EPDM Coatings
Desert Valley RV Park
CamperLite RV LED Bulbs offer Sponsored by Spotless Water Systems rvupgradestore.com Composet Products

Author Topic: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???  (Read 14906 times)

Sarah

  • ---
  • Posts: 9
Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« on: September 09, 2009, 12:55:21 AM »
Hi
I'm very new to this so I am going to be asking heaps of questions hope that's ok?  My husband and I are wanting to travel next year with my boys they will be 2 and 4 years old.  We are from Australia and kids have to where seat belts and be in the appropiate booster seat/carseat.  I have been looking at Motorhomes mainly class c and I cant figure out where the boys will sit.  This maybe a really stupid question but my childrens safety is number 1 in my books.  Would we attach the car/seats and have to mount seat belts?  What's the go over in the states how do you travel with kids?
Very confused

Thanks
Sarah

COMer

  • ---
  • Posts: 1565
  • John & Darla
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 04:41:08 AM »
You should be able to go to the state police in your area for clarification.  In PA, they actually give seminars and will inspect your belts and seat to make sure they are properly secure.  In a nutshell, the laws here require you to have child car seats for both of those kids.  They will graduate to booster seats as they age and grow in size.  You are not allowed to have an air bag nearby and they are not to be in the front seat.  They both should be old enough to have front facing seats but must have seat belts and shoulder restraints.  In other words, the laws here are also quite child-friendly. 

Not sure why a motor home would not have seats belts already.  Have you looked down underneath the seats?  If it's old enough that it doesn't, you would certainly need to add them but seat belts have been in motor homes for a long time.  If they haven't been used they may be hiding.

Good luck.  The boys will enjoy the travels and you'll enjoy knowing they are safe.
John & Darla
Home near Erie, PA
Spend half the year with Campers on Mission

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44684
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 07:44:00 AM »
Seat belt regulations, especially for children, vary somewhat by state. Here is a site that summarizes the regs for each state:

http://www.iihs.org/laws/childrestraint.aspx

The coach will have seat belts in each  seat that is designated as a passenger seat, which may not be every available seat in the coach. Typically there are at least 4 and sometimes 6 positions. The belts may be underneath a sofa or even a dinette seat and they are seldom displayed when the coach is on the sales lot. If the coach claims to sleep 4 or 6, it must also have seat belts for 4 or 6.  However, these seat belt positions may not always be suitable for a car or booster seat.  Some may even be in side-facing seats, which makes them pretty much useless in terms of actually protecting anybody, adult or child.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

chrishibbard7

  • ---
  • Posts: 136
  • 04 4winds chateau sport
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 07:03:32 PM »
Seat belt regulations, especially for children, vary somewhat by state. Here is a site that summarizes the regs for each state:
http://www.iihs.org/laws/childrestraint.aspx
The coach will have seat belts in each  seat that is designated as a passenger seat, which may not be every available seat in the coach. Typically there are at least 4 and sometimes 6 positions. The belts may be underneath a sofa or even a dinette seat and they are seldom displayed when the coach is on the sales lot. If the coach claims to sleep 4 or 6, it must also have seat belts for 4 or 6.  However, these seat belt positions may not always be suitable for a car or booster seat.  Some may even be in side-facing seats, which makes them pretty much useless in terms of actually protecting anybody, adult or child.

Hope I'm not breaking some "double posting" rule, as I just posted asking a similar question to a forum posting by someone who actually added seat belt to his coach...

But is it enough to just drill & bolt (&washer) through the floor?  What are the floors of most Class Cs made of?  we're driving a '94 22' 4Winds Chateau class C...

DearMissMermaid

  • ---
  • Posts: 1208
  • Read my mis-adventures at DearMissMermaid.Com
    • DearMissMermaid.Com
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2011, 08:20:22 PM »
I'm in a Class C and it has all sorts of hidden seatbelts you have to pull out to use. Both the front seats have standard seatbelts. In the sitting area, both the club  chairs have seat belts but they are stored and hidden underneath. You reach down between the seat cushion and the arm rest, pull them up on each side, then they can hook across  a person or  child's car seat.

