Childproofing Hotel Rooms
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Baby monitor in a hotel room
- Baby-proofing hotel room for crawling baby
- Baby-proofing hotel rooms for one-year-old
- Preventing 5-year-old from escaping hotel room
We'll be traveling with a baby who sleeps through the night but goes to sleep really early (like at 7). He also gets distracted if we're in his room while he's trying to get to sleep. We were thinking of setting up our baby monitor in the hotel room after we put him down for sleep (in a portacrib in our room) and getting some dinner in the hotel restaurant while he settles down for sleep. Is this legal or could we be charged with something? I don't see how it's really that much different than setting up the baby monitor in a bedroom at home and watching TV in a room three floors down.
I don't know if you'd be breaking any laws, but PLEASE don't leave your baby alone in the hotel room while you go out to dinner. In my opinion, there is a big difference between being in another part of your house with the monitor on, and in leaving your baby alone in a hotel room while you go out, monitor or not. Other people (hotel staff) have access to your hotel room. True, you would not think that anyone would go in there while you are gone, but how often have you heard of things being stolen from hotel rooms? Or worse things happening? It is not safe and secure. Would you leave a really expensive piece of video equipment in the room while you go out? Cash? Credit cards? Probably not, for fear of it being stolen. So why would you think of leaving your baby? How would you feel if you came back from dinner and the baby was gone? Unfortunately there are lots of criminals out there and you don't know who might be observing you and your baby. They could just be waiting for the right opportunity. Even if they didn't have a key to your room, criminals know how to gain entry. I probably sound really paranoid but if you read or watch the news it is really not so far-fetched. Even if nobody came in the room while you were gone, what if your baby wakes up and needs consoling? My vote is, either take the baby with you to the restaurant or get some take out and eat it in the rooom. Your baby may be off schedule and have a hard time settling, but I think that is all part of travelling with a young child.
I hope my response doesn't sound too harsh, it just really scares me and makes me sad to think of your baby being left alone in the hotel room. Anon
I wouldn't do it, and I doubt that it's legal. I know the chances of anything actually happening are very remote, but what if the hotel room key wouldn't work when you tried to get back in, or something? You're likely to be much further away from the room than you would be even in a 3-story house. I would suggest either finding a babysitter where you're going, or getting a 2-room suite. That way you can at least be in the hotel room eating and watching TV or enjoying a little time together away from the distractions of home.
When our son was a baby, we did this many times, since we often traveled with him. We would eat within the hotel or talk with friends and family in the lobby. He was constantly listened to on the baby monitor. It worked great. Of course, as he got older and could get out of a crib by himself, we no longer did this! Now, as a 6-year-old who still needs darkness and minimal distraction at bedtime, we usually book suite-type hotel rooms that have separation between the main bedroom (ours) and living area with fold-out couch (his). That way we're out of sight and can watch TV quietly or have a light on for reading. --Hoping It Wasn't Illegal!!
I don't know the law on this, but my instinct says don't do it. Or, ask the hotel their rules about leaving a child in a room alone. It's probably far-fetched, but what if a hotel employee enters your room w/o your knowledge? What if someone breaks in? What if there's a fire? An earthquake?
I'd opt for a suite, keeping the baby in the bedroom and with a living room for you and your husband to hang out in.
The difference is you're in a public space, not one owned or rented entirely by you -Better safe than sorry.
I wouldn't do it. First off, it is different than being in your own home, unless you have lots of strangers wandering around your halls. :-)
But the main reason I wouldn't do it is that legal or not, if someone at the hotel found out you could get a lot of hassle. It may be legal (not sure) but do you really want to find out by having the hotel call the police on you? If you're not sure it's okay, the hotel employees or guests may not be sure either and decide to err on the safe side Not sure
i think it would be very irresponsible to leave your child alone in a hotel room. what would happen in a fire? an earthquake? if someone broke in?
get a room that has a balcolny or get two adjoining rooms. you and your partner can get some room service and wine and dine knowing your child is safe. anon
I'm sure y ou will get a lot of postings saying this is illegal or unethical, but we've definitely done it!. It really isn't different than putting them in a room at home. Two tips: get a long range monitor, you will be suprised at how much it comes in handy in the next few years and how often you will use it.
