A Guide To Safety For RV Family Travel

Three children sitting on RV pop-up trailer with mountains in backgroundPhoto Courtesy: Noelle MacGregor

What is an RV?

According to Merriam-Webster, an RV – or Recreational Vehicle – is defined as a “vehicle designed for recreational use.” Synonyms include camper, trailer, motorhome, and caravan. Each has a distinct difference and also a different level of safety for travel.

Family Travel Saftey Considerations for RVs

When considering RV travel with kids, there are a few things you should consider regarding everyone’s safety. Here’s where to start.

Towing a Trailer

Pop up trailer parked in the desert during the sunsetPhoto Courtesy: Noelle MacGregor

Travel trailers are hitched to a towing vehicle, such as a truck or car, that has the capacity to tow the weight of each individual trailer. Trailers are a safer option when choosing RV family travel or RV living because of the ability to meet seat belt laws when traveling. Use care to haul with your specific car or truck. US News and World Report have put together articles for recommendations on which SUVs and trucks are best for towing.

Trailers are a safer option for RV family vacations because children can use their car seats within the truck or car and therefore meet RV child seat laws. When considering RV family travel, a driver must have experience driving the length and weight of the full vehicle when hauling a trailer. Allow for increased space and time to break due to the extra weight when hauling.

Drivers may need a special license depending on which country they are driving an RV. It is always recommended to practice a bit with the trailer before heading out on your RV family vacation adventure. Practice in parking lots or driving around a local park to learn how the trailer handles turns and backing. This will help you feel more confident in maneuvering the trailer set-up of your choice prior to your big trip and help you feel safer during your RV family trip.

RV safety with kids is a top priority. Motorhomes may not be a safe option to travel with a family because of RV seat belt laws. Extra care should be taken if traveling with motorhomes due to the seat belts in the rear of the motorhome. Motorhomes, typically over 10,000 lbs, are not required to meet the same safety standards as standard cars and trucks. They are only required to comply with seat belt standards for front passengers, not rear occupants.

Many of the features, such as airbags and seatbelts, are not present for the passengers in the rear of the motorhome, thus adding extra safety concerns to consider when deciding the best RV type for your trip. New motorhomes may have better safety features, but it is your responsibility to do your due diligence when researching each specific motorhome for RV safety for kids and for families. 

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