Get their number and call them directly. If possible, visit the facility. Ask them the same questions you would ask the hotel if they were providing the service. Satisfy your concerns about your child’s safety before you commit. It's better to evaluate their program by talking direct, rather than by getting the information from the hotel.
For that special night out, make it special for the kids too ! They'd rather enjoy an in-room movie, video games and a pizza. When traveling with teenagers, don’t restrict them with baby sitting duties. Remember, it’s vacation time for them too. Know your kids well enough to decide whether you are comfortable leaving them with the hotel staff. Below are some important questions to ask the hotel before you decide.
Do they have their own internal babysitting service or do contract off premises ?
What are their hours ? Any restrictive times ?
Important ! Find out up front what the cost will be.
Are there time limits on the length of stay, or latest hour of the service ?
Are there any other restrictions such as; they must be potty trained, you must show present vaccination certificates, or the kids must meet certain age minimums ?
What are the qualifications, experience and training of the staff ?
What are the ages of the sitters ?
Have criminal and background checks been done on the employees ?
Are they trained to perform CPR and other emergency procedures on children and infants ?
Are they trained to safely take your kids to the hotel pool ?
If they use a group or common area provider, what is the child to caregiver ratio ?
Are the hotel or provider and their caregivers, adequately insured ?
Are security measures used when a child is picked up from the center ? Is proper I.D. required ?
How safe are the rental cribs ? Do they have weight restrictions ? Are the widths of the bars up to federal safety requirements ?
Will the hotel childproof the room for you or must you do it yourself ? If they can't will they provide plug inserts and other safety items so that you can do it ?
Ask them to remove any questionable or risque movie advertising from your room. Make sure that they block objectionable movies from your T.V.
Check any brochures, coupon books or other reading material left in the room. Often it could contain adult advertising.
Most hotels change the sheets daily, but find it cost prohibitive to clean the bed’s comforter or bed spread after each guest. You don’t know what "activities" might have taken place by previous guests on your comforter. Avoid lying on top of the comforter or bed spread, that includes the kids ! Take it off the bed and use your child’s blanket, which I'm sure you brought with you, as a top cover. It will also help your child feel more at home.
Always make sure your windows, doors and balconies are locked.
Check out and test the railings on outside balconies. See how easy it might be for your child to climb over. Determine whether a head could get stuck between the rails. You might be better off requesting a first floor room.
Make sure your child knows the hotel name and address. Remember, many chain hotels have multiple locations in the same city or area. Pin an "I’m staying at…" instruction note in their pocket.
Ask the hotel for one of their printed cards or postcards. That would be perfect for this purpose.
Teach them how to stay safe, calm and unafraid, if you must leave them alone in the room for a short time.
Stress that they must always keep the door closed, locked and bolted.
Make sure that they understand to never admit to being alone in the room to anyone calling or knocking at the door.
Have them ask the name and purpose of the person knocking on the door, but still not let them in.
Teach them to call the front desk to verify the identity of anyone knocking on the door before opening it.
If the person at the door is not a hotel employee, but is simply leaving something for someone in the family, instruct your child to ask them to drop it at the front desk. Remember, this could merely be a rouse to get the door open.
If the deliverer insists that they must have a signature, have the child tell them to deliver it to the front desk. They can then call the front desk and OK the delivery. Again, this could merely be a ploy to get the door open.
Yes, it will help them feel more comfortable and secure in new surroundings.
It’s also a good chance to introduce them to the people at the front desk. That could be a big help if they have a problem. Make sure that they know that people will change, but anyone behind the desk will help if they need it.
A tour will help keep them from getting lost and show them how to get back to their room.
It's a chance to point out fire exits, stairs and fire extinguishers.
Take this time to explain the pool area safety rules to them.
It helps to avoid surprises at check out. Take time to explain how the room’s mini-bar works. Explain the prices and the fact that you will be charged for any item used or missing. Also point out the cost of in-room movies and telephone calls.
You can ask for the mini-bar to be locked and in room movies blocked. Be sure that the front desk is aware that you do not intend to use these features.
Assure your kids that if they try to sneak a coke or chips, the hotel’s billing system will catch them and that you’ll find out and have to pay for them.
With older kids, make some agreement on how to use the phone, especially long distance calls. Point out that hotel calls are usually more expensive.
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