Another tip is to ask for a ground floor room. This way, your balcony or ''lanai'' will be open onto the ground, so you can come and go from there, sit out there when the baby is going to sleep and not be trapped; and your monitor is more likely to work, etc.
A third tip is to bring your own portable crib. These are smaller than hotel cribs and may fit in the bathroom. Our children have clocked a lot of nights in hotel rooms sleeping in the bathroom. But remember to use the toilet before you put your kid to bed. We have also had hotel rooms that have large closets and you can put the portable crib in there if its well ventilated. You can also just push them around the corner into the dressing room space, etc.
We too have children that are used to falling asleep alone and would never be able to take naps without a separate space, and all these things work well for us. Have a great vacation. anon
I am a pretty lax mom (I do things that I KNOW many people on this would find crazy, e.g. I once had a handyman I barely know to listen to the baby monitor while my kid napped in the next room and I ran errands). But I wouldn't do this. You won't have a good sense of how well the monitor works in the hotel. All sorts of stuff could go wrong with it and your child could be crying terrified in your room and you wouldn't even know. If there's a fire, or even just a fire alarm, are you going to be able to run up to the room and get your child? (OK, unlikely, but I actually know people who've been in hotels that were evacuated for fires and I've been evacuated for a false alarm TWICE while staying in a hotel). Get a hotel babysitter. They're quite good and then you can actually go to dinner at a restaurant outside the hotel, which will be more fun anyway. Anon
I wouldn't do this, simply for the fact that you would be leaving your baby alone in a hotel room. Even though you would be in the building, many things could go wrong. Any hotel employee could enter the room, for turndown service or whatever. Even if you heard that on your monitor, it would take you too much time to get back to the room--in the worst- case scenario, your baby could be kidnapped. What if there is a fire alarm and they prohibit people from going back into their rooms? An even stranger scenario, what if the people in the next room have a fight and guns are fired? You wouldn't be near enough to protect your baby.
My advice would be to hire a babysitter while you go out for dinner, or get a suite and stay with your baby all the time. That way, you can put the baby down in the crib and wait in the living room area for him to fall asleep. Then, order room service.
Worst-case scenario thinker
I absolutely would not do it. Your baby is way too young. I won't even leave my elementary school aged kids alone asleep in a hotel room. What if there is a fire?
Can you get up to him in time? And, yes, I have stayed at a hotel that caught fire, so I know it can and does happen.
Also, I think if something happens to your child, you could be charged with child endangerment. But how sad that you are more concerned with that than your child's safety. Can't you just order room service or something? anon
I wouldn't do it! I don't think it's the same as being downstairs at home...my house isn't that big! I would be worried that the monitor would not work that far away. And there is always the risk, however small, of someone breaking into your room... As for getting the child to sleep, couldn't one parent leave the room, have a swim, a drink, whatever, while the other parent is nice and quiet while the baby gets to sleep? Can you afford an adjoining room? I was even thinking you could set up the portacrib in the bathroom! If the baby gets to sleep in there, you can order room service! Otherwise, if you want dinner out after 7, it looks like you need to get a babysitter (who would have an easy job, for sure!) anon
I would be weary of doing this. I think it really depends on how large the hotel is. If you are staying somewhere very small, where the dining room is on the same floor, then you may be able to do this. But call the hotel first and find out. Most hotels will request that you get a babysitter. They have liability issues to deal with if ever anything were to happen. Also, they don't know you as parents, and your level of competency. It isn't right for guests to put them in those circumstances. anon
The differences from home? a) liability b) insecurity - if there were a fire drill, for example, could you really get the baby fast enough? Better to call the hotel concierge now, and ask about babysitter referrals. Yes it's another expense but worth it, imo
PLEASE do NOT leave your baby in the hotel room with the baby monitor while you go elsewhere. That is not the same thing as being in another part of the house. Presumably your own house is not filled with strangers who could abduct your child. In a hotel, that could happen. Plus, I think it is illegal and borders on child endangerment. Just lay in the dark while your baby falls asleep and then you and your husband can take turns going to the hotel restaurant while the other one stays in the room with baby. Or bring a babysitter with you or hire a babysitter through the hotel. But do not, do not, do not leave your child alone in the room! shocked by the question
Take your baby monitor and call the local red cross office in the town where you will be staying. They train babysitters and can give you names/numbers. Also, the hotel may have a list. Don't leave your infant alone in the room. What if a fire should break out and you were prevented from going upstairs? It shouldn't take the threat of police action to send up a red flag that a child alone in a hotel room is bad! Better safe than sorry!
