RVs and Car Seats

stracy

New member
I have been reading with great interest the threads about car seats in rvs. We are trying desperately to find a way to safely secure our kids in our rv (a 2009 GulfStream class c whose dinette in its current form does not support car seat installation). There seem to be two schools of thought - (1) it's perfectly safe, and (2) it's not safe at all. We are looking for a happy medium, understanding that, like everything else we do in travel, there are risks associated with our decisions...and that the answer may end up being we accept the risks -- or that we sell our rv. We are willing to make structural modifications to our coach, install additional or new fixtures, etc....but we are not sure what to do and would like to know how others have approached this problem.

In our opinion, we cannot force the testings and recommendations of the car seat manufacturers to apply when it comes to placing the car seats in an rv. Rvs are very different in construction (and destruction in a crash), and car seats have understandably not been tested in them. Therefore, using the car seat in an rv basically just provides a "shell" for your child, since the seats, anchors, stress points, impacts, and likely crash scenarios are extremely different from what the seat would experience and protect against in a traditional passenger vehicle. But it still begs the question - how do you even get a child safety seat installed in an rv, once you accept the idea that it will basically only be a "helmet" for your child?

What I would like to hear is stories from people who feel they have successfully secured their children in a motorized recreational vehicle. How did you do it? What influenced your decision? If applicable, what safety seat(s) did you use? Did your rv manufacturer help you in any way?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

Pixels

New member
I haven't installed a carseat in an RV, so I don't have personal experience. But I do have some thoughts for you.

Many here would say absolutely no-go on putting a carseat in an RV. Even if you put the child in the front passenger seat, there's still the projectiles. Others would be okay with a carseat in an RV only if it's in the front passenger seat. Few, if any, will speak up and say that they would be okay with a child in the main body of an RV.

Things to consider: Are there any seatbelts, other than the front passenger and driver? What are those seatbelts (the ones in the dinette, etc) attached to? Sometimes they're attached to nothing more than a 2 x 4 piece of wood. Are those seats forward facing, side facing, or rear facing? I understand that you are considering using the carseats in an atypical situation, but I do want to caution you against making the decision to use the carseat in a side- or rear-facing seat. Not only are the carseats not tested that way, but there's the projectile issue. If you want to use a carseat to provide a full-torso "helmet" for your child, aim that helmet at the projectiles. Let the shell take what it can from those projectiles.

As for your question about the helpfulness of the RV manufacturers, like anything, "your results may vary." It depends on the individual manufacturer. My parents have their 4th RV now, and their experiences with different manufacturers has varied greatly. One you have to fight tooth and nail to get them to take care of warranty work, while another makes extensive modifications/customizations at no charge while building the unit.
 

LISmama810

Admin - CPS Technician
I would not be comfortable installing a car seat in an RV. POSSIBLY in the front seat, but then other passengers would have to ride in less-than-ideal positions. (I.e., side-facing seats, seats with belts that aren't bolted into the frame.) Plus there's the massive projectile issue.

DH and I are considering traveling around with the kids, and I have told him that we absolutely WILL NOT GET an RV. We have been looking at trailers instead. We would all ride safely in the tow vehicle.

I say all that in case selling the RV is an option for you. You might want to look into other traveling solutions.
 

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