The dinette which is like a booth, has seatbelts on both sides of the booth. You have to remove the cushions, bring them out, put the cushions back in place.

I don't have a sofa, but I've seen seatbelts on sofas, you store them away when not riding around.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

Gary RV Roamer

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 44684
  • We're on the road again...
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2011, 09:41:31 PM »
Class C's are built on standard van or pick-up chassis. If the existing seat belts are bolted to the floor, then add-on ones could be as well. I'd put large washers under the bolts, though.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
2004 American Tradition
2007 GMC Acadia
Homebase: Ocala National Forest, FL

Alfa38User

  • ---
  • Posts: 3710
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2011, 09:17:52 AM »
Heh, heh, A friend of mine has a 24 ft. Sprinter based motorhome and the only additional seat belts are in a folding sofa at the rear (behind the dual wheels), not the place to be on a rough road!!! That, for me, would be worse that the crew seats in a light aircraft, been there , done that with lots of time over the white lunch bags!!!
Stu
Montreal, Canada
Snowbird, SW Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver

chrishibbard7

  • ---
  • Posts: 136
  • 04 4winds chateau sport
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2011, 03:05:19 PM »
Class C's are built on standard van or pick-up chassis. If the existing seat belts are bolted to the floor, then add-on ones could be as well. I'd put large washers under the bolts, though.
Thanks again for your help Gary.
Want to make sure I understand you.  I know the class C frame (driver's cab, drive train and chassis) is what the manufacturer buys from Ford/GM/whoever, and then puts the camper shell on top...
but my understanding was the chassis consists of 2 steel "I" or "C" beams and drive train/ fuel tank only.  Are you saying I need to find where in the floor the chassis beams are (to bolt through) or that the chassis includes more than I thought (and there is metal all over in the floor)?

DearMissMermaid

  • ---
  • Posts: 1208
  • Read my mis-adventures at DearMissMermaid.Com
    • DearMissMermaid.Com
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2011, 07:18:40 AM »
My seatbelts came with my Class C and are bolted to the floor.  It's a DOT (Department of Transportation) law.

If a Class C is designed to sleep 4, then when they build it, they MUST include 4 seats and seat belts, ditto if it is built to sleep six, then they must have seats and seat belts for six. This is a requirement by law.  The seats can include sofas, and dinettes, but they still MUST include the seat belts.

What I tried to explain earlier, is that often the seat belts are designed to be stowed away under the seating, when not in use, so they may not be readily apparent in pictures of the Class C interior. 

If you are looking at a Class C without seatbelts, then it's not street legal.  The seller needs to add the required seatbelts.   



http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

1275gtsport

  • ---
  • Posts: 420
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2011, 07:59:59 AM »
Thanks again for your help Gary.
Want to make sure I understand you.  I know the class C frame (driver's cab, drive train and chassis) is what the manufacturer buys from Ford/GM/whoever, and then puts the camper shell on top...
but my understanding was the chassis consists of 2 steel "I" or "C" beams and drive train/ fuel tank only.  Are you saying I need to find where in the floor the chassis beams are (to bolt through) or that the chassis includes more than I thought (and there is metal all over in the floor)?

On my 1974 there is a metal floor only goes as far as a standard full size van would be. meaning that it is not full width of the motor home and not as long. the metal "floor" stops just after the rear wheels do and is about a foot or so narrower on each side. the seat belts on mine are only on the dinette and bolt into a cross bar that bolts through the floor. so the inboard side is through the metal floor and plywood and the outside bolts go just through the plywood floor as far as I know that is the way it came in 1974. There is a large plate on the outboard side and I would doubt anybody would survive the crash if you pulled those bolts through the wood floor.

And DearMissMermaid I always understood that they can have more seating (with seat belts) then beds but can not have more beds then seating, so the rv can seat 7 and sleep six, I of course don't have any proof or true fact to back that up.

