Tag Archives: Safety

Friday Favorite: Wiz Gear Magnetic Car Mount

Today’s Favorite Travel Product: Wiz Gear Magnetic Car Mount

2 Pack from Wiz Gear

Before I start please let me be clear: I don’t promote or support texting while driving. If you live or travel in a state where talking on your cell phone is legal, then I am okay with that- if done safely! However, I do value Continue reading Friday Favorite: Wiz Gear Magnetic Car Mount

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What Is A Travel Ring? And Do You Need One?

In the last two months I’ve spent more time than ever in jewelry stores. Trust me when I say, it’s not my favorite place to hang out. Because I’m not really a jewelry loving girl, I can think of a million other ways I’d rather spend my money! Nevertheless, my time in the jewelry stores was necessary because of my engagement/wedding ring setting. Long story short, I reset my ring.

Prior to commissioning the job, my husband and I spent time with several jewelers in the area. Besides shopping the price, we also evaluated the quality of work and personality of jeweler. The experience was tedious, but necessary. At one point the topic of work came up and I mentioned writing about travel. The Russian jeweler immediately reacted and said:

“Oh, that’s fantastic. Do you have a travel rig?”

Thinking the question was both odd and insightful (but chalking it up to the slight language barrier), I replied “No, just a car. But we’re hoping to get an RV in the next year or two.”

Crickets. The silence stretched for what felt like forever. Finally the awkwardness of the situation forced me to say “wait, what did you ask?”

Gesturing to the display cases he repeated “A rig. Do you have a travel RING?”

Oh. Feeling ridiculous for my initial response I attempted to play it off. As I stumbled over a new answer, I realized I still didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. He finally explained that very often people purchase a ring specifically for travel. The idea is to eliminate the risk involved with a “real” ring.

Skeptical, I tried to imagine the practicality of this purchase. Theoretically most people should have insurance on their ring. In fact, was the likelihood of having your ring stolen or  lost when traveling actually higher than everyday? However, I suppose certain travel might be more risky with a real ring. Since I neither participate in extreme activities or travel in extremely unsafe areas I dismissed the concept.

I walked out of that jewelry store feeling like I’d sidestepped a sales job. Clearly that man had been attempting to sell me an impractical and unnecessary piece of jewelry.

Several weeks later I went in to pick up my newly set ring and the gentleman revisited our conversation. He asked “have you thought any more about getting a travel ring?” I brushed him off with a laugh saying “I’ll let you know when I do.”

Later that day as I sat in carline waiting on my son I decided to google “travel ring” just to see if it were even a thing. And I was floored. Apparently it is! Who knew?

It’s pretty hard to tell which is a travel ring and which ones are real!

I sat there reading article after article about the concept. Though I haven’t yet purchased one myself, I’m slightly more sold on the idea than when it was originally introduced to me. In case the concept is as foreign to you as it was to me, here are a couple of articles:

Fake Engagement Rings To Wear When You Travel

Why We Leave Our Rings At Home When Traveling

So what do you think? Practical or unnecessary? Do you have one or would you consider getting one? 

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How To Baby Proof Your Hotel Room

Hotel rooms are full of dangers for baby!
Hotel rooms are full of dangers for baby!

I distinctly remember the first few times we stayed in a hotel room with our infant daughter. My stress level was off the charts. Unfortunately although she was several months old, she wasn’t sleeping through the night. I worried she would wake other guests. I stressed that I might not be able to get her to sleep in an unfamiliar environment. I wondered what I would do if she woke up too early. Our first few hotel nights with a baby were anything but restful.

But then we turned a corner, and suddenly she slept through the night. As we approached another vacation requiring a hotel stay I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that I had nothing to worry about.

I had been so preoccupied worried about sleep, I failed to prepare for the fact that my daughter was now crawling. Our home had long since been baby proofed. In fact, our home was baby proofed prior to the birth because I’m THAT Type A! So somehow it didn’t occur to me that I would struggle in a hotel room with a mobile child.

You can tell this girl is TROUBLE when she's on the move!
You can tell this girl is TROUBLE when she’s on the move!

