As I start planning my family’s summer vacation, I can’t help but think about the safety of the summer vacation rental home we’ll be staying in. Whether it be, Airbnb, VRBO, or any other summer vacation home, unfamiliar homes can present dangers to my family, and I want to make sure we take all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe and enjoy our vacation to the fullest. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends checking for safety features before signing the rental agreement, such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, and safety measures for pools and residential elevators1. In this blog post, I’ll share some vacation home safety tips on how to make safety a priority when staying in a vacation rental, so you can have a worry-free and enjoyable vacation with your loved ones.
- Check for adequate smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke alarms should be on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside every bedroom. Carbon monoxide alarms should be on every level of the home outside sleeping areas.
- Make sure there is a fire extinguisher in the home.
- Have a fire escape plan (providing two ways out of each room).
- Check all windows. Keep all window cords out of reach of children. Use tape to move cords between the window and shade to keep cords out of sight.
- Keep cleaning supplies in a locked cabinet or out of reach of children.
- Avoid deadly furniture and TV tip-overs; don’t let children climb on furniture, and don’t place toys and remotes where children might be tempted to climb up to reach for them.
- Keep baby’s sleep space free from pillows and blankets, and use cribs that meet CPSC safety standards. Even when traveling, ensure that baby sleeps in a flat crib or play yard with a well-fitting sheet.
- Check SaferProducts.gov to be sure none of the child or infant products in a vacation rental are subject to a recall. If they are, do not use them, and notify the property or rental manager.
- Never leave a child unattended in or near water, and always designate an adult Water Watcher. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone, or otherwise be distracted.
- Child drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among children ages one to four years old.
- There should be an alarm on the door leading from the house to the pool.
- Pools and spas should be surrounded by a fence at least four feet high with self-closing and self-latching gates.
- Pools and spas should have drain covers that meet federal standards; consumers can ask property or rental managers for confirmation.
- Life-saving equipment, such as life rings or reaching poles, should be available for use.
- Make sure kids learn to swim.
- Keep children away from pool drains.
- Know how to perform CPR on children and adults.
Home Elevator Safety
- Be aware of a deadly gap (greater than 4 inches deep) that may exist between the interior and exterior doors of home elevators. Children, from ages 2 through 16, have been crushed to death in this gap. In some incidents, children have suffered multiple skull fractures, fractured vertebrae, traumatic asphyxia, and other horrific and lifelong injuries.
- Lock the elevator so that it cannot be accessed by children; or lock all exterior (hoistway) doors to the elevator.
- Don’t let children play with or around residential elevators.
- Residential elevators were linked to 4,600 injuries and 22 deaths from 1981 through 2019
By following these tips, you can help ensure your family’s safety while on vacation.