Children in the MH

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Buknob

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Nov 21, 2005
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Toronto, Canada
Hi,? my family and I are new to the RV experience and was wondering how the best way to strap a car seat into the MH for children. We have a 5 month old boy (Kyle) and want to obviously keep him as safe as possible. As of now we have our car seat strapped to the car seat base and buckled in to one of the many seat belts.  What are the laws requiring children in the MH while in motion?

If anybody has small children I would really like to discuss this.

Thx

Chris, Allison, Kyle

 

Jim Godward

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Chris, Allison, Kyle,

I think all states require the children to be belted in, I know for sure CA and MT do.? Further in Montana the child's seat must be installed in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.? They are getting pretty picky about that because of deaths caused by improper installation.? I am no longer around small children as a regular thing, my great grand kids live too far away, so I am not up on this.? The seats I am familiar with specify a rear seat and the child's seat is to face back wards.? This would rule out any side facing seats in a MH.?

I've gone as far as I can so check with your local police/fire departments.
 

tpp1971

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This is a vague and confusing subject. I asked a similar question a month or so ago and got very few responses. Not sure if most avid RV'ers don't have kids in car seats or just don't use them. The responses I did get ranged from strapping them into one of the couch restraints (which is unsafe as the seats are designed to be forward facing) to bolting a latch to the center isle of the coach and strapping the seats in there. I also had another forum member suggest using the booth seating and removing the table. This would appear to me to be the best option if you have booth seating in your galley. What are you doing now?

As far as what the law states.........not sure. Anyone have any idea?
 

Buknob

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Toronto, Canada
tpp1971 said:
This is a vague and confusing subject. I asked a similar question a month or so ago and got very few responses. Not sure if most avid RV'ers don't have kids in car seats or just don't use them. The responses I did get ranged from strapping them into one of the couch restraints (which is unsafe as the seats are designed to be forward facing) to bolting a latch to the center isle of the coach and strapping the seats in there. I also had another forum member suggest using the booth seating and removing the table. This would appear to me to be the best option if you have booth seating in your galley. What are you doing now?

As far as what the law states.........not sure. Anyone have any idea?


As of now I am doing nothing because we pick up our MH in 2 weeks but we are concerned about Kyle's safety. The salesman said the same thing to take out the table and use the forward facing seat. (as this particular car seat is a backwards facing seat) I guess we will have to do this until he is old enough to be in a forward facing seat.

I will e-mail the manufacture and ask them what the best way to do this is.
I will keep you posted on my results.

Thx
 

Tom

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I suspect the reason you might not be getting the answer you'd like to see is that there isn't a good answer. Being safe and being legal are not necessarily the same thing.

The vehicle code here in CA, is quite specific about not using the front seat below a given age. One exception is if the vehicle's rear seat is a "side facing jump seat". Would a side facing sofa be considered the same as a side facing jump seat? Even if it were not, intuitively it would appear that securing a child restraint seat to a front-facing seat would be safer than securing it to a side-facing sofa.

Given that my coach has 2 front seats and a side-facing sofa, but no dinette, my options for my youngest grandson are limited. If I had a forward-facing dinette seat and the appropriate restraints/anchors, I'd be inclined to put the child restraint seat there. But I don't have that option.

Bottom line is there does not appear to be a good answer.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I've seen this discussed in several venues and unfortunately there seem to be no good answers.

On the legal side, state and provincial laws vary in their requirements.  Be careful when citing laws because large vehicles are exempt from the passenger car requirements in many jurisdictions. For example,  buses [even school buses!] usually don't even have seat belts.  The exemptions may be motivated by cost issues, but it is also true that passengers in large, heavy vehicles are at much less risk than smaller ones.

But the safety of your own child is a strong motivator. Clearly sideways facing seats are out - in an accident they are dangerous for anybody! A front seat position on a motorhome may not be a bad place - the windshield is far away and the seat is above the "crash zone". At least you could solidly strap in a car seat there.  But that won't pass legal muster in states/provinces with "no front carseat" laws.

Most dinette seats are not strongly constructed, though some are equipped with seat belts to meet RVIA and legal requirements. If you have a dinette, that's an option.

I don't have an small children or grandchildren, but I believe my choice would be to install anchors in an open area, in the aisle if necessary, and place the car seat on the floor. It gives a solid base and good anchor points and the seat can face rearwards, which I believe is safest style.  If the anchors had to be in a foot traffic area, I would find anchor points that fold down flush, like the fittings used on sailboats, and buy or make webbing that connects to the anchors with a snap of some sort.  There are snaps that are plenty strong enough, e.g. parachute equipment, military or race webbing, etc.
 

Tom

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RV Roamer said:
Be careful when citing laws because large vehicles are exempt from the passenger car requirements in many jurisdictions. For example, buses [even school buses!] usually don't even have seat belts.

Understood Gary, and CA specifically refers to school buses and commercial vehicles. The code specifically exempts "house cars" from the definition of the latter.

install anchors in an open area, in the aisle if necessary, and place the car seat on the floor. It gives a solid base and good anchor points and the seat can face rearwards

I considered doing that and decided it really isn't practical since either the restraint seat would have to be anchored fore and aft, or I'd need to install some additional support to prevent the seat from falling/moving backwards. Also didn't want to cut recesses in the floor mount truly "flush" anchors. Folding anchors in a walkway which aren't recessed in the floor are IMHO just an accident waiting to happen. If anything isn't flush with the floor, I guarantee I'll fall over it.

One thing I didn't mention that I've considered, but not decided or acted upon, is the possibility of anchoring our Euro chair and using that to support the restraint seat. I haven't yet figured out what, if any, mods I'd neeed to make to the chair beyond anchoring it to the floor, or if the whole thing would be safe enough.

