When you stay at someone's house
• Remind your hosts before you get there that you're bringing children. Ask them to move obvious risks -- crystal knickknacks, for instance -- out of reach. Medications should be stowed, and Grandma's purse should be emptied of meds and sharp objects like tweezers; kids may look there for candy!
• Eyeball the house from your child's perspective as soon as you arrive. Ask the hosts if you can make some simple changes, like tying up window-blind cords. If you're staying for several days, consider completely childproofing the room your kid will sleep in, so he'll have a safe place to play.
• Supervise your child more closely than you normally do at home, especially when he's in the kitchen or bathroom, says Garry Gardner, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics's Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention.
When you're at a hotel
• Call ahead to find out if the staff will childproof the room for you. If not, ask if there are childproofing kits available, which may include outlet and doorknob covers, ties to bundle wires, and more.
• Inspect the crib. The slats should be no more than 2-3/8 inches apart so your child's head can't get stuck, and the mattress and crib should fit snugly so your baby can't fall in the crack (it's too loose if the space is more than two fingers wide). Also, remove blankets, pillows, and other soft bedding for kids under 12 months.
• Make sure the TV seems stable where it's located (ask the hotel staff to move it if not), get rid of tablecloths (which kids can pull down), unplug the coffeemaker and blow-dryer, and inspect the floor for staples, thumbtacks, and other small or sharp objects.
• Keep windows and doors -- especially those leading to balconies -- locked and/or bolted.