When your home is on wheels, finding safe places to keep everything can be a challenge. Even though modern RVs have plenty of storage space for your stuff, keeping your kids out of the storage is another story. Also, making the RV a safe place for your child can also be a struggle. Here are some things you can do to keep your child safe (and protect your belongings) when you are living in an RV-- even in the short term.
1. Replace blinds with curtains.
Many RVs have window blinds that are operated by pull cords. These cords are a strangulation hazard, especially in an RV where windows are easily accessed by the built in couches and beds. If possible, remove the blinds and have curtains installed for window coverings.
2. Make the door safe.
Be sure to install a child safety lock on the side door of your RV. These can sometimes be opened while driving on older RV models, making them a hazard to toddler who have mastered lifting the latch or turning the knob. Kids can also get out while you sleep, which can be dangerous in a campground next to water or with urban or rural wildlife prowling about. You might even consider installing a basic alarm system that triggers when the door is opened. You can shut the alarm system off during the day when the RV is parked, but turn it on at night or when you are on the road so that you are alerted when your child may be making a bid for freedom.
Doors often have a "well" built in on the inside to serve as the first step down from the vehicle when it is parked. When children are shut inside the RV, this well is a fall hazard for toddlers who haven't mastered the ability to judge hazards on their own. You can plug up this well with pillows or gate it off with a collapsible baby gate.
3. Be smart about cabinet storage.
The bumps and jerks of traveling should be minimized by modern RV shock systems, but won't ever be completely eliminated. Before started out on any journey, check the latches on every overhead cabinet to make sure they close firmly and stay closed on their own. Then, pack the storage cabinets with your kids in mind:
- Keep heavy things closer to the ground. You don't want a trophy, a jar of jam, or a bowling ball to slide against the door of a cabinet and force it open. Should such an object fall on the head of a young child, serious injury could result.
- Keep dangerous things out of the main living space. It might be small inconvenience, but the best way to keep your child out of flammable fire starters, kitchen knives, or corrosive cleansers is to keep them out of the living part of the motor home and store them in the compartments only accessible from outside.
- Add non-skid material to the bottom of drawers and cabinets. This will help prevent the movement of items during transit, resulting fewer fall hazards.
4. Change your mentality.
In your kitchen at home, things are often safe on top of the counter pushed against the wall. However, in an RV, countertops are lower and appliances are smaller. Therefore, you should never assume anything is safe on an RV counter-- always return things to their place. Boiling pots of water, coffee makers, and other counter-top or stove-top items should never be left unattended with your child present.
Childproofing your RV can be overwhelming at first, but this guide can help you get started. Click for more information on family-friendly RV options.