Are you sure the baby monitor will even work when you're in the hotel? If you can afford it, I'd suggest getting a suite that includes a bedroom and separate sitting room. That way you aren't stuck trying to brush your teeth silently and in the dark, not to mention anything else you'd like to do after 7pm. You can bring food in, watch TV, kick up your heels and relax, and baby can still get his shut-eye. Besides, unless he's a seasoned traveler, your child might wake up a lot anyway from being in a strange place. Better to be next door than have to leave your dinner half eaten -good luck
I can't comment on the legality of using a monitor for your baby while he sleeps, but I can tell you from experience that you might run into technical difficulties. We've had varying success picking up the signal from our monitor in different hotels. It's by no means a sure thing, especially in the more modern buildings. We've even tried calling our cell phone from the phone in the room and just leaving the call going as a monitor, but you know how reliable a cell phone is! We usually end up camping out with our reading material in the hallway outside the room, or if we're lucky in a seat near the elevators. Good luck! heidi
I can't speak to the legality of it but, to me, there are several things that make it different. 1) Other people have access to your hotel room (probably every employee of the hotel). 2) If you hear your child crying you may be delayed in getting to the room or, worse yet, stuck in an elevator (in the worst-case scenario). 3) I'm not clear that you could count on the monitor to operate accurately in that situation (could there be interference from all the other devices in the building?) In addition, I'll just throw in my two cents which is that I'd want to be closer and have the flexibility to periodically check and/or respond ASAP and wouldn't be able to relax otherwise.
I imagine you're going to get quite a few more judgmental responses. Please do not get defensive and simply think through what is the safest scenario for your child. I'm glad you asked the question and gave others a chance to give you some feedback. Anon
I was a little concerned that your main question was ''can we be charged with something'' instead of ''is this safe and responsible?'' My response is a big NO WAY. I don't know how you could feel comfortable leaving a baby alone in a strange room in a hotel-monitor or not. I could go through the ''what if'' list but hopefully you will think of all of these on your own. Get a room with a door-often more money but well worth it. anon
There is no way that this could be safe for your baby! I used to work in a hotel, and I know that there are so many people who have keys to those rooms that it is riduculous. Your baby would be at risk every minute, and even if you heard someone enter the room, there is no guarantee that you could make it back to the room in time to prevent something terrible from happening.
Moreover, it seems a bit unfair to subject a roomful of restaurant patrons to the noise that will come from your monitor, many of which emit high-pitched sounds from interference. Could you get the baby to sleep and then do room service? My husband and I love to do that. Or ask the hotel if they have a baby-sitting service. Or if you can get the baby to sleep in a stroller or car-seat, take him with you to the restaurant. Just, please, don't leave your baby alone in a hotel room. I can guarantee that the worry and guilt would ruin your meal anyway incredulous
Hi- I don't want to judge, but you should never leave your child alone while you are out dining. Period. Yes, someone could report you even if you have the monitor in hand. This may sound mean, but if I saw a parents at a hotel with a monitor, I would seriously consider calling the proper authorities. And I bet you would get some serious stares from other hotel patrons.
When we vacation (we have a toddler and have traveled since he was young) we upgrade to a suite. That way he can be in one room with the door closed and we can be in the 'living room area' dining on room service. If you don't like that, then travel with friends and stay in a home rental so folks can swap babysitting duties. Or call a sitter. But please, do not leave your child unattended hopeful you'll make the right choice
Although I sympathize with you trying to put your baby down at 7 pm and having a meal with your spouse at the hotel restaurant, I have to say it's the not the same as setting up a baby monitor in your home and having dinner downstairs. I don't think using a monitor absolves you of the responsibility of being in close proximity to your child in a strange (at least, strange to him!) place. Hotel restaurants are not all that close to the rooms--do you know you will get proper reception? Perhaps I am a paranoid parent, but what about bomb threats, fire, or other evacuation that may be necessary on the spur of the moment? Even if you could get permission to re- enter your floor, it certainly would be stressful and chaotic for you. In your home your movement and entry to and from your child is unimpeded; this may not be so in a hotel. Is using a monitor this way legal? I can't imagine it would be--can you?
