Children and even clumsy adults can wreck havoc around your RV. It isn’t always about keeping your RV nice, sometimes it is a matter of safety. You may wonder how RV slide out safety could be jeopardized. We did too until hearing a series of stories recently that caused us to change the way our RV slide out was deployed and accessed.
The first story was that of a family driving down the road in their motorhome as the Dad felt some unexpected difficulty steering the rig. After pulling over, he discovered that one of his kids had pressed the slide out control and extended the RV slide out either right before departure or during transit. A right turn at the wrong moment could have spelled disaster for the family RV if Dad hadn’t realized it in time.
There are other cautionary tales of RV slide out safety that are nothing more than a malfunction of the slide out itself and it coming loose and fully extending on its own. This has the possibility of tearing the slide out right off of the RV and doing significant damage. Another story we heard recently was simply a story of bad luck. Some items that were left on a table had slid off in just the right manner to press the slide out control button. Luckily, the items fell loose before extending the slide out too far.
These stories are more common than we are comfortable with so we went with two separate safety measures to ensure this doesn’t happen to us.
1. RV Slide Out Safety Locks
RV slide out safety locks are one item that some people tend find essential and others find unnecessary. These devices play a simple role. They place a wedge between the inside of your RV wall and the inside lip of your slide out while the RV is retracted. This creates a physical barrier so the RV slide out cannot be deployed by the control button nor by malfunction. You can purchase store bought RV slide out safety locks or of course our favorite is to build your own.
Building your own is surprisingly simple. All that is required is a metal or wooden dowel that is at least 1” thick and rubber caps for either end. Measure the distance from the inside of your RV wall to the inner lip (on the top typically) of your RV slide out. Then cut the dowel to fit, paint it(preferably a bright color so you don’t forget to remove it), and have it handy to wedge between the wall and the slide on your next trip.
See the photo below for a better idea of its use and construction.
2. RV Slide Out Safety Cover for Controls
The control button for deploying your RV slide out is there for convenience. It also means that anyone or anything can retract or deploy your slides. We decided to install a cover over ours that gives us the option of preventing any unauthorized person from using the slide outs. We came across this idea on RV.net and were happy to find this is a cheap fix. For around $4 you can get a single outlet cover that should fit over most slide out controls. Be sure to get a model that will accommodate your button width and how far it sticks out from the wall. The great part about this covers is that many of them are locking. So if you have children or careless adults around you can easily keep your slide controls from being messed with.
What do you do to for RV slide out safety? Share your thoughts in the comments below.