car seats in motor homes



This is the 8th time Ihave tried to contact you. I fill out the numbers at the bottom and they won't accept them
We have a 28 ft 2000 motor home. The rear facing table bench is supported at the back by a partial wall behind the driver seat, and the floor. The front facing bench is supported by the sink and bottom cupboards and the floor. We have one front facing booster and 2 rear facing car seats. PLEASE, what are the rules for these. There are 4 lap belts for attatching carseats in the benches.
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New member
I don't actually know what the rules are for installing on this type of bench but I do know that boosters cannot be used with lap only belts. Lap only belts are truly only safe for installing harnessed car seats.

Hope someone with more expertise stops by shortly!


New member
There are no car seats on the market that allow you to install them on a rear-facing vehicle seat. So that's out entirely.

Also, you can't use any belt-positioning boosters with just a lap belt.

Is the forward facing bench with the seatbelts actually certified for use with car seats? I'd be really concerned about projectiles hitting the kids in a crash, or the bench detaching and flinging the kids around.

I'd be much more inclined to just follow along with the kids in a vehicle behind the RV.


Admin - CPS Technician
Hi there, and welcome! We're an RVing family, too, though we're currently without an RV... :whistle:

As others have stated, child restraints are not allowed to be installed on a rear-facing seat. Also, a lap-shoulder belt is required for booster seats.

Some motorhomes have the belts bolted to plywood rather than the frame of the vehicle, so you might want to look into that, too.

Generally, motorhomes just aren't very conducive to traveling safely :( Besides the fact that it's hard to find places to secure passengers, there is a huge projectile risk. For people looking to buy RVs, I always recommend travel trailers or fifth wheels. I realize that doesn't do you much good if you already have the motorhome.

The safest option is to drive a separate vehicle where the kids can be properly restrained.

Second choice is to install what you can on the forward-facing bench. I would remove the dinette table so kids wouldn't smack into it in a crash.

Depending on your state law (and the laws of any states you'll go to), it might be legal to go without restraints in the motorhome or to install against manufacturer recommendations (i.e., on the rear-facing bench). In that case, I suppose something is better than nothing.


We have an older GMC motorhome. We use the front facing dinette chairs and the front facing captain chair to attach car seats. The dinette chair has just a lap belt, which we use with a booster seat. The captain chair we have modified by installing a latch system which is anchored to the floor of the motorhome.

I don't think there are any official rules or even guidelines for traveling with kids in motorhomes. In our state (MI) the rules are that kids have to be in a car seat. But it allows for kids to be in a booster in the front seat only if the back seat is taken up by children who are under four yo, or if your car doesn't have a back seat. Doesn't say anything about motorhomes...


New member
We occasionally take our kids rids in our bus (former school bus)- not exactly a motor home, but has the same type of bench seats and lap belts. I install a rear facing true fit on the forward facing seat and my older two ride in the seat with just the lap belts. I don't use a booster for them because there are only lap belts so I don't see the point. The belts in ours are factory installed. If we were going far or in your case, I would follow behind with the children in our car.


New member
No way. No how. I just went over this with my grandmother. They just bought an RV. The only belts are on the side-facing couch and the driver and passenger seat. The whole RV has only lap belts and that scares the crap out of me. The only person who can safely ride in that vehicle is a child in the passenger seat in a harnessed car seat. Car seat manufactures don't allow seats to be installed in side-facing seats so that's definitely out. Plus odds are the lap belts aren't bolted to the frame of the RV and wouldn't secure the car seat anyway. Lap belts aren't good for anyone unless you want to eat the floor of the vehicle in a crash. Then there is the projectile factor. Anyone ever seen an RV crash? I have too many time. It's a MESS because everything inside goes flying, people included. If you have ever wanted to know what it is like to be the ball in a pin ball machine then a wreck in an RV will do it for you. So obviously I have a very strong opinion about RV's. Maybe it isn't shared by all but I do not believe an RV is an appropriate mode of transportation for anyone except driver and passenger and that only if they don't mind projectiles.


Well-known member
In most places, it's legal for a child weighing more than 40 lbs to ride without a booster if there are no lap/shoulder belts available. Check your state law and the laws of any other states you'll be traveling through.

Now, legal and safe are not always the same thing. As has already been mentioned, the safest option would most likely be to follow along in a regular passenger vehicle with all children properly restrained.

I think if I were going to deal with "second best" and have the whole family in the motor home, I would put the harnessed car seats on the forward-facing seats and put the usually-boostered child in one of the rear-facing seats using the lap belt (without a booster).

I would also pay close attention to large objects in the motorhome and make sure everything is secured. If there are things like furniture or microwaves or whatever that don't seem like they're securely enough tied down to stay put in a serious accident, I'd get some ratcheting cargo straps from a store like Harbor Freight and do my best to add some extra security to such objects when the vehicle is being moved.

If there is no airbag in the front seat, you might put one of the kids up there. If there's an airbag, I'd have them ride in the back, as securely as you can manage.

Have a fun vacation. We're planning two major RV trips this summer too. We really enjoy it. We have a Suburban and a trailer, though.

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