Berkeley Parents Network >
Services & Businesses >
I'm considering renting a small RV for a roadtrip with my
husband and 1.5 year old, but I'm having a hard time getting a
straight answer about using car seats in an RV. I've talked
with two rental agencies that assure me there are seatbelts in
the RVs, and that lots of parents rent RVs and use car seats--
usually facing sideways on a sofa area. I don't know of a
forward- or rear-facing car seat out there that is made to use
sideways...and for freeway/highway driving especially, I'd like
to use the car seat as it should be. I've been assured it's not
illegal to use a car seat sideways in an RV, yet the rental
agencies' fine print says to use car seats where applicable and
according to the manufacturer's installation instructions (not
sideways). But they tell me the only forward-facing seat with
seatbelts is at the dining area where the table will likely
block the car seat. Has anyone rented an RV and used it with a
car seat? If so, where did you put it? And would you recommend
the experience? Thank you!
Road trippin' mama
My sister owns an RV business in Salinas, so I asked her and she said
''The Rv's I used to rent (I no longer rent Rv's) had a chair that was
behind the passenger seat. It was a stand alone not attached to a
dinette table or anything. People would put car seats in the chair rear
or forward facing it didn't matter. The seat had a seatbelt just like
the dinette seats do. A car seat really would not work @ the dinette
seat. I've never used a car seat sideways.
well to make a long thing short it is against california state law to
use a carseat facing sideways. The law states As of January 1, 2005,
California law requires children to ride in the back seat in a properly
restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat until they are at
least six years old OR weigh 60 pounds. Even the ''safest'' seat may not
protect your child if it isn't used correctly. therefore if you install
teh seat sideways you are not using the seat properly.
the reason why they cannot ride in a side facing seat is because the
seats either failed when tested that way OR they were not tested that
way in which case you would use your child as a human crash test dummy.
Now if there are seats that face forwards you can use them. If the table
will get in the way can you remove it for driving times?? also is there
an airbag?? can it be turned off?? If so put the baby up front. Just a
few thoughts. good luck Melinda
Rental RV's don't come with setups that enable proper use of car seats,
that I know of. Safe use requires a chassis-bolted seat belt in a
forward-facing seat. The side-facing seats in newer (rental) RV's have
shoulder straps, so you can legally transport kids in them. The child
safety transport laws are written only for cars. Small children can
legally ride unrestrained on motorcycles and planes, for example.
I personally feel it is safe enough to drive with kids secured in
side-facing seats in RV's to risk injury for a fun vacation.
RV's are not likely to roll, be driven fast, or driven in congested
areas, so the liklihood of children being thrown from their seats is
lower than miles traveled in cars.
We rented an RV last Summer and used the car seat for our 12 month old.
We placed it on the couch (behind the driver's seat) facing sideways and
it was fine. He was thrilled with being able to see everything and the
novelty of the RV. Not to mention there was a TV above the driver's cab
in case he got fussy.
When we were considering renting an RV last year, and were planning on
installing carseats in them, we learned that the bench seats are
attached to a plywood base. This is different than in a regular car,
which has the seat anchored into the body of the car. In a crash, the
entire bench seat is not as stable as a solidly anchored seat in a
passenger vehicle. You may want to verify this for yourself to see if
any models have safer bench seats.
We would like to rent a camper van or small RV for a family get-away
in mid June. Can anyone make a suggestion? Are there private party
rentals out there? My husband and I have a clean driving record and
would be able to take out supplemental insurance, etc....The cruise
america agreements are so restrictive and pricey!
We recently rented a VW Camper Van from California Campers in
Redwood City for a week-long trip down the California Coast.
We rented a 1988 vehicle that worked great, has a pop top that
sleeps two and a pull out back seat that also sleeps two.
Working stove, sink and refrigerator in the van. We brought
our dog and it worked well. We had a wonderful trip and the
price was pretty reasonable (I think it worked out to about
$700 for the whole week.) The guy who runs it is very laid back
Hi, just my input on CA Campers and renting a Westy, which we've
now done twice. LOVE the camper itself for our family of 4, and
the first trip several years ago was wonderful. The second time
around, the original van broke down so the owner drove a new one
to us (4 hours away!) and swapped it out and covered our motel.
Then it broke down a second time and we had to get it fixed
ourselves since we were by now at least an 8-10 hour drive away.
Not necessarily a negative reflection on CA Campers, but on
renting a circa late 1980's van (mechanically easier to fix than
the new ones, but somewhat risky in my opinion). Have fun!
We want to rent a medium-sized RV for about a week this summer.
Has anybody done this before? If so, where should we go to do
it? What should we look for and what kind of questions should we
Our son (7) has become enamored of RVs with an ''upstairs'' as he
calls them. We would like to rent one for a week or so, but I
have looked and looked on the internet and even the smallest ones
(I prefer small, actually) cost almost $1,000 a week, with limited
mileage! I also looked into the VW campers (although I'm not sure
they would be entirely satisfactory to my son...), but they, too,
are prohibitively expensive (about $750/week with limited
mileage). So... before I give up on my son's top vacation
request, does anyone have any suggestions for less expensive ways
never thought I would ask this question...