Can you try reserving a different room such as a suite, with a separate area from the bedroom? Embassy Suites or Residence Inn type of rooms? They are often pretty reasonable and give you more flexibility with baby privacy issues. Believe me, we had vacations where one of us went out and the other parent stayed and read a book in our room's bathroom until the baby was asleep. Then, coast was clear, and we ordered dinner in or simply ate before all this bedtime business had to be settled.
Good luck. I urge you to think of another solution. This is how I would decide: Do I want to be rationalizing my decision to the authorities if something indeed happens? Anon
Huh?! OK, it might just be me, but that doesn't sound like a good idea at all, especially in an unfamiliar new place. I'll leave it at that. Just my two cents
I encourage you not to be put off from traveling by the responses you initially received to your post. The idea among some posters is that there are evildoers at every corner, lurking in the shadows to steal your child and belongings. Fahrenheit 911 did a great job of illustrating how our society functions on the basis of artificial fears that encourage us to buy more goods and services, and lock ourselves in our homes to keep the bad folks at bay. Some of your posters also seemed to imply that good parents should be chained to their children at all times.
It is not for someone else to advocate you doing this, but not condemning it either. If your child is a sound sleeper, it should be safe to leave your hotel room with a baby monitor if you leave the ''do not disturb'' sign to prevent turndown service. Needless to say, I would only even consider doing this at a reputable establishment. The ideas about having a room on the first floor seemed helpful to be able to check up on your child more often and more easily, and likewise keeping a portable crib in the bathroom. Sure a two-room suite is a good idea if you can afford it, but it's often nearly double the price.
It is important to know your child's habits (e.g., deep sleep) and what he/she is capable of doing--it is crucial to make sure your child cannot get out while you are out of the room! On a recent vacation, we once sat in the hallway outside our hotel room waiting for our son to fall asleep for naptime. He opened the door and surprised us! Needless to say, we wouldn't leave him in the room alone. anon
We're going to be taking our first family trip with our 8-month- old son, who is crawling and has just mastered pulling up and standing. We'll be staying in a hotel that doesn't offer any child-safety items (other than a crib, but we're bringing our own Pack N Play). Any suggestions for how to babyproof the place, short of packing an extra suitcase full of gizmos? (It's a suite that includes a kitchenette, living room, and bedroom.) I've heard that masking tape is a good starting point -- would duct tape be better? Tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated by this new, nervous mom. Thanks! :-) CC
One good piece of advice that I got from a friend; get down on your hands and knees and take a look around. Often things like pills are dropped and roll under furniture. anon
We traveled in Europe and stayed in a number of hotel rooms with our 10 month old last autumn. The masking tape idea worked out very well for us; we used it to cover electric outlets, tape drawers and cabinets shut so she couldn't pinch her fingers in them, tape lamp and phone cords up and out of reach. I would not recommend duct tape, as it might peel the paint off if you use it on walls, and make for unhappy hotel staff. As it was, the masking tape pulled off a bit of paint, even though it's not supposed to! Keep the bathroom shut when you aren't using it. If you ! are living out of suitcases and they are out in the open, lay them flat so they can't topple over on the baby, and keep them zipped up. Our daughter found the suitcases to be a lot of fun to crawl onto and over at that age. Evette
The masking tape is a great idea, but be careful with duct tape when taping cabinets, etc. as it can end up peeling off paint, etc. When you come into the room try to rearrange whatever furniture you can move to cover electrical cords/outlets/heater. Keep the bathroom door closed at all times of course. If there is a stove with knobs in reach, just remove the knobs while you're there. If there is a microwave within reach, tape that closed as well, or raise it out of reach. If it is a suite with an upstairs level or an open doorway between areas, you may consider taking along a ''travel'' safety gate if you have one ! (great for taking to Grandma's, too!) If there's a fireplace, ask front desk for extra blankets or pillows to cover the hearth--but remove them if you use the fireplace of course! Of course, there is no substitute for close supervision, but taking these steps can help relieve some of your nerves! Have a wonderful time! Jerilynn & Moustafa
I just wouldn't stress too much re: babyproofing a hotel room. I travel frequently with my nearly two-year old child and have stayed in all sorts of places (hotels or other people's homes as a house sit) and haven't had to babyproof anything. I just try to move power cords out of easy access by putting them behind cabinets or chairs and use a rubber band to keep the doors of the under sink cabinets inaccessible if there are any cleaning prod! ucts under the sink. Of course, I don't really babyproof anything at home other than the above (and a gate at the top of the stairs). Just use a little common sense and don't stress to much. -anon
This summer my husband and I will be traveling in France and Italy with our 1 year old son. After doing some research we've decided it will be safer to take the trains and not drive, which means we will have to pack very light. My big concern is the safety of our son in hotel rooms. Any suggestions on ways (creative or not) to baby proof hotel rooms (and still not bring a million things along)? Some hotels that we are interested in staying at do not have cribs -- and we will not be bringing a pack-n-play with us. Any suggestions on where the baby can sleep safely without a crib (or should we only stay at hotels that have cribs)? Any lightweight ideas for gates/etc. to block doorways and stuff (our son is a crawler). Any recommendations or helpful hints that you learned while traveling would be much appreciated. Thanks for your help.
