bad idea to ask these same questions to hotel staff, specifically about the dressers.

The Kids in Danger stated they know of at least one death in a hotel where the TV and the dresser tipped over on a young child.

We have more vacation safety tips, click here https://www.anchorit.gov/

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