car seats in motorhome- side facing?

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Hi everyone~

We are planning a cross-country motor-home vacation with my parents in their Class A motorhome-- those are the Big ones that look more like a bus. not just a camper on a truck. I have 3 kids, ages 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 1 year. Can they sit in their car seats on a "couch" in the motor home that has seat belts (lap belts only) but faces sideways, not forward? Are there any carseats that allow that kind of seating? There's only one seat other than the driver's that faces forward and has a seatbelt... I am thinking we'll have to have a car follow with maybe 2 of the kids, letting one ride in the motorcoach sometimes (in the one forward-facing seat), but would LOVE to know if there are any other safe options!

THANKS
~Tiffany
mom of 3:
DS in Marathon FF age 2 1/2-- he just turned FF from RF a few months ago as he is 32-33 lbs)
DD in Roundabout RF age 1,
DD age 4 1/2 Sunshine Kids Radian FFing.
 

UlrikeDG

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
No, no one can sit side facing. You'll definitely need to bring a second vehicle.
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
No, you can't. Most manuals say specifically no side facing seats (nor rear facing seats, no jump seats).

Have a great time!

Wendy
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
Hi Tiffany :)

There really is no safe way for more than 2 people to ride in a motorhome. Only the driver & co-captain seats are bolted to a strong part of the frame. No other seatbelts in the vehicle can reliably hold a passenger in a crash. Someone who weighs merely 100 pounds in a 30 MPH crash becomes about 3 tons of force upon all the other occupants :eek: :( My parents have a "bus house" too (as my DD likes to call it) but my child will never ride in it unless the only other person in there is the driver: carseat installed in the other front chair.... The safer way would be to rent/own a truck that can safely seat at least 5 people & tow a camper.
 

Victorious4

Senior Community Member
Hehehe -- thanks, Ulrike ... that's what I get for trying to multitask: I remember thinking I'd type 3 thousand for 1.5 tons & mixed them up :eek: I do that when I speak sometimes, too, blending a few words into 1 new one that makes absolutely no sense :rolleyes:
 

cso1997

New member
There really is no safe way for more than 2 people to ride in a motorhome. Only the driver & co-captain seats are bolted to a strong part of the frame. No other seatbelts in the vehicle can reliably hold a passenger in a crash.
That isn't accurate in all motorhomes. It sounds like in the OP's situation it might be true. However, there are actually several motorhomes that have other very safe seating. One that we recently saw had four captains chairs that are all (well not the drivers seat) approved for car seat use. The extra two captains chairs are bolted to the frame just as the two front chairs are. Also I am not sure what you mean by a strong part of the frame. Are you saying that some areas of the frame are not as strong as other parts? That doesn't make sense to me. What areas wouldn't be as strong?

Also, several motorhomes on the market have seatbelts in the dinette that are attached directly to the frame via a mounted bar. I don't see why that wouldn't be a safe area as bolted to the frame is bolted to the frame. Some manufacturers actually install tether anchors. I realize that motorhomes are not regulated by any gov't agency as far as car seat safety and crash testing but many manufacturers are taking it upon themselves to make safer seating positions due to consumer demand.

I realize that many people believe that motorhomes are basically a death trap for anyone in them but I think that is a little unfair. Yes motorhome accidents happen but so do bus accidents, four wheeler/dirt bike accidents, boat accidents and plane crashes. I guess we should all just stay home. If your manufacturer allows car seats in other seats besides the front two, I say go for it. I wouldn't ever put anyone on the couch but if there are other seats, then use your parental descretion.

Well I could go on and on but I am sure it would fall on deaf ears. I just get tired of hearing people go nuts over motorhomes. We have actually successfully traveled in our deathtrap from MI to FL several times and are still alive to share the tale.
 

Starlight

Senior Community Member
In many motorhomes, the dinette and sofa seat belts are attached to the wooden frame.

Wooden frame = not secure.

Of course, there are others that are "safer."

But ultimately, you still have to deal with the massive quantities of projectiles... Nothing like being in a minor accident and having a cabinet fly open and tupperware go flying... In a 55 mph crash, one dinky piece of tupperware can be quite a lot of force. Or, the TV. And let me tell you, I don't care how many different ways we've tried to secure ours in our old 5th wheel, it always went flying.

