rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Fridge Defend
RV Life Magazine RV Park Reviews RV Trip Wizard

Author Topic: Child restraint seats  (Read 5808 times)

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46168
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Child restraint seats
« on: June 20, 2007, 07:20:16 PM »
We've had a number of discussions here on this subject, but I thought I'd share my recent/current situation.

It's generally accepted and often mandated that children under some defined age should be strapped in a child restraint seat (aka CRS) which in turn is fastened in a forward-facing rear seat. Most class A motorhomes have two forward-facing seats in the front and one or more side-facing sofas. It's a matter of debate whether side-facing sofas would be a legal &/or safe place to tether a CRS.

We are currently on our first trip with our youngest (4 year old) grandson and I gave much thought to and did some research on this subject before we left. I finally came to the conclusion that tethering a CRS in the front passenger seat of the coach was the only legal (in California) and safe way to go. From the California DMV web site:  Child Passenger Restraints: Requirements.

The CRS we've been using in our cars for the last few years has the latch system. The front passenger seat of our coach does not have full latch capabilities, so I used a combination of the lap and shoulder belts to attach the CRS. The passenger seat does, however, have a latch feature at the rear, so I also tethered the CRS to that, although I had to extend the rear strap on the CRS to reach due to the high back on the passenger seat.

« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 09:18:13 PM by Tom »
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

michelb

  • ---
  • Posts: 102
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2007, 11:53:50 AM »
I've researched and read similar requirements and I'm always surprised they don't seem to warrant using rear-facing seats (e.g. rear-facing seats in a dinette of an RV)

According to this http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html, rear-facing is the safest for everyone (not just infants).  IMO, the risk of injury from a 'rear-end crash' in an RV is pretty remote (if you are in an RV even getting rear-ended by an SUV probably won't give much impact).  Here's the summary of the link:


    * Rear-facing is safest for both adults and children, but especially for babies, who would face a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing carseat during a frontal crash.

    * Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a baby's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.

    * Rear-facing carseats may not be quite as effective in a rear end crash, but severe frontal and frontal offset crashes are far more frequent and far more severe than severe rear end crashes.

    * Rear-facing carseats are NOT a safety risk just because a baby's legs are bent at the knees or because they can touch/kick the vehicle seat.

    * Rear-facing as long as possible is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and can reduce injuries and deaths.   Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 overall cause of death for children 14 and under.


We recently traveled with 2 kids so decided to put them rear-facing at the dinette in their childseat since it seemed like the safest place for them.
Mike
---
2003 Tiffin Phaeton 40RH
98 Pace Arrow Vision 36B (sold)
1994 Tiffin Allegro Bay (sold)

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 8002
  • Central IL
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2007, 12:16:44 PM »
Rear-facing is definitely safest, and the dinette is a good spot to secure them as long as you lower the table (otherwise it's a dangerous obstruction that the seat itself would crash into if involved in a crash).  The limitation for rear-facing is simply the age of the child.  For instance, Tom mentioned his 4yo grandson in the first post... there's not a rear-facing seat on the market today that will accommodate the height & weight of a 4yo.  They would be in a forward facing seat with harness, or in many cases would be tall enough for a forward facing booster seat (which simply raises them up so a standard seat belt will fit properly).

But back to your original point, you're right... we'd ALL be safer if we rode around backwards all the time!  ;)
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46168
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2007, 06:23:36 PM »
Michel,

Thanks for posting that link. Our coach has no fixed rear facing seats and, instead of a dinette, we have a table and separate chairs. So this wasn't an option for us.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

michelb

  • ---
  • Posts: 102
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 07:59:13 AM »
Rear-facing is definitely safest, and the dinette is a good spot to secure them as long as you lower the table (otherwise it's a dangerous obstruction that the seat itself would crash into if involved in a crash).  The limitation for rear-facing is simply the age of the child.  For instance, Tom mentioned his 4yo grandson in the first post... there's not a rear-facing seat on the market today that will accommodate the height & weight of a 4yo.  They would be in a forward facing seat with harness, or in many cases would be tall enough for a forward facing booster seat (which simply raises them up so a standard seat belt will fit properly).

But back to your original point, you're right... we'd ALL be safer if we rode around backwards all the time!  ;)

That's a good point - we removed our table and stored it in the bedroom while travelling (I believe the original owners of our RV changed the table and it doesn't fit between the benches).

Michel,

Thanks for posting that link. Our coach has no fixed rear facing seats and, instead of a dinette, we have a table and separate chairs. So this wasn't an option for us.

