Traveling With Kids? Know How To Childproof Your RV
Lots of kiddos have fond memories of taking trips in the family RV. But behind every great family memory is a parent who had to create a child-safe environment.
Many people want to take their kids on the road with them, but an RV is different from a home and requires some special steps if you want to childproof it.
First of all, it’s harder to create designated kid spaces within an RV. There isn’t much free space, and everyone needs to be able to get in and out. Therefore, you can’t always block off the places you want your child to stay away from. Everything is also close together, and there are lots of switches, outlets, cords, and sharp corners that can pose a safety risk to children.
Don’t be scared though! Plenty of parents have taken their kids out in the RV, and there are ways that you can childproof your own vehicle. The steps you take may depend on your RV layout and the age of your kids, but there are always things you can do to make the trip safe for everyone. Let’s get started!
Pad sharp edges
The first thing you should do is go around your RV and mark any sharp corners or tripping hazards. Pay special attention to the edges of kitchen islands, tables, dressers, etc. There’s nothing worse than dealing with daily bonks on furniture! Kids can be seriously injured if they smack into these sharp edges.
Invest in some soft corner guards. These are easy to stick onto corners, and they provide a cushion in case a kid knocks into them. You can also use long strips of foam to pad the edges of tables, chairs, drawers, etc.
There may also be loose cords or rugs that little ones can slip on. Either tuck these cords away and/or cover them in child-safe padding. It’s inevitable that kids will fall, but you can reduce the risks by minimizing tripping hazards within your RV.
Use locks for cabinets, doors, and toilets
Next up, it’s time to ensure that kids don’t get into all your things! If you want to childproof an RV (or any space for that matter), it’s important to get some locks for your cabinets, doors, and toilets.
Cabinets contain potentially dangerous items like cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, and tools. Kids should only interact with these objects if there are adults around, so a good set of cabinet locks will stop their curiosity before it goes too far.
Maybe your RV doesn’t have a lot of doors, but chances are good that there are at least a few spaces that you’ll want to keep kids away from. Childproof door handles and locks will prevent them from entering off-limit spaces. You’ll need to buy the right type of door lock for your RV doors, whether they have round handles, pull-down handles, or function as sliding doors.
Finally, make sure that your toilet is locked at all times. Children are curious about the bathroom and might make a mess if you leave the toilet unattended. The last thing you want to deal with is a kid playing in the toilet.
These locks might slow you down a little bit as you go throughout your day, but they also help prevent a lot of problems.
Install outlet covers
Outlet covers are another essential item if you’re trying to childproof your RV. A lot of RVs have exposed outlets, and some even have them built into the armrests or the bottom edges of furniture. This is great for convenience, but it also means that kids can reach them much more easily.
A good set of outlet covers will keep kids safe. These slide neatly into the openings and block access to the electrical current. They’re not easy for kids to remove, but adults should have no problem taking the covers off when they need to access the outlet. Just remember to replace the cover when you’re done!
Create safety rails for bunk beds
A lot of family-friendly RV designs include bunk beds. This increases your sleeping capacity, and these beds are perfect for your travelers. Unfortunately, there’s also a greater risk of kids rolling off the beds at night. This can be dangerous, especially for the kids who sleep on the top bunk.
Therefore, it’s usually better for the older kids to sleep on top so they can leave the bottom bed open for young children. Safety rails come in handy for both beds though. You can either buy custom railing or use DIY solutions. Some people use tension-style baby gates to block off the opening. Others use sturdy mesh screens or bed rail guards.
If the kids are too small to sleep in a bunk bed, you might also want to invest in a pack-n-play. This will ensure that they stay safe and contained throughout the night.
Protect the screen door
A lot of RVs have screen doors. This is great when you want to let the fresh air in, but kids don’t understand that they can’t lean on these surfaces. Screen doors will often rip, spilling the kid onto the ground below. This is always a bad situation, so it’s important to properly cover and/or reinforce your RV screen door.
If you want to block off the kid’s access to the screen, you can always put a baby gate over the entrance. This makes it hard to get in and out of the RV though, so it may not be the best solution. A Lippert Screen Defender Door Protector is a good alternative. This covers the bottom half of the screen with a sturdy aluminum mesh. It’s effective against pets and children, so keep it in mind!
Use control panel covers
Nowadays, RVs have lots of different customization options. You can easily control the lighting, temperature, water systems, entertainment center, Wi-Fi, and much more. In most cases, there are control panels scattered throughout the floor plan. Unfortunately, kids might notice these and start to mess with them.
You probably don’t want a 2-year-old to adjust the settings for your RV, so it’s important to childproof these control panels. There are lots of sturdy covers you can install over the panels. These are easy for adults to remove but hard for children. As touchscreen technology becomes more common in RVs, it’s important to limit kids’ access to it.
Install stove and oven locks
Another dangerous area for kids is the kitchen. Once they start walking and exploring their environment, they’ll be drawn to switches, knobs, and anything else that’s movable. This is very dangerous within an RV. Curious children can accidentally turn on the oven or stove if the controls are within their reach.
Investing in stove knob covers is essential. Even if they don’t activate the burner, they could turn on the gas, which is dangerous for everyone. You can prevent fire hazards and keep everyone safe if you install locks/protective covers over the stove knobs. An oven lock will also prevent them from opening this appliance when you’re not looking.
Keep the floor clear
Finally, try to create an environment that’s safe and clean for kids. Cleaning an RV floor is a constant battle, especially when there are little ones underfoot. But it’s easier to keep them safe if the floor is open.
Try installing some anti-slip textures on the floors and removing rugs or other tripping hazards. Quickly clean up spills so they don’t attract pests or get your little one dirty. Kids still need to explore their surroundings; you just need to make it as safe as possible for them to do this.
Get tips from other RVers
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.