DearMissMermaid

  • ---
  • Posts: 1208
  • Read my mis-adventures at DearMissMermaid.Com
    • DearMissMermaid.Com
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2011, 09:13:23 AM »
Yes the minimum number of seat belts required to be "street legal"  is based on the maximun number it was designed to sleep.

So my mini-motorhome sleeps 5,  has seatbelts for 6 but has seating for 11. 

I would never drive anywhere with more than 4-5 persons, but if it's pouring down rain and we are camping, it seats 11.  ;D
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

jeffbrown

  • ---
  • Posts: 711
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2011, 11:16:23 AM »
An interesting thing about car seats is that they are not designed to be mounted sideways.  Please put your car seats forward facing.  You will have to remove cushions to check for seat belts and they will almost always be lap only belts in the forward facing side of the dinette and 2 in the sofa.  Class C's pretty much always have them in the Dinette where class A's are more difficult.  Rigs designed for families will have where rigs designed for retired couples will not, as an example the gas Bounders pretty much all have belts where the Southwinds almost never do.

Jeff
Jeff - Driver
Wife - In complete control!
Bear - strapped to his seat! (4 year old son)
Duncan the dog - constantly looking for a different window
2002 Bounder 36S "King Charles the Great Bounder" or "Big Chuck"

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4994
  • Central IL
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2011, 01:01:30 PM »
^^ While that's true, motorhome seating does not always provide all of those forward-facing options.  My rig has an L-shaped couch with 1 forward position and 2 side positions.  No dinette.  Because of the age of my kids, it's always worked out to have the youngest child in a seat in that single forward spot... but do the best that you can with your motorhome.  For the most part, you will come out the "winner" in just about any collision with other vehicles, as you will be heavier and sitting higher than most other traffic on the roads.  This is especially the case with Class A's, but would hold true (for weight anyway) in most Class C's also.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

chrishibbard7

  • ---
  • Posts: 136
  • 04 4winds chateau sport
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 08:04:21 AM »
I don't know about "winning" in a collision...I've seen pics of some RV, especially "custom" Class As that are not on a commercial chassis, that look like a tornado hit a trailer park, though I don't know exactly what kid of wrecks they were in.  Cabinets, stoves, TVs, microwaves, fridges, all become launchpads for death-missles :-0  Drive carefully & stay alert!

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4994
  • Central IL
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 04:35:28 PM »
^^ Those are generally crashes where the entire motorhome is subjected to substantial downward crash forces, such as driving off the road and bouncing through a ditch or field - or hitting some solid and immovable like a bridge embankment.  That said, the most likely crash you'll be involved in will involve other vehicles on the road, the majority of which are much smaller and lighter than just about every motorhome.

"Drive carefully and stay alert" is great advice!   ;D
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

JoAnn

  • ---
  • Posts: 380
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2011, 08:10:41 AM »
Wow this is something I hadn't thought of.  We have a 33' class A  which sleeps 4.  The only seating other than the driver and passenger would be the sofa faces the entrance door (pass side).  This does have 2 seatbelts.  But as y'all mentioned not good for a car seat.  Therefor I'm assuming we would never be able to bring our granddaughter with us as she would need a car seat.  That's sad as I was looking forward to bringing her at some point.  :( :(

JoAnn
The worst day on vacation is better than a day at work

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4994
  • Central IL
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2011, 05:54:22 PM »
But as y'all mentioned not good for a car seat.  Therefor I'm assuming we would never be able to bring our granddaughter with us as she would need a car seat.

Don't go all "doomsday" on that option yet.  ;)  As I mentioned earlier, we have 1 forward seat and 2 side seats on our MH's L-shaped couch.  And 3 kids.  So 2 of them sit side facing, there's no other choice.

