Seat Belts in an RV?

Updated on May 11, 2012
E.T. asks from Albuquerque, NM
8 answers

We're considering getting an RV this summer. For those of you with an RV, do you walk around while your partner is driving? Do you allow your children to walk around, or sit on the couch or at the dinette without seat belts? Or is everyone in the RV always belted in?

I assumed that people would not be wearing seat belts (except the driver and front passenger, of course) but several friends have told me that they always require their kids to be strapped in. It doesn't make a ton of sense to me because if my kids were in a car, they'd be in car seats, not wearing a lap belt. I don't think our carseats would fit in the spots in the RV where there are seatbets even if I wanted to use them.

How do you all handle this?

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answers from Chicago on

We've taken trips with our kids and borrowed my parents' RV. We put car seats in. If you want to know what's safe and legal, you should probably talk to your local police department or fire department. I am not willing to take the chance with my children's safety, so I require them strapped into the carseat. Think about what would happen in an accident. Would your kids be safe sitting at the table? What if you rolled over?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Really look into this. I remember reading that none of the seats in an RV are really anchored enough to even provide protection in the event of a crash. Even with a car seat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

this blog entry by a certified child passenger safety tech has some useful points to consider regarding RVs and kids who still use car seats:

Here's an excerpt from the article that I found to be rather eye-opening:

"I would so love RVing to be the easy answer, but it’s not. Load up some food, throw the dog and kids in and go. If you got tired mid-trip, you laid on a bed and slept; if you got hungry, you made a sandwich. That’s the way it used to be before we got smart. I remember it being that way when I went RVing in the 70s with my dad and his family in the ol’ Winnebago. Unfortunately, there are some serious safety issues with RVs because of unrestrained passengers who can fly into each other in a crash (you’re 4 times more likely to be thrown from a vehicle if you’re unrestrained). A 40 lbs. child becomes a 2200 lbs. bullet in a 55 mph crash when he’s not buckled, so while it’s fun to run around and be free in the RV, it’s incredibly dangerous. And don’t forget about the luggage and other miscellaneous things laying around the cabin of the RV.
After we got all the logistics figured out, the RV was going to be $129/day + $0.32/mile + a fee to empty the tanks + gas + a per hour charge for the generator, if used. Insurance is included. In order to take possession, we would be required to pick up the afternoon before we needed it and return it the morning after returning home, thus incurring 2 extra days’ charges. Dh decided to find a nicer condo to rent for cheaper instead. "



answers from Detroit on

My husband and I purchased a motorhome..and for the first time we want to take out two granddughters and 1 greatgrand child on a short trip...there are no seat belts on the sofa or on the booth where we eat. I believe we can buckle the baby up in the front and i can ride in the back on the sofa..but like i said NO SEAT BELTS...we live in Michigan..want to know if it's the law that all passengers be buckled no matter where there sitting????? Like I said there were no belts when we purchased it.



answers from Boston on

I've heard bad things about the ones you drive. I'd rent the kind you tow so that I could hav my children properly restrained in my Durango.



answers from Phoenix on

last year we bought a 29 footer from Cruise America(Class C). IT has seat belts in the bench (3) and at the table (4) also the 2 front belts for the driver and passanger. We had to temporarily remove the cushion for one side of the table so we could get the car seat attached properly so that my 2 year old would not put her feet on the table. Both boys (5 & 7) use their booster seats and a seat belt on the other side of the table. If they decide to move to the bench I make them take their booster seats with them. Even when I am in the back with them we always buckle our seatbelts. We try not to move around the cabin too much except maybe for the bathroom but then it's back to the seatbelts. Even when I take the games out for them... If they are sitting they are belted.



answers from Cincinnati on

My dad has a class A motorhome, in which we have traveled a couple of times. When my son was a year old, he was in his car seat. When he was three, he used the lap belt. As for the rest of us... driver/passenger buckled up, others didn't (even though they probable should have.)

One thing to note- my dad drove a semi truck for over 30yrs, so he has the training and experience to drive a large motorhome. I know that accidents can still happen, but if you know what you are doing, they are less likely.

If you are concerned about safety, maybe a travel trailer would be a better option.



answers from Phoenix on

We take our 4 kids camping in a 40 ft RV. It is a tank of a bus, not a flimsy RV. They are 6, 5, 3, 2 years old. The bench has 3 seat belts and there are 2 additional chairs with seat belts. I put the 2 and 3 year olds in their car seats on the bench. The older kids just use the lap belts. The rule is, they MUST stay seated with their belts on. I will admit that I have let them use the restroom when we are climbing hills at our lovely 12mph pace, lol. I do get up and get things while we are moving. However, it's not as easy as you would think and you can get knocked to the ground. I try to remain seated with my seat belt on in the front passenger seat as much as possible. Car seats are a must on the little ones. If the RV can't accomodate car seats for the young ones I wouldn't have them ride in it. Have fun!

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