I’m pretty sure our first hotel visit with a crawling baby required complete furniture rearrangement, a few trips down to the front desk for backup, and even a run to Target for “supplies.” It would be easy to assume based on that one experience that we never traveled again. But, of course, that hasn’t been the case! I lived, and I learned.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned about how to make a hotel room safe for babies. (Also, if I’m being honest, some of these tips aren’t directly related to safety, but sanity. Doing a few of these things will help keep YOU sane in a small space with a small person!):

  • Move everything dirty or breakable to out of reach locations: Place the trashcan on the bathroom counter. Unplug the lamps and store them in the closet. Anything you can eliminate from reach will help.
  • Prearrange for Pack N Play or Crib: If you aren’t traveling with your own, call ahead and make sure to reserve a place for your child to sleep. This can also double as a play pen for when you need to shower, or keep them safe.

    Pack N Plays are absolutely necessary for safe sleeping in a hotel room!
    Pack N Plays are absolutely necessary for safe sleeping in a hotel room!
  • Unplug The Phone: My children are being raised in the cell phone generation. The only time they ever see an actual phone is when we stay in a hotel. To this day, they are fascinated with it. Fortunately, now I can tell them to just leave it alone. But for years, I had to unplug it to avoid accidental calls.

    A "real" phone is such a novelty these days!
    A “real” phone is such a novelty these days!
  • Always Latch Door: This may go without saying, but always make sure to latch your hotel door from the highest point.
  • Outlet Covers: Outlet covers are cheap and small. They are so easy to travel with and definitely provide peace of mind. Occasionally we’ve stayed in hotels that provide them (Ritz Carleton!) but most will not so it’s better to just pack your own.

    The Ritz Carleton wins our award for best baby proof hotel!
    The Ritz Carlton wins our award for best baby proof hotel!
  • Painters Tape: Traveling with painters tape can also be a lifesaver when attempting to quickly baby proof a hotel room. You can use it to secure blind cords out of reach, and hold cabinet doors shut.
  • Disinfectant wipes: If you recently read my Sick On Vacation post you know that I have a slight fear of germs. Of course, that is magnified when you have very small children who want to stick everything in their mouth. Although I trust hotel rooms are cleaned thoroughly, I always like to quickly wipe down items like the remote control.
  • Keep Bathroom Door Closed: This one is pretty self explanatory. It allows you to avoid dangerous issues like hot water from the bath tap.
No amount of baby proofing is going to make a hotel room completely safe!
No amount of baby proofing is going to make a hotel room completely safe!

Of course no matter how hard you work to baby proof a hotel room, it won’t replace attention to your child. Hotels can be awesome ways for your family to break out of the normal routine and explore new places. However, it’s important to realize that travel will involve some work.

Do you have any tips for baby proofing your hotel room?

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Friday Favorite- The Stair Barrier

Friday Favorite

Today’s Favorite Travel Product: The Stair Barrier

Favorite Travel Product
Favorite Travel Product

Despite my effort to keep my kids little, they somehow keep growing. We’ve slowly transitioned away from many of the safety products I once deemed necessary. Just last month the bedrails came off my son’s “big boy bed” and I might have shed a tear. However, just because they are getting older doesn’t mean that safety is any less of a concern.

Recently we had the opportunity to travel with extended family to a beach house. The kids on the trip ranged in age from 1 to 14. With the variety of ages it was imperative for us to have good safety measures in place for ALL the children. One of the biggest hurdles- in the past- was how to handle the stairs.

Putting up temporary gates, while safe for the smaller kids, created major hazards for the older children who were unable to properly navigate opening a gate. In the past the older kids would try to climb or jump over any gate we placed in front of the stairs. This created an incredibly dangerous situation for them. It also led us to dismantle the gate (or whatever we were using to block the stairs) halfway through the week.

A few months ago The Stair Barrier caught my attention. Instantly I recognized the safety value and convenience of this product. I couldn’t wait until our trip to test out the product! Upon arrival at the beach house, we set up the gate blocking off the stairs leading to our pool. The gate was easy to install, and extremely easy to use!

