Traveling across the country in an RV is a wonderful way to see new sights, explore untraveled roads, and spend quality time with the family you love.
Whether you are a proud grandparent hoping to make memories with your grandchild, or a busy parent ready to unplug in the woods with your kids, ensuring that young ones are safe on any RV trip is a must.
In the following guide, four essential considerations for RV child safety will be detailed with important key takeaways for those who plan to travel with young ones. The result is that you and your family can enjoy RVing while prioritizing the safety of all.
1: Keeping Your Child Properly Restrained
Whether you are driving a full-sized Class A or a smaller Class B, RVs feel like you are in the comfort of home while on the road.
While the ample living space, built-in sleeping quarters, and dining seating can make an RV seem less like a vehicle and more like a house, the reality is that when an RV is in motion, it is a vehicle.
As such, all state laws regarding car seats and the proper restraint of children must be adhered to when driving an RV. Laws vary from state to state, and you will need to research the law for each state you plan to travel through.
A great resource for all car seat laws is the Safe Ride 4 Kids state-by-state guide. Here you can find detailed information about the proper use of car seats, the different regulations based on age, and the federal standards any car seat must meet.
Regardless of which state you are traveling through, ensure that children are always buckled up in a safe seating position.
If you drive an RV that does not have a child-safe seating position, consider bringing a second vehicle where children can be properly restrained. Another option is to drive a pull-behind RV, keeping children securely seated in the tow vehicle.
2: Choosing a Safe RV
One of the best ways to keep children safe when riding in an RV is to purchase one that meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208.
This standard requires that a vehicle has a type 2 seat belt in all forward-facing seating positions. Type 2 seat belts utilize both a lap and shoulder belt. Type 1 belts, with lap belts only, are not a safe option for children.
When choosing an RV with the proper seat belt options in place, look for an RV with high safety ratings.
Newer RVs are equipped with airbags and other safety features that many older motorhomes were not designed for. Opting for a newer model can help ensure the safety of young children when on the road.
3: Reducing Dangerous Clutter
Beyond just the concern of ensuring that children are buckled in and properly restrained, it is also critical to reduce the amount of dangerous clutter in your RV.
In the case of an accident or even a hard stop, clutter around your motorhome can turn into dangerous projectiles.
Before you start a drive, do a thorough sweep of your motorhome. Pick up any loose items and put them away in cabinets and other storage spaces. Secure any large objects, making sure that during a sudden stop, everything will remain in place.
Consider turning clean-up into a game with your kids or grandchildren. Have the whole family help out before the RV is set into motion.
4: Ensuring Normal Home Safety
In addition to the dangers you can face on the road, keeping your children or grandchildren safe in an RV includes normal home safety tips. Make sure that your RV is equipped with a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. If your motorhome utilizes propane, install a propane or natural gas detector. It is also important to have a fire extinguisher on hand for emergency use.
Beyond just equipping your motorhome with the right safety features, talk through the following safety plans with kids who will be traveling in your RV:
What to do in the case of an emergency: Make sure that children are aware of how to call 911 and how they should handle any of the following emergencies.
- In the case of a fire, make sure children understand how to exit the RV and where they should go. Have a set plan in place, such as meeting at the Ranger’s Station or a local landmark.
- In the case of a car accident, make sure children are aware of any emergency exits. This is particularly important for roll-over accidents.
- If they hear an alarm going off, such as a smoke detector or propane leak alarm, make sure children know to leave the RV and to notify an adult.
Any ground rules for being left alone in the RV: For older children who might spend time alone in your motorhome, make sure they understand any ground rules, such as the following.
- Explain to children what they should do if a stranger knocks on the RV door.
- Set a standard of rules around cooking food when unattended.
- Have a communication plan in place if children plan to leave the RV and go on a hike or take part in another activity.
- Outline clear guidelines about whether or not other kids are allowed in the RV when you are gone.
Visit Us at Transwest to Find a Family Friendly RV
Taking your children, grandchildren, or even your friends on an RV trip can be the perfect way to bond in nature and explore new places. However, as is true with any activity involving children, ensuring the safety of little ones while on the road is critical.
At Transwest, we understand how important safety is when searching for an RV, particularly when kids are involved. That is why we carry a premium RV inventory with the latest safety technologies in place.
If you are looking for a family-friendly RV and safety is a priority, talk to our experienced sales staff about your needs. We will be happy to help you find the safest options available for the whole family.
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