I had a picture of a motorhome accident, let me see if I can find it. In the meantime, "enjoy" this one:

http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/West/12/29/motor.home.crash.ap/index.html
 

cso1997

New member
In many motorhomes, the dinette and sofa seat belts are attached to the wooden frame.

Wooden frame = not secure.

Of course, there are others that are "safer."
Thank you for reiterating my point exactly.

But ultimately, you still have to deal with the massive quantities of projectiles... Nothing like being in a minor accident and having a cabinet fly open and tupperware go flying... In a 55 mph crash, one dinky piece of tupperware can be quite a lot of force. Or, the TV. And let me tell you, I don't care how many different ways we've tried to secure ours in our old 5th wheel, it always went flying.

I think it is interesting how much we hear of projectiles being deadly and yet what are we basing that on, facts and statistics or just oh it seems like flying objects would hurt. I would love to see some cold hard statistics about projectile deaths and injuries. I am just going to say that in my years in EMS, I have been to a lot of accidents. Never had a projectile injury or death yet despite people having massive quantities of crap in their cars. Doesn't mean it can't happen, again, I would like to see some data.

Also, in all of our travels including bumps and evasive actions, we have never had any cabinets come open in our motorhome. We did have cabinets and drawers come open in our fifth wheel all the time. Do you have a motorhome? Have you ever compared the drawer/cabinet closures between the two? I am thinking not as you would see they are quite different. Motorhome closures are so tight that they are hard to get open when you are trying to open them.

I had a picture of a motorhome accident, let me see if I can find it. In the meantime, "enjoy" this one:
Yes, thank you. I have seen pictures of motorhome crashes. I know they happen. I have also seen pictures of bus accidents (like the one outside of Atlanta recently) and train derailments. They happen, I know. A rollover in a motorhome would be very bad. However, a collision with a car is in the motorhomes favor simply because of size. Oh, by the way does anyone have a picture of a semi truck rollover. Well I have seen a couple of those too and let me say they don't hold up well. Hmm...I guess truckers should just avoid driving then.

I don't want to be harsh but there is a lot of misinformation being written about motorhomes. I think a lot of the misinformation comes from people that have seen motorhomes but have never actually traveled in one. Or from people who's brother's neighbor's daughter's babysitter's sister in law have a 1978 Winnebago. Just like cars, a lot of advancements are made every year in the motorhome market. Maybe people should stick to the cold hard facts or put their opinions in big bold print with opinion written before the message. I really think that some people believe their opinions are proven facts.
 

CandCfam

New member
Never had a projectile injury or death yet despite people having massive quantities of crap in their cars. Doesn't mean it can't happen, again, I would like to see some data.
Really?:confused:
The officer who installed our infant seat prior to Taylor's birth told me of his co-worker's baby who died in an auto accident. He had installed the seat, which performed like it should, however, the child died when the officer's (teh father) cell phone hit her in the head.:(

You couln't pay me to travel in a motor home. They might be bigger, but I'd not want to be in one in an accident.
 

ThreeBeans

New member
I remember riding around in my parents huge motor home....stuff flew around in there all the time. Granted this was 20 years ago...maybe things have changed :confused:
 

ThreeBeans

New member
Oh, and after 10 years in EMS I can think of quite a few projectile related injuries I treated ;)

No deaths though, fwiw.
 

cso1997

New member
Oh yeah...I never responded to the article. I think it is awesome that half the people survived that accident. If a car fell 30 feet off an overpass and rolled over I am not sure how survivable that is. Also, since everyone says how safe the driver and passenger are, the driver died in this particular accident. Sometimes you are safer being near the middle or back. Just look at train accidents, sometimes the last train cars don't even come off the track. Two people basically walked away from that MH crash. Also, I will say that just as there are people in this world that shouldn't have their drivers license, there are people that shouldn't be driving motorhomes. It takes some skills about just driving a car. Windy conditions can be very difficult to deal with and if people knew their limits, they would pull over and wait for better conditions.
 