Get the seat as secure as possible, and you know she will be as safe as possible... that's all we can really ever do.  FWIW at my old job I was a certified Child Passenger Safety technician for several years, and what I described would fall under "best practice" when you don't have ideal circumstances.  Another option would be to fasten her carseat in the front passenger spot (ONLY if you can disable airbags, if you have them) and you sit on the couch in back.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

Conquest aka Robert

  • ---
  • Posts: 614
  • 1996 gulfstream conquest ultra 102
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2011, 06:27:23 PM »
My c has belts on the forward facing table bench. They work fine just make sure you get them tight and you should be fine.
1996 GulfStream Conquest Ultra 102  04-19-2011.
2009 Honda Ruckus
1984 Southwind for 6 years.
1 Wife
6 Children who needs pets

chrishibbard7

  • ---
  • Posts: 136
  • 04 4winds chateau sport
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2011, 08:12:14 PM »
  Another option would be to fasten her carseat in the front passenger spot (ONLY if you can disable airbags, if you have them) and you sit on the couch in back.

Check the link above though: some states made it illegal to put a carseat in the front passenger *ever*, which is plain silly if you have no/disabled the airbag.   Remember, our parents practically threw us in the trunk, compared to child car safety today.   :)

-4 kids, 3 in boosters

Tom

  • Administrator
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 39410
    • RV Forum web site
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2011, 02:10:07 AM »
Quote from: scottydl
Another option would be to fasten her carseat in the front passenger spot (ONLY if you can disable airbags, if you have them) and you sit on the couch in back.

That's what we did when we traveled with one grandson in the motorhome (no passenger side airbag). Chris does 95% of the driving, so I sat on the sofa. It was my best compromise between between safe and being legal. Haven't yet figured out what we'll do to take two grandchildren at the same time.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

JoAnn

  • ---
  • Posts: 380
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2011, 07:51:56 AM »
Thanks!  That makes me feel a little better.  I would leave the option up to her parents.  I hadn't thought about it before but now it feels like a huge responsibility.   I'm not sure she would ever come alone with us, but who knows.  My daughter and sil are the type that never ever leave her overnight.  But with a second child on the way, who knows LOL

JoAnn
The worst day on vacation is better than a day at work

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4994
  • Central IL
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2011, 05:27:00 PM »
I didn't think of this before, but another option is buying a carseat that IS rated for side-impact crashes.  Those seats do exist, although they are not necessarily common or found at Wal-mart.  I'm guessing Britax probably makes one, they are considered "high end" and exceed government-required crash test ratings.  A lot of people like them for that reason, but they are more expensive also.

A certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) tech would be the best person to ask for this type of information.  Seat designs are ALWAYS changing so there may be more out there than I'm aware of.  Check this website - http://www.safekids.org/in-your-area/ - for checkup events and technicians in your area.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...

chrishibbard7

  • ---
  • Posts: 136
  • 04 4winds chateau sport
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2011, 10:12:30 AM »
haven't had a reason to do so yet...but my front passenger airbag has a switch to turn off the airbag that looks like it takes a key.  I got literally a fistful of keys when we bought our RV (used) but none of them fit.

Does anyone have a similar keyhole-switch to turn off the passenger airbag?  What does the key look like?  Maybe I just need to get medieval on that thing and apply a lot more pressure?  It looks plastic inside :(

jeffbrown

  • ---
  • Posts: 711
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2011, 11:30:38 AM »
I had a keyhole switch in my Frontier and it took the ignition key to operate it.

Jeff
Jeff - Driver
Wife - In complete control!
Bear - strapped to his seat! (4 year old son)
Duncan the dog - constantly looking for a different window
2002 Bounder 36S "King Charles the Great Bounder" or "Big Chuck"

scottydl

  • Admin assist
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 4994
  • Central IL
Re: Seatbelts in motorhomes for kids???
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2011, 01:31:54 PM »
The airbags are part of the Chevrolet chassis, so the airbag cutoff switch would be something that came from Chevy and not your motorhome manufacturer.  If you can't find it, your nearest dealership will probably turn one up.  Not sure of the price though, might want to try eBay too.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
1994 Thor Residency 3500 owned 2007-2012
Now looking for the next perfect RV...