The older children could unclip and re-clip the gate easily!
The older children could unclip and re-clip the gate easily!

The older children were able to unclip the sides for pool access, and re-clip the gate to keep the younger kids safe. The height of the gate was perfect because it did not allow for anyone to attempt stepping over it. We were also able to bring the gate inside at night to barricade the inside stairs. This allowed us to sleep easy knowing none of the kids would wake up and have an accident on the stairs.

The Stair Barrier rolls up into an extremely convenient travel size. Although we just threw it in the car, it could easy fit into a large suitcase for airline travel. The gate is made from very durable canvas. After a week outside at the beach, ours still looks brand new!

Each side of The Stair Barrier has three adjustable clip straps. The versatility of this product makes it ideal in both temporary and permanent situations. Unlike many other baby gate products, no damage to the walls or rails occurs from use.

Secured to the deck rails with no damage to our rental beach house!
Secured to the deck rails with no damage to our rental beach house!

The Stair Barrier comes in a variety of customizable options. For travel, I particularly recommend the indoor/outdoor option. The gates are made in America, come in a variety of fabric colors and can even be monogrammed.

Did you know that stairs are one of the leading causes of injury for kids?  Also, did you know that 1 in 5 people report suffering an injury on vacation? Mix those two statistics together and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The Stair Barrier is an easy, affordable solution. It can truly “safe” a vacation. Additionally, the gate gives parents peace of mind to enjoy the vacation without worrying about stair safety.

Keeping our little ones away from the pool has never been easier!
Keeping our little ones away from the pool has never been easier!

This product is awesome and it made our family vacation incredibly stress-free. I look forward to traveling with it in the future. To find out more about the product and order yours, visit their website.

*Stair Barrier provided Mom With A Map with a gate; however, the opinions expressed in this post are all my own.*

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Keep Your Home Safe While Traveling

House

When you travel, it’s important to protect your home. Keeping your belongings safe while you are away can be a matter of a few simple steps:

  1. Stop Your Mail and Paper: If you have several piled up papers in the driveway or a mailbox full of mail, you might as well just put a sign in the yard that says “we’re out of town.” Stopping your mail is very easy and takes about 3 minutes. Visit this website to hold your mail for the duration of your vacation. Accumulated mail can, conveniently, be delivered at the end of your hold dates. Newspapers vary, but can most often be stopped online. Unfortunately, most are unable to deliver missed papers.
  2. Remember Trash and Recycling: If you are out of town on a trash/recycle day, make arrangements with your neighbors. The lack of a trash can on pick up day can be a red flag that you are gone. Also, if your trash can and recycle bin sit down at the curb after being emptied, that is a pretty good indication that you’re not home.
  3. Set Your Alarm: We have a really nice alarm system. It’s high tech and awesome. But it is user dependent. We have definitely gone out of town in the past and forgotten to set it. Obviously, it can’t do any good if it’s not on. However, we have the ability to set it from our mobile device if we forget to arm it prior to leaving town. And, we have a feature where we can turn on lights and check cameras from our phones too. Investing in your safety and then USING your investment is never a waste!
  4. Invest in Outdoor Lighting: We have changed most of the lighting on the sides and rear of our house to motion sensor lights. Although we also like turning on our other outdoor lighting, the motion sensor lights are a great deterrent to anyone exploring your property. It is simple to have these always on and they do not depend on us leaving lights on full time while we are away.
  5. Alert Your Neighbors: We always try to tell at least one or two of our neighbors when we’ll be gone. It’s nice to know that someone will be looking out for your house and will call you if they notice anything unusual. Also, putting papers and mail on hold will eliminate those things from piling up. Unfortunately, they don’t stop UPS and FedEx from delivering. Or any other random deliveries (fliers on mailbox, dry cleaning, etc.)

Obviously, nothing is fool proof…but these tips should help keep your house safe while you are away.

What else do you do to keep your home safe when you travel?