I was going to suggest some outlet plugs, but of course they won't fit in Europe! Does anyone know if they're available for European outlets? If you have a large enough bed at the hotel, could you just let your son sleep with you? Many folks just make a ''nest'' with rolled-up blankets on the floor (Just don't make it too pillowy). Of course, with yor son potentially mobile while unsupervised, be extra cautious about safety: be sure to put anything potentially hazardous (including curtain cords) up out- of-reach, be sure your windows and doors are locked. R.K.
We spent 6-weeks travelling through South America with our 13-14 month old. Hotel safety was never an issue. Most rooms are pretty small and don't really have that many things dangerous to a child. We just kept the room and bathroom doors closed (and the toilet seat down, just in case). Because the rooms are that small, the baby was never out of sight so she couldn't get into that much trouble. We had the baby sleep wit! h us (between us), and we were there while she took naps (though she took many naps in her stroller) so that that wasn't a danger either. I don't know what dangers you are forseeing. anon
If it's okay with you, let your toddler sleep with you in bed. There are bed rails that break down and could be packed. Also, one of the best peices of advice I ever got was to bring a roll of masking tape. With this we were able to cover electrical outlets, and tape cabinet handles together to keep our twins out of kitchenette cabinets, etc... I'm sure there are other uses as well. CB
The most obvious is to do it the way they would do it, in the bed, between you, or next to mom, with some padding on the floor just in case (although most little ones will prefer to snuggle close). Or if there's an extra bed, ! just move it right next to yours. Another idea is to place the mattress of the extra bed on the floor, and put your suitcases and belongings around it as a barrier. k
We traveled and stay in hotels quite a bit with our toddlers. What we usually do is this: upon arrival, assess the room and rearrange/block off potential hazards with the furniture. Works fine! On a side note, we've also found that chosing one or two destinations and staying up to a week in each works better than moving around every few nights. Have a geat trip!! Christine
Hi - we have a dilemma that I am hoping someone can help solve. We have a 5-year-old daughter and will be staying in a hotel suite that has a bedroom with a king-sized bed for my husband and myself, and a sofabed in the living room area for our daughter. However, this arrangment is not going to work if we can't figure out how to prevent our daughter from simply leaving the room. She is old enough/tall enough to simply unlock all the locks and therefore is simply not safe. We need to somehow be able to prevent her from being able to open the door leading out of the suite, yet at the same time keep it easy for us all to get out in case of emergency. Is there a device we can get to bring with us that would do the trick? Other thoughts? We recently had the same type setup and we had to give our daughter the master bedroom while my husband and I suffered on the awful (and narrow!) sofabed in the living room area. I simply cannot do that again as I got no sleep during that vacation. By the way, please refrain from informing me/us that she needs to learn not to leave the hotel room. We know that. She knows that already. It doesn't stop her from leaving because she can do so and that is exciting to her, as is everything these days that she can do by herself that she wasn't able to before (meaning, physically able to do it, not necessarily permitted to do it). Thanks! want my daughter safe and sound
What about bringing a sleeping bag along for her and making up a palette on the floor in your room on the floor? Then hanging a noisy bell on the bedroom door that will wake yuou if she leaves the bedroom. If you are concerned about privacy for you and your husband, be assured that cosleeping parents have been very successful at love-making with a sleeping child in the room. Or she could be put to bed out in the lving room and then transfered to the floor of your room when you are ready to sleep for the night. Jen
I just got back from a night at an Embassy Suite Hotel and it sounds like the same configuration that you will have on your trip. I worried too about my daughter being so close to the door. I wonder if your daughter is tall enough to reach the safety lock that tends to be on the upper portion of locks. You might call the hotel and inquire about their safety features. Good luck! Amy
