Industry Insights

7 Tips for Childproofing Your Short-Term Rental Properties

December 29, 2020 |
How to make your vacation rentals family-friendly

Short-term property management companies are charged with providing smooth, enjoyable and, most importantly, safe stays for all of their guests. If you’re marketing your properties to families with young children, this requires thorough measures to childproof your rentals.  

Though taking the necessary precautions to ensure your accommodations are safe for guests of all ages will involve some time and effort, minimizing the risk of damage and injury and protecting yourself from potential lawsuits will be well worth it, especially since advertising your properties as child-friendly is sure to earn you more family bookings.

Here are seven places to focus when child and baby proofing your rental properties to make them safe options for families: 

1. Windows

As one of the most potentially dangerous areas of a property, the first area of focus when childproofing your rentals should be the windows.

There are a variety of ways you can prevent window accidents, including installing childproof locks and latches, reinforcing windows with exterior guards and removing any furniture that children can climb to gain access to windows.

You should also be sure to check the specific requirements mandated by your local authorities, as they differ across locations. For example, New York State law requires window guards in any property with tenants under the age of 10. 

2. Stairs

Stairs are another common area for accidents. Be sure to check that all railings are secure and consider installing baby gates at the top and bottom of each staircase. 

If you’d prefer, you can purchase removable baby gates that are easy to assemble and store them in your properties for whichever guests may need them. Just be sure to let parents know about them when they check in. 

Protect small vacation rental guests by installing gates at the top of staircases

3. Potential hazards

For young children, even everyday items can present a risk. Do a sweep of each property, keeping an eye out for any potential hazards like electrical sockets, dangling wires, sharp edges or low drawers and cabinets. 

Something as simple as installing child locks on reachable drawers, placing pads over sharp corners, securing furniture to the walls or covering sockets with plastic guards takes minimal effort and can go a long way in preventing serious injuries. 

4. Detectors and smoke alarms

For the sake of all your guests, not just those with small children in tow, you should install smoke alarms and detectors in all of your properties. 

Of course, responsible parents doing their due diligence when booking vacation accommodations may be more likely to check whether the properties they’re considering are equipped with these life-saving devices. Regularly check detectors to ensure they’re in working order and note in your listing descriptions that there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on the premises. 

Regularly check smoke detectors in your vacation rental properties

5. Swimming pools and hot tubs

Pools and jacuzzis are a big draw for guests, but with drowning as a leading cause of mortality worldwide, it is critical to take comprehensive safety precautions before allowing children on the premises.  

Enclose the area on all sides and ensure all doors leading to the pool are self-closing so they cannot be left open accidentally. Provide inflatables, but make sure caretakers know these are not an alternative to closely monitoring their children at all times. Put up a clear sign that stipulates that children must be accompanied by an adult in the pool area, which can protect you from any liability and, more importantly, save lives.  

6. Delicates

If you’ve invested a lot into the interior design of your properties and outfitted them with lots of attractive, but vulnerable accessories (think vases, floor lamps, anything made of glass or porcelain), you may want to think twice about advertising your properties as family-friendly. 

You won’t be happy with broken items and your guests won’t be able to rest easy, knowing that delicates and small children are a recipe for disaster. 

Of course, there’s always the option of diversifying your property portfolio to include both childproof havens and luxury, adult-only accommodations.

Consider the type of guests you'd like to host in your short-term rental properties when choosing your interior design

7. Cleanliness

Advertising your properties as kid-friendly means you’re going to have to make sure they’re thoroughly cleaned between each stay, as children are notorious mess makers and small items left behind can pose a risk to littles ones. 

Have your cleaning personnel pay extra attention when readying the floors and low-surface areas for families with children and, if any areas of your properties are carpeted, consider having them professionally cleaned on occasion to remove any dangerous items that may go unnoticed in a typical cleaning.  

The Proof is in the Bookings 

Once you’ve done your utmost to ensure your properties are safe and accommodating for young children, definitely make note of this in your listing description, perhaps even detailing the efforts you’ve made to guarantee families a worry-free stay. 

Parents are sure to appreciate the knowledge that someone has considered any and all risks to their most prized possessions and are more likely to book with a host that has taken diligent steps to minimize them.

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