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How I Fly With Car Seats- Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a post about Why I Fly With Car Seats, and today I will address “HOW” I fly with car seats. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s not always easy. Hopefully through this post I can give you some tips to make it a little easier!

flywithcarseat3

I have to start by saying, if your child does not have a ticket (meaning, they are under 2) you may not be able to bring a car seat for them. However, don’t rule it out! Here are a few tips for how to bring a car seat on a plane if you are traveling with an un-ticketed child:

  1. Arrive at the airport early.
  2. ALWAYS ask at the check-in counter if your flight is full. If it is not a full flight they can often juggle the seats at that point so that you are moved to seats on the plane with an “extra” seat for your car seat.
  3. Even if I am told “no” at the check-in desk, we still take our car seats to the gate. As soon as I arrive at the gate, I will ask a gate agent the same question. I’ve found gate agents to be very helpful and they have always done their best to work with the flight crew to accommodate our request.
  4. If it turns out that the flight is completely full and we are not able to bring our car seat onto the plane for a small child, we like checking our car seats at the gate. It gives us confidence knowing we’ve done everything we can to ensure the car seats are on our flight.

Flywithcarseat

 

Here are a few tips I have for how to travel with car seats on a plane:

  1. Know the label: In order to fly with a car seat, it must be approved for airline travel. I have never actually seen a 5-point harness car seat that wasn’t approved for airline travel…but apparently they must exist. Flight attendants will check. Every. Single. Time. Know your label and be able to point to exactly where it says “airline approved!” Otherwise, you will have a whole line of passengers very annoyed with you as the flight attendant scrambles to find the wording!                                                                                                     IMG_6413
  2. Window Seat: If you are planning to use a car seat on an airplane, they must be positioned in the window seat. No exceptions. If you are traveling with 2 children, you will need to sit in separate rows (obviously, each with an adult) because each of the children will need a window seat. Also, you may not sit in an exit row.
  3. Light (and inexpensive): Our everyday car seats are big, bulky Britax seats. We love them! However, when flying, I travel with smaller, lighter seats. It’s much more do-able.
  4. Prepare: Just as we would if we were taking a car trip, we make sure to prepare the children to be in their car seats for an extended period of time on the flight. We always go potty or change to a fresh diaper right as they begin boarding the flight. Likewise, I allow (uhh…force!) my kids to walk the airport while we are waiting for our flight so that they will be all worn out and ready to sit for a while.Flywithcarseat1
  5. Set Expectations: As I mentioned in my previous post, my kids understand car seat safety. They don’t even question having their straps buckled and they know that roaming about isn’t an option. If you have traveled in the past without car seats, you may need to re-set expectations for your children. Let them know that they will be sitting in their car seats throughout the flight. Of course, be sure to bring along lots of fun things for them to do while they are in their seats!
  6. Know the Rules: FYI- car seats DO NOT count as a carry on. They are also complimentary to check (in the event that you are not able to bring the seat on board for whatever reason.)
  7. Smile and be Nice: Let’s be honest, not everyone is super excited at the thought of traveling with kids on their flight. I have found that a smile and a kind word can go a long way- from asking the gate agent for help, to boarding a flight with a large car seat in addition to other carry on bags. Most people have been extremely helpful and kind, if I start the conversation with a smile!
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Why I Fly With Car Seats- Part 1

Over the years I have been asked lots of questions about traveling with my children. Perhaps the most often asked and debated questions involve flying with car seats. I am a huge proponent of placing children in car seats on airplanes.  Today I will address “WHY” and tomorrow I will write about “HOW.”

Flywithcarseat

First let me just acknowledge, yes, this does require a little extra effort! But I firmly believe the benefit outweighs the additional work. Here is why:

  1. Safety First: There is no doubt in my mind- children are the safest when buckled into a 5-point harness car seat on a plane. Will a car seat save your child’s life if the whole plane crashes…probably not. But a child who is buckled into a 5-point harness car seat stands a much less likely chance of being injured during turbulence.
  2. Buckled Correctly, at all times: My children take their car seats very seriously. They understand that when my car is moving, their car seats are buckled. The airplane is no exception. I often see the plane seat belts being used optionally. Children (and adults!) feel a sense of freedom to move around, wiggle out of the belt, and even sit/lay in such a way that makes their belt virtually useless. Again, safety first! If the plane hits unexpected turbulence, children who are not buckled correctly might easily be injured.
  3. Containment: This is where the struggle to haul a car seat through the airport becomes selfishly worth it to me, as a parent. My kids are contained for the entire flight. I don’t have to struggle with a toddler who wants to move about. I don’t have to argue with my child to sit down or keep their buckle on. Just as they don’t ask to get out of their car seats while we are traveling in the car, it doesn’t even occur to them to ask to get out on a plane.
  4. Comfort: My children are comfortable in their car seats. When they were little, they would fall asleep easily during a flight in their seat. While sleep is more elusive these days, I do see them relax. They will lean their heads against the headrest and snuggle into the seat for the duration of the flight.
  5. Ease/Safety at Destination: Behind safety on the plane, this is probably my next most important reason for traveling on airplanes with our car seats- the destination travel. For starters, I like having my own car seats along on our trip. I know they have never been in a car accident. I know how to correctly install them. And I know they are clean. Secondly, if you physically have the seats on the plane with you- you know they have arrived. Checked baggage does occasionally get lost, and car seats are no exception. What do you do if you arrive at your destination and your car seats do not come out on the carousel? You either wait, or make other arrangements to rent seats…but you obviously can’t leave the airport until you have that straightened out.

 

I hope this post has convinced you to consider flying with your car seat. Tomorrow I will post about “How” I travel with car seats to give you some helpful tips!

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Prepare The House

Before you travel, it’s important that you do a few things around your house to prepare. A few of my suggestions are merely for convenience, while others are for the safety of your home. Either way, doing these things will help you have an enjoyable time away!

clean

As we established in a previous post (here), packing is not my thing. However, we travel enough that I’ve got my whole house-prep routine down to a science.

Here are my top 5 suggestions for things to do at your house before you leave for a trip:

 1. Clean: Do a thorough cleaning several days before you plan to travel. It feels so great to come home to a clean house. Plus, you never know when you’ll have to unexpectedly ask a neighbor to walk through your house and check for the boogie man because you went out of town with your front door wide open. Yes, that actually happened and I’ll address that in my second tip.

Other than making all the beds and doing any last minute dishes, I always clean several days prior to our trip because leaving it until last minute never works.

Clean

2. Doors: Check all your doors to make sure they are closed and locked. I think I’ve already covered why that’s important.

3. Empty the Fridge: This isn’t as drastic as it sounds, but it’s probably the item on my list that takes the most forethought. I don’t wait until the day before a trip to decide what in my fridge will spoil while I’m gone.

I typically start taking my fridge into consideration 2 weeks out. I make sure my grocery shopping that week has very complete meals and I make my final purchase of our fridge staples (milk, eggs, yogurt, etc.)

The week before we leave for a trip, I rarely go grocery shopping. I will pick up some fresh fruit, but even then I usually count and only get enough for the few days leading up to our trip. Our meals tend to get a little wonky- we eat lots of leftovers, and random things that use up whatever is left in our fridge. For example- if we have lots of eggs I will make breakfast for dinner.

My final step is to open the fridge within hours of leaving and toss out anything that will expire while we’re gone. If I’ve done a good job in the weeks/days leading up to our trip, then I rarely have much to do.

clean1

4. VIP Checklist: While my packing almost always has some element of “fail” to it, I do have a very short list of items that I absolutely can’t leave the house without. 
• Children’s “lovies
• Camera
• Cell phone chargers
• Husband’s medicine
• My purse/wallet- and yes, this actually has to be on the list to be checked
5. Walk Through: I always take one final walk through my house before we pull out of the driveway. Inevitably someone turned on a light, flushed a toilet that stuck, forgot to flush a toilet, or walked back into the house with a “lovie” that was previously checked off the VIP packed list.

I always wait until everyone else is in the car and then do my final walk-through. I turn the air conditioning up or the heat down. I make sure all lights are off, unplug small appliances (like my coffee maker and hair dryer) and grab all forgotten items. Lastly, I set our security system. 

 Do you have a routine for leaving your house for a trip? Any additional tips?

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