Travelling with a toddler ....

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Aussietraveller, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Aussietraveller

    Aussietraveller Read Only Funster

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    Hi all , my wife and I are planning a 6 month trip around Europe we have a 3 yr old, I am yet to buy a MH. I would love to hear from anybody that travels with toddlers and let me know how they have got by,my main concern is about fitting a child seat in the back as most MH I have seen (pictures on the net)only have lap belts in the back. We are leaving OZ in April and after catching up with family in the UK and buying a MH we will be off on our adventure.. Thank you
     
  2. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    I dont know what van you have been looking at or it's age but most vans have 3 point seatbelts.
    Have taken both our grandkids with us around Parts of Europe since they were less than a year old. Never had an issue with fitting a car seat...
     
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  3. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Most more modern vans will have 3 point seatbelts in the back, but not always on all seats and you do need to double check. Our 7 berth van, a 2006 model, has only 6 "travelling" seats which is not uncommon. We have 2 forward facing seats in the back with 3 point belts, and 2 rearward facing seats with 2 point lap belts only. Unless you're looking at vans older than 10-15 years you should be able to find one with 3 point belts in the back without too much trouble.

    One point to note is that the base cushions on motorhome seats are much softer than car seats and can compress more easily. As such, for our youngest who still needs a car seat, we put him on one of the seats with a 3 point belt that is next to the window - because of the cushion base being soft if he went on the seat next to the "corridor" the car seat could roll off the side of the seat when cornering. I'm not the only one who's found this.

    Another option of course is for your young one to go on the cab seat. There's no real problem with this, child seats fit fine - we all tend to assume kids should go in the back but actually it can be easier to have them sat in the front and they're perfectly safe. Airbags are only a concern with very young children in rear facing child seats - with front facing child seats just put the van seat back as far as possible. My kids take turns with my wife to sit in the cab - the kids love having a ride in the front.

    It also keeps the child seat out of the way when you arrive on site - taking the child seat on and off one of the rear seats when you stop is a chore, we usually end up putting it on the passenger seat in the cab when we're on site anyway, just for somewhere to store it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
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  4. Aussietraveller

    Aussietraveller Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for the comments, I didn't realise you could put a kiddie seat in the front as here in Oz it's illegal till a child is about 7 before they can get in the fronthe. Also we were planning doing as much wildcamping as possible how do you think we will go keeping the little one entertained or will it be camp grounds?
     
  5. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Not sure about mainland Europe, but in the UK the law is that children must be in a suitable child seat until they are 135cm tall or reach 12 years old, but they can travel in the front or the back. Rear facing child seats must not be used in any seat with an active airbag.

    The cab seat in a c-class coachbuilt motorhome is arguably safer than the rear - with the more solid steel cab structure around them, rather than the flimsier habitation part.

    Keeping kids entertained - always a big part of enjoying camping! To be honest wildcamping doesn't really appeal too much to me with kids. We've got 3 kids, now aged 5, 9 and 10. We only got the motorhome last year, prior to that we had a trailer tent and went camping, at campsites.

    I prefer to be in the middle of nowhere, on an isolated campsite - bliss to me is a big field, nice views, and not a soul to be seen. This is great with young kids as there is normally space for them to run around and play football and fly kites and so on, without us having to worry about their every move. Wildcamping could be OK but will you always have that space to do the outside activities, and will you be constantly worrying if there is traffic or water anywhere nearby? It's always amazing how quickly kids can disappear when your back is turned for a second! Personally, unless you found exactly the right spot, wildcamping with a 3 year old would stress me out trying to keep track of their every move. Mind you, 1 is a lot easier to keep track of than 3!

    My older kids prefer larger campsites now - more opportunities to make friends, and there's often a small playground which serves as a meeting point. So we tend to do both, more isolated and *slightly* more commercial sites. Nothing too big though, I draw the line at anywhere with swimming pools or bars/entertainment! Wildcamping sounds great when the kids are older or it's just me & t'other half.

    Keeping kids entertained - books, board games and toy cars etc are a must for any wet days, and we have umpteen travelling games that we play - I think all the kids knew every make of car by the age of 3! On site, on a dry day, we've never had any problems - bike rides are great, I'd be tempted to get a kids bike over here to take with you. Football, hide and seek, frisbee, skipping, just all the usual kids games really, but we do tend to go out somewhere every day. If there are other kids around we find that all ages tend to mix in well together, the big ones like playing with the little ones.
     
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