Our daughter was a wannabe escape artist too. You can purchase child proof door knob covers. Ours are white plastic things that click together over the door knob and are hard for even some adults to figure out. They come apart if you know how and have strong hands. We bought these when our daughter was 3 and they are still working for her at age 3 yrs. and 7 months. If you are in the same room as your daughter, you are there to remove it in case of emergency. Since we use these at home on her bedroom door to ''help her stay in bed when she has a hard time controlling her body,'' we have to remember to open her door before we go to bed so she can get out in case of an emergency. Hope this helps. anon
Is it possible to simply move the sofabed into the bedroom? Soreya
For a graduation gift in 2000, my aunt bought me a fancy gadget from Sharper Image because she knew that I would be travelling a lot. It is an alarm clock/flashlight that pulls apart. The 2nd part can be used as a motion detector or fire alarm. It is meant to be hung on a hotel room door. I usually don't travel with the 2nd part for fear of it going off sometime when I can't easily turn it off (i.e., on the airplane), but it might work for your circumstance. Anita
A dozen or so years ago, a great-aunt of mine, worried about my safety on a cross-country road trip, gave me a door alarm for hotel room doors. It's a wedge that you use like a doorstop when the door is closed and it emits a (very loud) noise when the door is opened. They're about $15 or $20, I think. If you do a search on Google for ''door alarm'' you should be able to find several versions, particularly from websites that sell ''personal safety'' items (mace, etc.). If you don't mind being (loudly) awakened should your escape artist try to get past the alarm, it might just do the trick. :-) Lisa
There are alarms that are sold for women travelling alone. You put them on the door and activate them when you're ready to stay in for the night. Should someone even wiggle your door handle, the alarm will sound. This may deter your daughter if she knows there's an alarm that will alert you to her impending escapade. Another idea is a form of bribery. Since you're on vacation, you're probably planning on some fun activities with her. Tell her if she behaves herself by staying in her bed all night (except for bathroom breaks, etc.), she will get to do ''x'' tomorrow. It may help to reinforce the positive behavior. Good luck and bon voyage!
We once used a small (2.5 inches) brass latch/locking plate that screws onto the door frame and can lock in place very simply to prevent a door from opening inward. The latch can be put high up on the door where your daughter can't reach it. The only downside is that you need to place two- quite small- screws in the hotel door frame (we used it on a door at the top of a staircase in our home). - a safety fan
Most hotel rooms have those ''latches'' that are usually located high up on the door. They're too high up for a 7 year old to reach, unless she pulls a chair over and stands on it. I'm not sure of the name, but it looks like a steel hook attached to the frame that goes around a 3-inch steel rod attached to the door. when you open the door, the rod catches the hook and stays closed. Call the hotel and see if they have those - and take all the chairs out of her room. Good luck. former child escape artist
This won't necessarily prevent your daughter from escaping but it will give you an early warning when she starts opening the locks. Sharper Image and other companies sell a device that you hang on your hotel doors. It is a combination motion/smoke detector. You can set the sensitivity of the motion detector. When moved the device sends out a very loud screech. Cautious traveler
For our last hotel experience with our 3 year old who is also an escape artist, we brought along the baby proof door knob covers. They are white, come 2 in a pack and are like an accordion. They just snap over the knob and you have to squeeze and push in in order to turn the knob. You can take them off pretty easily and reuse. They saved us, hope they do the same for you. K
Why not ask the hotel to bring in a cot so that your daughter can sleep in your room with you? Or simply have her sleep in your bed? The cots are single-bed sized and fit easily into any room. Hotels normally charge about $10 for them per night...sometimes they charge nothing. laurel
Sounds like you and your husband need to take turns sleeping in the king size bed with your daughter and suffer the sofa bed until your daughter learns to appreciate the risk. another mother
This may be extreme, but have you thought about the 'keep people from breaking in to your hotel room' alarm things? I think it works something like you close it into the door, and if the door opens, the contacts stop touching so it makes a horrid noise. Not an optimal solution, I know, but if she knows it'll make noise if the door opens . . . amy