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Child Car Seats


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#1 Stuart

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:51 PM

I live Ontario, Canada, and plan on traveling across the United States from Michigan to Washington State in a Class A motorhome in Late April or early May 2011. I will be traveling with my wife, daughter and two grand kids aged 8 months and 2 years 8 months. My question is, what are the requirements for child car seats in a motorhome and the required position of travel -- i.e: front facing or side facing? Would these regulations be federal or state laws? There are seat belt positions in the motorhome to accomodate the five of us, but what I need to know is what are the laws concerning car seats for children.

Thank you.
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#2 Jon796

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:46 PM

Take a look at this web site.
http://www.rvhelpdes...tbelt-laws.html
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#3 tmoning

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:22 AM

The use of car seats and seat belts is not federally regulated, and laws vary by state. Some states require the use of car seats -- and that all RVs be outfitted with seating that accommodates them. Other states mandate that only some seat belts be available. Some RVs have seats and seat belts for car seats, but the orientation might be sideways instead of foward. Or, the seat belt position might be in a location that's not safe (e.g., behind a table) if a crash were to occur.

The Governors Highway Safety Association lists Child Passenger Safety Laws by state: www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/childsafety_laws.html

Use the NHTSA Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator to find a child safety seat inspection station near you. A certified technician will inspect your child safety seats and make sure they are installed correctly.
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#4 kalynzoo

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:10 AM

This topic has popped up numerous times over the years, and as of yet I have not read a definitive response. Regulations regarding car-infant seats vary from state to state. However, I do not believe any research or testing of the safety of car-infant-child seats has ever been attempted or published for RVs, specifically motorhomes. Is a child safer in a car-seat incorrectly mounted or just in a lap. Car-seats are designed for forward or rear seating, they are secured by the seat and shoulder belt or by a mounting harness. In a motorhome the support seat maybe a soft cushion, there is no shoulder harness and there are no hardpoints for mounting. There is little chance of a child being thrown from the vehicle, and with a weight of over 20,000 lbs the mass of the motorhome exceeds most passenger vehicles. The danger maybe greater from flying objects in the motorhome.

As for the law: in most states (my home state being California) the area behind the passenger compartment is considered a "home" and regulations regarding cars do not necessarily apply. Seat belts are only required for the driver and front passenger (yet it is unwise and perhaps illegal for the child to be in the front passenger seat). You may not have open liquor in a passenger vehicle, but you may have open bottles in a MH frig or pantry. Firearms regulation are different in a motorhome.

What to do? When traveling with my grandchildren I do everything I can to keep them safe. I make sure all loose items are secure. They are required to sit or lie down during travel, however they often walk around from position to position. When they were infants they were in infant-car seats, not so much for protection but because they were comfortable traveling in the seats. Their Mom would often hold them in her lap or feed them during travel.

In my humble opinion they were as safe as they could be during travel. I was once told the rule of the lug-nuts: "in an accident the vehicle with the most lug-nuts wins."

Travel Safe and Happy Trails.
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#5 aztec7fan

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 11:39 PM

This is my opinion, not based on any laws:
I would put the child under 1 year of age in a car seat facing backward in the co-pilot seat. I would put the 2 year old in a car seat appropriate for her weight (or age) in the swivel seat behind the copilot (if so equipped) or sideways on the couch behind the driver. I believe this would be the safest for the age of the children. When my oldest was 3 in the late 1990's, he sat in the swivel seat with the seat belt on all the time, except when using the bathroom or getting a drink, but things have gotten more strict and so has my opinion on car seats.
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#6 pattie1tom

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 02:00 PM

We travel with a 4 year old and a 9 year old. We put our 4 year old in a car seat seat belted in but in a position where she can still be involved with the trip. As for the 9 year old. we require her to always be seated but not necessarily buckled up. However, it situations of heavy traffic or rainy conditions, anything other then sunshine and open roads, we make her buckle up.

Cheers
Tom
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#7 GARYGIBSON

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 04:12 AM

We travel with a 4 year old and a 9 year old. We put our 4 year old in a car seat seat belted in but in a position where she can still be involved with the trip. As for the 9 year old. we require her to always be seated but not necessarily buckled up. However, it situations of heavy traffic or rainy conditions, anything other then sunshine and open roads, we make her buckle up.

