Credit: Chris Hornaday

Chris HornadayDont let a mishap at your hotel or vacation rental ruin the fun. Before you book, make sure these safety measures are in place, says Meri-K Appy, president of the Home Safety Council, a national nonprofit in Washington, D.C.

  • Sprinklers on every floor. Beware: Some older hotels may only have them in the restaurants, but theyre crucial for protecting you in case of fire. If sprinklers are not on every floor, find another place to stay.
  • Childproofing. Some chains like Loews will childproof a room for you prior to arrival if you give them a heads-up. If your hotel doesnt offer this service, bring your own supplies (plug covers, cabinet latches, etc.) and do a childproofing run-through before you let your kids in the room.
  • Windows guards. If a hotel doesnt have them installed, they should at least have windows that lock.

Vacation homes

  • A carbon monoxide detector. Although this colorless, odorless gas is more of a problem in the winter, it can be an issue if theres a fuel-burning appliance (like a gas stove) around. If a cottage or house youre renting doesnt have a detector, bring along a plug-in unit.
  • Water heater. Its often set at 140 to 150 degrees, a temperature that can give a child third-degree burns in two seconds. Play it safe and request that the heater be set at 120 degrees.
  • A fence around the pool. You want one thats at least 4 feet high with a gate that locks to prevent kids from accessing the pool when theres no adult supervision.