I found your post interesting because I have seen other families
inquiring about RVs. Last year I got lucky I got a FREE 25 foot
Winnebago Brave RV from Craigslist. Its a long but very nice
story. Anyways, she is in good condition, but has needed some
upgrading which we are doing little by little. Our next project
is upholstery and tires. Then she is ready to roll. Because I
was so lucky, my family and I would like to offer ''Winnie'' to
other families for short trips. While she doesn't have an
upstairs, every kid I have known thought it was the coolest
thing. It has a TV, Radio Casette player with surprising good
sound quality, stove and fridge that operate on propane, bathroom
with shower. It also runs on electricity.
Of course Winnie would be much less affordable then renting from
say El Monte, but I think she would suit your needs. We are just
trying to defray the cost of upgrading her.
If you are interested, send me an e-mail at ljkwaiting AT earthlink.net
I'm thinking of renting an RV this summer to road trip back to
the Midwest and have already checked with Cruise America but
it's too expensive. Does anyone know of any alternatives? If
you've done this before do you think it's worth the expense? I
have two children under 4 and the thought of us being cooped up
in our car that long is not very appealing! Any advice is much
An RV will provide you an alternative for accomodations, but
won't change the driving experience: your children will need to
be in their car seats whether they are driving in your car or
traveling in an RV. So if they have a hard time traveling a long
distance in the car, the RV would make no difference. It does
give you a lot more flexibility about where you stop for meals
and for the night, though.
I am trying to answer your query before my husband does because
he will tell you that renting the Cruise America RV was one of
the finest, funnest things that he ever did with his (our) life.
Here is what I consider to be the objective reality:
1) We rented a Cruise America RV--one of the bigger models--to go
from New Orleans through LA and MI, up to Oxford, MI (Faulkner's
birthplace and home) and back to New Orleans, in a weeks time.
We then recuperated in a 5-star hotel for another week.
2) My then two-year old son and 8 1/2 year old daughter thought
the RV was the finest thing since Ben 'n Jerry's ''One Sweet
Whirled.'' They got such a kick out of the concept and journey.
3) I find these things intimidating to drive--our wonderful
nanny and my husband drove it with ease; I did not, and would
not, drive it. I had visions of getting stuck under overpasses
and taking out whole city blocks of innocent bystanders.
4) Someone has to ''hook up'' the darn thing in the RV parks, and,
worse yet, let the ''junk'' out--''junk'' is my euphemism for bodily
5) For some reason, even though we paid for a larger model with
a ''complete'' bathroom, we never showered in the RV. We used the
showers in the RV parks, and other RVers seem to be doing the
same thing. Don't shower where you eat, maybe? I don't know.
It just seemed to be everyone's instinct.
6) The hotel on wheels concept mitigated, and, maybe, even
eliminated, arguments about some of us not being ready to go. My
husband merely disconnected us, stepped on the gas, and we were
on our way. So, in this way, the RV may be a friction-reducer.
7) There is another outfit, with Swiss-manufactured RVs (Mobius,
or something like that)--they looked sleeker and more modern, but
they had not outlet in New Orleans. There are only a few of them
in the States, I believe.
8) Would we do it again--absolutely. My husband and children
and nanny and, okay, I, had fun. And the photos of our life in
the RV are precious.
9) You might ask if Cruise America offers a AAA discount.
10) Feel free to e-mail me, not my husband, if I haven't covered something.
11) Oh, yes, factor in gas costs--gas is much more expensive
than when we we
Glad I did it, ONCE!
I rented a camper van from someplace in hayward. It was just me and my
infant daughter. It was pretty spendy and fun. The camper could easily
hold 2 children and dogs contained a toilet stove microwave and fridge.
Presumably if youd only be using it to sleep in and not stuck in the rain
inside with all mentioned family members it would cheaper then a Rv.
My family of 4 just rented an RV and traveled to the Grand Canyon over the
Easter Break. We had a blast...really relaxing for everyone and a fun,
safe adventure. We rented our RV from CruiseAmerica and you can find out
all about them at www.CruiseAmerica.com. You pick it up out on 66th near
the Oakland Coliseum. We rented a 20' and got "upgraded" to a 24' which
was fine but I still would go smaller next time. They give you a terrific
book on all RV parks in the US so we would just figure out where we wanted
to stop, read a description and head that way. We never made reservations,
but I would recommend it for inside the Grand Canyon (we just got lucky).
The CruiseAmerica units are fully contained, clean, and well-maintained. We
only had full hook-ups one night and it never was a problem. Getting the
fridge to stay cold is a little tricky on just propane, but we figured out
the trick and the rest of our trip everything stayed cold. Inside the
Grand Canyon (South Rim), I would recommend Camp Mather which does not have
hook-ups but is much prettier than the camp with full RV hookups which is
more like a parking lot. I would also recommend that you pick up your RV
unit and then go home and load it because the RV does not come with ANY
kitchen utensils, blankets, pillows, or anything and while you can rent a
"Personal Package", they are expensive and not extensive at all...we just
brought all of our own which was more comfortable and easier.
this page was last updated: Oct 14, 2006
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network