Cheers
Tom

I am a grandfather of a beautiful 4 year old granddaughter and I'm in the process of purchasing a 2011 Allegro Breeze 32BR. Can you use a child seat to restrain a child or do you need special hookups? Or at her age are the seat belts sufficient? I'm sure that we can secure the seat with the lap belt but what about the tether strap? Anxiously await your reply or e-mail me direct.
:rolleyes:

TXUSGUY
Gary N. Gibson
gary-vickiegibson@sbcglobal.net
FORT WORTH, TX
CO-PILOT: VICKIE
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#8 housestuff

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 11:43 AM

Let's put it this way, with the flying objects inside in a crash and the lack of any frame mounted belting in a front facing seat for anyone other than the driver and passenger these things are a rolling coffin for anyone else in the motor home going down the road. If it were legal you would be safer having your loved ones belted in your towed vehicle. I just went through this in an almost purchase of one of these death traps and decided that if I want to see the country I will do it from a nice new pickup with airbags and proper seatbelts pulling a fifth wheel. Nobody's life is more precious to me than that of my children and grandchildrens. Here's another thought, even if the couch or chair in the vehicle has belts, what are they mounted to? Yes that's right most likely the wooden floor of the slide or the frame of the slide wall, in either case these items are subject to failure in a crash. Then again think about sitting sideways in a crash, have you ever seen any vehicle testing for a crash in a vehicle while sitting sideways? For the price of these things they should be more than just a pretty thing to look at, right?
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#9 housestuff

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

Posted Image
The picture above is from a recent Miami bus crash into a low ovehead at what the driver said was 20mph. Looks pretty simalar to what you are thinking about putting your kids in hey? Keep in mind that buses are built with a frame and cage system unlike motor homes who have basically none and are mostly pressed wood and fiberglass glued together. Most buses have seat belts in them that passengers usually choose not to use and here's the result of a vehicle designed to move passengers with front facing high back seats. I asked my sales staff at the motor home center and they never even knew what the vehicle height was of the home I was looking at so how am I supposed to know what it will go under to avoid this type of thing. I've seen many crashes of all vehicles in my millions of miles on the roads of this country as a semi driver and can honestly say that there is no way I will put my family or anyone I even slightly like into a motorhome going down the road. These things are out there as a direct result of big business and their political lobbies allowing them to produce substandard products for high profit. They can be made resonably safe but they choose not to do it and convince buyers that bigger is better just as in SUV's where they try to convince you that you have the upper hand in a crash because of size. I beg to differ and can tell you first hand that weight and size are your enemy in a sudden stop or roll over from any speed. Just ask the 2 dead, 2 critical and 10 injured in this low speed stop in a vehicle made for moving people. Think about it before you put the people you love in one. I wouldn't want to be the driver who survived after this happening to my family.
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#10 desertdeals69

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

When one of my grandkids was an infant we put him in an infant seat with the seat belt securing it and had the seat turned facing backward.
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#11 careclay

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 10:03 PM

Regarding the suggestion to put a baby in the co-pilot seat (front passenger seat?), you cannot safely do this if it has an airbag, at least unless you are sure that it is disabled.


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#12 msturtz

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Posted 03 February 2015 - 12:49 AM

We had this very problem.  I ended up removing the cushions at the dinette and put the twins car seats on a small rubber mat.  The car seats used the existing seat belts that were bolted to a metal frame below the dinette.  It isn't the best but it works.  I strongly disagree with the posters that claim that motorhomes are "rolling death traps". I have towed a TT for years and then we upgraded to a MH in 2013.  I have seen many rollover crashes in all kinds of vehicles.  I believe the argument that a person is safer in a light truck pulling a 45' 5er weighing 17,000 or more pounds than in a 26,000# motorhome is deluding themselves.  The same basic physics apply.  If I am pulling a large trailer or 5er behind me all that weight will be part of the crash physics. The truck manufacturer may have done a fantastic job of handling the offset frontal crash test or the roll over test.  However they don't test these things when loaded to their max weight.  A truck can quickly be crushed by a large 5er.  Any fast stop regardless of vehicle can cause injury or death.  However, the larger and heavier the vehicle and the more space between you and what you hit the better you are going to do.  If I hit a Prius or Smart for two with my 26,000# motorhome I am going to come out much better than the driver of the Smart for two.  It is simply physics.  Now, if I crash my 26,000# motorhome into a bridge abutment at 70 I'm not going to fare any better than if I hit the same bridge abutment in my wife's Honda Accord.  It really depends on what you hit or hits you. The larger you are the less likely you are going to hit or be hit by something bigger.  A final note, the match sticks argument was true many years ago.  Now, all motorhomes are made much sturdier, aluminum or steel superstructure etc.  Even TTs are made better. I have seen TTs that were rolled over and they were able to flip them back on there wheels and tow them away.  The unit was totaled from the damage but the tow company was able to haul it away in one piece.


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#13 lmsooter

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:38 AM

We traveled throughout Canada and Alaska with a caravan in 2012. One couple behind us towing a 5th wheel. I glanced in my drivers side mirror to see them drop their right front tire off the pavement and then over correct. I saw the trailer flip and take the truck with it - the whole rig rolled 3 times. They were extremely lucky to survive with severe injuries.
I disagree with the idea that motorhomes are "death traps" - all large vehicles are dangerous if you do not pay attention to what you are doing.
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