When I've exhausted other possibilities, the only option I might be left with is to use the front seat, which CA allows under some circumstances. But that would put the adult passenger (me) on the side-facing sofa. Well, there are other options, such as wait until the gandson is older, or take our 18 year old grandson instead, but neither of these solve the problem.
 

Jim Dick

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Tom,

I'd doubt very much if the Euro chair would be strong enough to protect a child in a car seat. Regardless, you would still have to prevent the Euro chair from swiveling which would be a bigger challenge than mounting it to the floor.

 

Tom

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Jim, I had the same concern about the strength of the Euro chair. Preventing it from swivelling is also one of the things I haven't yet figured out. I previously ruled out using the Euro chair at all, but discussions like this cause me to re-open the thought process.

BTW when we were rear ended by a large delivery truck in our Bronco a number of years ago, Chris and I couldn't figure out why we found our feet on the dash. The high backs on those front seats both broke and the doc told me he'd seen that many times. Presumably they've improved the design of car seats since then, but it makes me wonder how safe today's seats really are.
 

Jim Dick

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Tom,

I would guess todays seats are probably not even close to being safe compared to years ago. Of course we didn't have cars being driven as fast as today. I saw something the other day that caused me to pause. Honda's Gold Wing now is coming out with an air bag. It won't keep you from flying through the air but might slow you down a little. ??? ???
 

Tom

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Jim Dick said:
Honda's Gold Wing now is coming out with an air bag. It won't keep you from flying through the air but might slow you down a little. ??? ???

An air bag on a motorcycle? Next thing you know they'll be putting seat belts on them.
 

Buknob

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Nov 21, 2005
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Toronto, Canada
and BAM!!! you have a car............

Well guys i really appreciate the input, and i guess Kyle will have to stay in his car seat attached to the forward facing bench until he is old enough.

Well the positive point is that we will find out where all the rest stops are on the east coast to Florida when Kyle flips out every hour because he has been strapped in his chair to long.

Thx again



 

blueblood

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The standard mantra for parents was for rear facing seat "until at least 20# and at least 1 year". Two years ago  the American Academy of Pediatrics quietly added this wording to its guidelines: If a car safety seat accommodates children rear facing to higher weights, for optimal protection, the child should remain rear facing until reaching the maximum weight for the car safety seat, as long as the top of the head is below the top of the seat back.  This is in effect what the Scandinavian countries have been doing for some time. The basic idea is not to rush children out of rear facing car seats since it is the highest level of safety with seat belts being lowest. In fact, it has been pointed out that rear facing seats in vehicles would be the safest for all. Certainly out of question for drivers and not too plausible for others but if one wanted best safety design it would facing rearward.  What I find interesting in the discussion of side facing seats is that most people/organizations recommend not doing it. Yet the underlying data for the rear facing car seat recommendation is that deaths from side crashes is higher in children facing forward as compared to those facing rearward. This further reflects that the largest number of deaths is caused by side crashes. I think people automatically assume that the seats are in car facing rearward or forward because crashes come from the front and thus when arguing against side facing seats don't take into account the crash is probably going to come from the side. My nephew was killed last year in just such a crash. He died instantly according to the doctors as his head was whipped to the side. We traveled in 2003 with two grandchildren ages 3 and 4 for a year due to call up of parents and we had them in child restraint chairs facing side ways which had side protection. I felt it was as good as I could do for them. They would have some protection from a head on crash and good protection from a side crash. I lowered my normal travel speed and took other safety precautions as well. I felt I was doing the best I could for them.

 

Tom

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blueblood said:
We traveled in 2003 with two grandchildren ages 3 and 4 for a year due to call up of parents and we had them in child restraint chairs facing side ways which had side protection.

Leo, would you mind explaining what you mean by "side protection". Thanks.
 

Buknob

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Location
Toronto, Canada
Tom said:
Leo, would you mind explaining what you mean by "side protection". Thanks.

What I think he means is that the child seat comes with "side protection" which is basically extra cushions down the left and right side of the seat. Our Peg Perego seat has this and we are now at the stage where we are taking them out because Kyle is getting to big and is starting to get squished.

I told my wife that we should just buy a new seat but he is "between seats" right now. he is 5 1/2months old and to small for a forward facing seat and to big for the infant seats, so we are left with removing the side cushions and giving him more room. The link I have attached gives some testimonials about the product? and people are saying the same thing that there child seems "squished" and this is because of the side protection.


http://www.babyuniverse.com/pro/baby/77777/PrimoViaggioMT-HipHop.html

Again I am gratefull for the feedback but i guess we will have to just keep him in the rear facing seat that we currently own until he gets bigger.





 

Tom

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Thanks Buknob. That's not the kind of seat I was thinking of. Our youngest grandson is almost 3 and wouldn't fit in that seat.
 

blueblood

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Tom said:
Leo, would you mind explaining what you mean by "side protection". Thanks.

Tom - they looked like the one attached. Their obviously not going to be as effective as a NASCAR head restraint chair but I was hoping to provide some protection in event of a sideways crash in car or head on in MH. No perfect world on children chairs. As I noted in earlier message even front vs back is simply a case of reducing death rate not eliminating. In fact, the whole science of child restrain is still evolving. In terms of body structure children are not small adults. Thus, crash dummies are still being developed that will replicate a child and a lot of testing still needs to be done.

One side benefit is that when they fall asleep while traveling they are well restrained and the head simply turns slightly next to the "ear" which acts like a pillow and they have a very peaceful sleep so when we get to destination and are worn out their readyto  roll and 3 and 4 vs 75 is no contest :'(. ::)
 

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