Starlight

Senior Community Member
The cabinet doors in my father's old winnie opened when I jumped off the bed over cab thingy. Of course, it's as old as I am. :whistle:

I can't say that I've ever traveled in a motorhome. I never will be able to say that.

Based on what I've seen when searching for our most recent trailer (a towable), I will never travel in one. I toured 5th wheels, travel trailers, motorhomes (bus style) - I can't keep the Class A, C whatever straight.

IMO, If my >1 yr old can open the doors easily, then I'm not sure I feel comfortable with them.

Here's something else. As stated, I toured a good number of these things, from 30k cheapies to 249k Airstream's (Which, BTW, are GORGEOUS). I toured some 25 yrs old, and some brand new.

The sofas, the dinettes, etc, that most would put their children on, they are lap belt only. Lap belts are NOT safe for anyone, they are only acceptable for harnessed seats. But of course, majority of them side face, so you can't install a child seat there anyway.

Additionally, have you ever thought about the compression issue? (You = general you, anyone who might be reading). These are sofas/dinettes made for comfort, not safety. They are well padded. I've never tried to install a carseat in one, but I can't imagine that would be safe, simply because of compression.

Also, I'd love to know which RV's have the additional forward facing captains chairs. I have heard of them, but have yet to see any.
 
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cso1997

New member
That is crazy about the cell phone. I shudder to think how many millions of people don't secure their cell phones properly. I guess I just choose to live my life without attempting to protect myself from every freakish thing that can happen. Anyone remember the lady that died from being struck in the head with a can of green beans? Hmm...maybe that was just an urban legend. Thanks for sharing everyone. I completely respect anyone's decision to not ride in an motorhome. That is why I always say to each their own. I just don't like how our opinions become fact when others are seeking guidance.

ETA: ITA with you. Lap belts are for car seats only. We only travel with just the three of us so we have lap/shoulder and our DD is in a seat. I wouldn't want to have another adult with us in only a lap belt. No, I don't really worry about compression (an accident where it would be an issue, I think we would have bigger problems to worry about like our lack of a roll cage). We crank the seat belt tight and it pretty much flattens the cushion. We can get a rock solid install. However, you have brought up two reasons why the newer motorhomes with more captains chair are a great idea. We are eager to get one because the captain chair cushions are more firm and compression wouldn't be on my mind at all. And also they would have lap/shoulder belts. Manufacturers are slowly catching up. Here is the motorhome we are looking at from Newmar.

http://www.newmarcorp.com/xq/ASP.default/pg.fp_prod/nav.Products/prod_id.135/qx/default.htm
 
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scatterbunny

New member
Regarding opinions given on this board:

All responses are the opinions of each indvidual, who may or may not have relevant training or familiarity with your vehicle/carseat. It is your responsibility to read and follow the directions in the owner's manuals. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician for a FREE CARSEAT SAFETY INSPECTION.
Every page on this site has this at the bottom of the page. :)

I also would never ride in a motor home. Projectiles are a very real danger, and they are full of them.
 

cso1997

New member
I think that disclaimer should be in huge bold letters at the top of each page and not buried at the bottom in a size 6 font.

Motorhomes are only as full of projectiles as you make them (same goes for vehicles). Not everyone packs their whole house when traveling. Many of our cabinets are empty. And I can't say that I am worried about the microwave or couch taking me out.

I respect that you aren't a motorhome person. No biggie...a lot people don't like trains, planes or busses. My aunt wouldn't fly to save her life.
 

Qarin

New member
I'm looking at this, and at the interior pictures page, and those additional captains chairs look nice, but appear to have lap-only belts, possibly good for harnessed car seats (assuming that the seats/belts are truly bolted to the frame), but pictured with kids in... booster seats?



They may be catching up, but slowly does seem to be the operative word.

Looks like a fine motorhome to live in, though- might have more square footage than my house! And my kids would love that loft.
 

UlrikeDG

Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus
It is important that every passenger in any vehicle be properly restrained. In this case, that means all child restraints must be installed on a front facing seat. It means that all children in boosters and adults using seatbelts must have both a lap and shoulder belt. If any passenger cannot be properly restrained in the motorhome, a second vehicle should be used.
 
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