If you are planning to take a family cruise with a baby or toddler, you will likely be interested in some basic childproofing for your cruise cabin. This does not have to be an elaborate operation. We have set out a few simple steps that will help improve the overall cabin safety for your babies and toddlers. And, most of these don’t involve potentially packing anything extra.
Related Content: 6 Essential Steps To Cruising With A Baby Confidently
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1. Reserve a Playard For Your Family Cruise With A Baby.
Preparing your cruise cabin for your baby or toddler should actually start before you ever step foot on the ship. Note that many cruise lines now supply playards for passenger cabins instead of actual cribs. These items may be in limited supply. So, you should make a request in advance to make sure that you will have access to a portable playard for your cabin (e.g., a “Pack ‘n Play” or similar item). If possible, try to make the request at the time you initially book your reservation for a family cruise with a baby. Otherwise, make a point of following up on availability in the 60-day window before sailing.
2. Assess Placement of Cabin Furniture.
Once you actually enter your cruise cabin, you should assess the cabin’s furniture placement in relation to the playard (or crib). The furniture in your cruise cabin may be somewhat lower than what you are used to. If you place the playard too close to a bed or sofa, an industrious toddler will be able to easily climb out (repeatedly).
3. Check for Overlooked Items.
Often the first thing that a toddler does when he or she enters a new space is wander around picking things up. So, ideally, when you are taking a family cruise with a baby, have an undistracted adult enter the room first to do some quick prep.
Get down on hands and knees and scan the floor for overlooked hazards. For example, things like safety pins, hair ties, coins, or small pebbles and rocks. Be sure to look under the bed (lift spread) and in corners of bathroom. Check cabinets and drawers and under desk/vanity.
Although the ship’s staff will clean all of the staterooms prior to a group of new passengers boarding, they are usually doing so on a tight turnaround timeframe. It is not uncommon for items to be overlooked. Or, for previously hidden items to go undiscovered. So, for instance, we have often found random pens, coins and such while crawling around on the floor. And once, we found a large bag of small travel-size liquor bottles hidden under the bed. (Still not quite sure what that was about!)
4. Clear Away Unnecessary Items in Plain View.
Stow magazines and other paper items in a drawer (or wall cubby). Put trash cans up/out of reach. Move glass cups, ice bucket set up, etc., to the top of the closet or otherwise out of reach. If unneeded, ask stateroom attendant to remove.
5. Elevate Hazardous or Nuisance Items Out of Reach.
Veteran cruisers often recommend over the door shoe organizers and magnets as handy cruise hacks. Such items can be extremely useful for keeping items out of reach of small hands on a family cruise with a baby or toddler. So, for instance, if you use a shoe organizer to expand storage space in your cabin’s bathroom, you can easily designate the top 2 or 3 rows for items that you want to keep out of your child’s reach. (Instead of the handful of small bathroom drawers/shelves/cabinets that will inevitably be right at toddler eye-level.)
Similarly, you can use magnets on the metal walls of your cruise cabin. These can elevate desired items out of reach. This helps to avoid important items such as your daily cruise ship newsletter, or your cruise card from being inadvertently chewed up or otherwise mishandled.
Related Content: 9 Remarkably Easy Tips To Make Family Cruise Ship Rooms Cozy
6. Re-Configure Balcony Furniture.
When sailing on a family cruise with a baby or toddler, it can be advantageous to have your own private balcony. Industry safety standards require that the balcony walls be at least 42 inches tall. In theory, this should be perfect because most toddlers are not quite that tall. But, in reality, balconies contain several pieces of deck furniture that can be climbed upon rendering walls much shorter and toddlers much taller. Bottom line – lots of safety precautions exist, but you must still supervise small children at all times while outside on the balcony.
If you have a balcony, move all balcony furniture far from railing. You want to avoid having your kids climbing up and leaning over.
7. Bring Duct Tape for Other Potential Hazards on Your Family Cruise With a Baby.
If you have a mobile toddler with curious, busy hands, consider bringing duct tape or painters’ tape. While not absolutely essential, it can be quite helpful when traveling with busy toddlers. You can use duct tape in the following ways :
- Cover unused outlets
- Fasten washcloth or other cushion to sharp corners
- Secure cabinet doors and/or low drawers
- Secure fridge door (to restrict access to contents and also to prevent tip overs from pulling up or on handle)
- Tape over bathroom door lock, so child cannot lock self inside
One advantage of duct tape is that it has many handy uses around the house and elsewhere. So, you may already have this item lying around the house. And, if you end up buying a roll for your trip, you can still find many uses for it once the trip is done. See these articles for more tips on creative and helpful uses for duct tape. 8 Super-Smart Ways to Use Duct Tape. 23 Ways Duct Tape Can Fix Anything.
Bonus Safety Tip:
When you are on a cruise ship, you will repeatedly receive warnings to wash your hand often throughout the day. While this is generally a good life tip, it takes on particular urgency when trying to guard against things like norovirus. That said, your cruise cabin will most likely only have bar soap on the counter. Consider bringing small pump bottle of kid’s foam soap. This makes it easier and more fun to do a thorough job.
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Do you have great childproofing tips that you have used while traveling? Please share in the comments.