The Hard Truth of RV Travel With Your Family

We’re coming up on the time of year where families like to travel.

Do you fit into any of these categories?

The time of it being mostly older adults traveling in their RVs is ending. Now, you'll find it is becoming more popular with younger adults with children. With over 30 million RV enthusiasts around the nation these days, it might just be time for higher safety standards and better accident reporting.

 Class A RV traveling with kids.

There are 3 different kinds of motorized Recreational Vehicles- Class A, Class B, and Class C.

  • Class A RVs are the largest type of RV and is built on a bus chassis. Generally, they weigh between 17-22,000 lbs and are about 32 feet long. 
  • Class B RVs are van conversions and are the least popular type of RVs. They usually weigh between 6-8,000 lbs.
  • Class C RVs are the most popular type of RVs and are built on van chassis. They can weigh between 10-12,000 lbs and are about 20-28 feet long.

What are the current safety standards for Recreational Vehicles? Is traveling in an RV safe?

Sadly, there really aren't too many safety standards specific to RVs. First off, RVs are not crash tested by NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). NHTSA is the program in charge of ensuring vehicle safety through testing and enforcing vehicle performance standards. There are two RV makers who self test, Roadtrek Motorhomes and Bailey Motorhomes.

Every single test showed extreme injuries and catastrophic loss.


Bailey Motorhomes released a series of videos of its extensive motorhome crash testing process. You can see the other videos in the series here:

Video 2     Video 3     Video 4      Video 5 

All RVs are required to meet Federal seat belt standards for the driver and passenger seats up front but until November 2016 it wasn't even required that the front seats have lap AND shoulder belts. It is still not required that the rear seats have more than lap belts, which we already know are not safe enough alone. They also aren't attached appropriately, usually just to the plywood or floorboards, and the seats tend to disintegrate in an accident anyway, as seen in the crash test videos.


How do you install a car seat in an RV?


With most of the seats in the rear part of an RV being sideways or rear facing, there really isn't anywhere to put a car seat. The crash forces when sitting in one of these seats would pull at the child in the seat inappropriately and could actually cause injury. Car seats are only safe in forward facing seats with belts which pass the federal seat belt standards. In short, there isn't a safe way to install a car seat in an RV.


How does my family safely travel with an RV?


When it comes to safest options, you have a few choices.

  • Option #1 is to drive a separate car following the RV with all additional passengers in it. This can ensure everyone is seated in a lap and shoulder belt or appropriate child restraint.
  • Option #2 is to drive a standard passenger vehicle and pull a travel trailer, such as a fifth wheel.
  • Option #3 is to have the RV delivered to the site you will be staying. Places such as Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort actually have nearby RV rental companies that will deliver, set up, and return the RV themselves. Think of all the benefits of that!

So next time you're making your road trip checklist, remember to schedule a consult with our CPST (child passenger safety technician) to help you travel as safe as possible.

Not local? The information for finding a CPST in your area can be found HERE.


Looking for a little more info? Check out THIS webinar which is used to educate CPSTs on the subject.