Another good point, I forgot that a lot of RVs have the table and chairs setup (probably a lot better for day / day use but for traveling it's a bit inconvenient since you lose some seating space (update from Tom's comment - '... you lose some seating space WHILE DRIVING ...' (I have to agree that once you are parked, the table / chair setup is probably much more usable and spacious (those dinette benches take up a lot of space and are not easy to get in and out of).


Also wanted to add, that I initially planned on placing our kids on the sofa but all the information I could find said that the child seats are not designed for 'side-facing' use and instructed not to use them in that manner. 
« Last Edit: June 27, 2007, 02:39:13 PM by michelb »
Mike
---
2003 Tiffin Phaeton 40RH
98 Pace Arrow Vision 36B (sold)
1994 Tiffin Allegro Bay (sold)

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46168
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2007, 08:42:44 AM »
.... a lot of RVs have the table and chairs setup (probably a lot better for day / day use but for traveling it's a bit inconvenient since you lose some seating space.

Definitely a tradeoff Michel, although that's only true while in motion; When we're at a campground, the table extends to accommodate 4 people (5 with a squeeze) and we use additional (folding) chairs. Our prior coach had a fixed dinette, which was ideal for kids & friends. Our youngest grandson does most of his RVing with his parents and they have a fifthwheel pulled by a truck, so they have the best of both worlds - forward facing rear seat (in the truck) where the CRS goes and table with 4 loose chairs in the fifthwheel. Our oldest grandson is 20 and in college, so neither he nor his fiance need a CRS  ;D
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 8002
  • Central IL
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2007, 02:34:23 PM »
Also wanted to add, that I initially planned on placing our kids on the sofa but all the information I could find said that the child seats are not designed for 'side-facing' use and instructed not to use them in that manner.

That's true for most manufacturers, but sometimes there is no other choice.  I have that very situation now with my '94 Residency.  The 3 available seatbelts are all on the L-shaped sofa, and only 1 of them faces forward.  So 1 of my 2 kids will have to sit side-facing, not ideal but better than no restraint at all. 

Although CRS's aren't currently federally required to be crash-tested and designed for sideways use, I'm betting that will change in future years (State Farm and other firms have started collecting data on those types of crashes).  Other than motorhomes, sideways seating is not all that common... but side-impact T-bone or fender swiping crashes are quite frequent when it comes to cars hitting one another.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46168
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2007, 02:59:28 PM »
The NHTSA web site has a search feature to look for recalled child restraint seats here.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 21585
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2007, 05:55:25 PM »
One thing to consider in a motor home is that if you get rear ended, or rear end someone you are looking at perhaps 3,000 pounds of "Other" v/s 20-30 THOUSAND pounds of RV.  You will not win (The construction of an RV makes sure of that) but the other guy is gonna loose for sure!

Also there is a lot of "Crush zone" espically if you are pulling a towed and get rear ended,  (The towed may take all the damage in fact).

But in a "T-Bone" ... Well, there you are not much better off than a person in a car,  Oh, less it's a semi a class A has some advantages in many cases (I mean if my wife, for example, were to slam into the side of my rig, with her tracer I'd suffer basement damage only, The couch would not even be stressed) 

So perhaps the sideways mount might just be better.

That said, I see no reason a "Mount" could not be created along the lines of the rear seat latches in my Lumina where a child seat along with an adapter could be mounted most anywhere on the floor of an RV.   Save nobody has done it.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 46168
  • Celebrating 25 years of The RV Forum online.
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2007, 07:02:16 PM »
...I see no reason a "Mount" could not be created along the lines of the rear seat latches in my Lumina where a child seat along with an adapter could be mounted most anywhere on the floor of an RV.

John, I considered doing this, but ..... be sure to wear shoes if you do this and be sure to lift your feet with each step. Anything sticking up off the floor is a trip hazard and, if you're not wearing shoes, a toe buster.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2007, 07:05:46 PM by Tom »
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

John From Detroit

  • ---
  • Posts: 21585
  • ^My New Home^
    • Diabetics Forum
Re: Child restraint seats
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2007, 10:01:09 PM »
I agree, however you have never seen the seat mounting system in my car.. The floor is smooth, The latch is below the level of the floor. 

I have seen several "Recessed anchor" systems, and Chevy used one on the Lumina APV.  It is not a pop-up type, it's a hole in the floor type (Slot actually)
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.