Things To Know About Safe RV Travel With Kids
Family vacations are a great way to give kids experiences and memories that will last them a lifetime. When you pack your bags and hit the road together in an RV, you embark on an adventure like no other. RVing teaches your kids about the country they live in. The time you spend traveling America’s highways and exploring the great outdoors together leads to incredible bonding experiences you can’t get any other way. However, RVing with kids leads to some unique challenges. How do you make sure your trip is as safe as it is fun? Start with these things to know about safe RV travel with kids.
Choose Your RV Carefully
RVs and regular vehicles have different safety requirements and regulations, so think carefully about the kind of RV you get for your trip. Whether you’re renting or buying your vehicle, you should consider a few things before you make your decision. The safest RVs on the market have Type 2 seatbelts—which go over both your lap and shoulder—in all front-facing seats. Other safety features include adequate forward-facing seating, airbags in the driver’s area, and secure furniture and cabinet doors. Pay attention to the safety features in your vehicle before you bring it home.
You should also stock your RV with everything you need to stay healthy and comfortable on the road, no matter when you travel. Invest in a standard toolkit that holds all the gear necessary to perform on-the-go maintenance like checking the tire pressure, tightening lug nuts, and more. You should also know your way around holding tank best practices before you go so that you can properly maintain your water system on the road. Finally, if you plan to travel in colder climates, winterize your RV with heating pads from UltraHeat. Installing heaters on the holding tanks, pipes, and gate valves for the RV helps keep your water system from freezing and sustaining damage when temperatures drop below zero. This ensures that you have running water—and a far more comfortable experience—when taking a cozy RV trip through winter weather.
Safe Seating For Everyone
When it comes to important things to know about safe RV travel with kids, you can’t ignore seating. While you’re on the road, everyone needs to be in a secure seat with their seatbelt on. Make sure you know where to fasten the seatbelts as well. In a car or truck, seatbelts must be secured to the vehicle frame. This isn’t always the case in RVs, so make sure you know what’s holding your belt in place before you choose a safe place for everyone to sit. If you’re using car seats, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on safe and secure installation. Never place a car seat on a side-facing or swiveling seat.
Consider Bringing a Car
Sometimes, RVs simply don’t have enough safe seating options for the whole family. It might be better to choose an RV that you can tow behind your car so that everyone has a safe place to sit. If you have a larger motorhome but don’t have adequate safe seating, consider bringing a second vehicle along so that kids can sit safely in the backseat. A second vehicle is also convenient for driving around tighter areas during your trip. If you want to explore narrower park roads or visit a nearby city, a car or truck will allow you to navigate areas that are less accommodating to RVs.
Bring Entertainment Along
RVing is a fun and exciting experience for the whole family. Unfortunately, sitting down for hours on end while you’re supposed to be having a vacation is less fun. Kids—especially younger kids—can quickly grow weary of long driving days. Make sure you have entertainment on board to keep them happy and occupied. Books are a great option if reading doesn’t cause motion sickness. Other ideas are movies, handheld gaming consoles, coloring books, or puzzle books. Be ready to do things as a family, too. Car rides—or RV rides, in this case—offer ample bonding opportunities. You can tell stories, take turns picking the music, or spend some time playing classic road trip games like I-Spy or 20 Questions. Multiple entertainment options can make a long trip more enjoyable for everyone in the vehicle.
Plan Shorter Travel Days
Of course, no game can change the fact that spending all day in a car is tiring. The younger your kids are—and the newer they are to the RV experience—the harder it will be to do long driving days. Try to incorporate shorter drives into your trip. Plan your route carefully so that you have plenty of time for stops throughout the day. If you want to travel farther overall, look for places where you can stop and explore for a while before moving on. Breaking up a twelve-hour trip into a few days of three- or four-hour journeys gives you more opportunity to explore while making travel easier for the kids.
Put Downtime in the Itinerary
There’s a ton of stuff to do on an RV trip. As exciting as it is, though, you need to plan for some downtime. Even if the kids are eager to get out and explore, they won’t be able to go all day long without a break. Leave some time for rest and relaxation throughout the trip. A night at the campsite is a good time to recuperate while you enjoy a tasty meal. You can also plan for some quiet time during the day where everyone can watch a movie or curl up with a book. Restful moments like these let you and your kids save energy for exploring, hiking, and adventuring throughout the rest of your trip.
Know Their Limits
Kids will want to try new things, explore the area, and lend a helping hand throughout the trip. While it’s great to include everyone in everything you do, you must know your kids’ limits. What can each child do independently, what do they need help with, and what should they stay away from entirely? For example, say the kids want to help as you set up your first campfire dinner. Are they old enough to handle sharp cutlery or a hot fire, or should they help set the table or pour drinks instead? An RV trip is full of learning experiences. When kids want to get involved, find a way for them to participate that allows them to learn something new, feel included, and stay safe at the same time.