How to RV With Babies on Board

RVing with children
••• RVing with babies, small children, and even older kids bring with it their own challenges on the road. Thomas Barwick/Taxi/Getty Images

RVing has always been an activity that is perfect for families and has been shown to increase family bonds and create lasting memories. It’s no wonder that many RVing parents like to introduce the world of RVing to their little ones early on. Doing anything with babies takes preparedness and patience, even more so when you bring an infant along on an RV road trip. Here is some of our advice on RVing with babies, along with some tips for baby proofing your rig before your adventure.

RVing with Babies on Board

Exceptional care needs to occur when securing a child while traveling in any vehicle and infants need even more care while traveling in an RV. If you are using a towable, you likely won’t need to change your car seat options in the tow vehicle, but you need to be careful when traveling with your child in a motorhome.​

Follow all rules you would follow when securing a child in an RV seat. Follow these guidelines when securing a child seat in a motorhome:

  • Ensuring the car seat is made for the place it is attached to
  • The car seat is never in the front seat of your motorhome
  • Never seating the car seat in a side facing seat
  • Making sure there are no loose objects that could harm your child in their seat
  • Making sure that the seat is bolted to the chassis and not the interior of the RV

You may need to invest in a different car set for your motorhome, so refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and the safety restrictions of your car seat for further details.

Babyproofing an RV

RVs are small enough without having an onboard nursery, but you need to find a secure area where your baby can sleep and explore when joining you on your RV adventures. Luckily, parents often give small children way more room than necessary, and many RV cabins will be large enough to accommodate an infant or young child.

You need to find a crib that is suitable for your RV’s interior, and luckily there are portable cribs that are designed for families on the go. Check measurements and dimensions for your crib space in the RV to make sure it will fit. Consider installing softer carpet in your RV for when your baby begins to crawl and walk. Block off areas you don’t want your baby to get into, such as the back room in a toy hauler.​

When you think about it, many RVs are already baby proofed for the road. Items, drawers, and fold outs need to be secure while on the road, and so they often come with security latches, soft sides and other features that parallel baby proofing. Take a thorough walk around the RV’s cabin to identify any dangerous areas, especially if the child is already walking and curious. Fill in the gaps with traditional baby proofing methods where necessary.​

Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst

We always encourage careful preparation while planning an RV trip and bringing a baby takes it to a whole new level. Make a specific list of everything your baby could need including backup bottles, diapers, formula, sheets and more. It is also helpful to detail your exact route and includes nearby pediatricians and or hospitals in case something goes wrong.

It may not even be a bad idea to bring along your current pediatrician’s information as well as any pertinent medical information should someone need quick access to them.

Pro Tip: Try to travel known routes instead of back roads. The chances you will need to pull over for any number of reasons increases when RVing with infants and children.

RV travel with a baby will usually add a deal of time on your journey. Plan for this. A two-hour trip could take three to four hours or a half day trip could take an entire day. If you expect this, you will be better prepared for delays with your travel plans. Flexibility is the key to traveling with children in general, no matter their age.

Pros and Cons of RVing with Babies

Pros of RVing with Babies

  • RVing is a fantastic way to create lasting memories, even if you children don’t remember them. There’s always pictures!
  • If you have family across the country, visiting them and taking breaks during long trips is much easier – and cheaper! Plus, they get to spend more time with your little one.

The biggest pro of RVing with a baby is the experience. RVing, especially for younger travelers, has opened a world of adventure and possibilities. RVing with babies has never been easier, and once you ensure you know what you’re getting into, even full-time RV travel with a newborn or older child is possible no matter the destination

Cons of RVing with Babies

  • You may need to invest in a bigger RV if your current model is too small to accommodate a new child and everything that comes with it.
  • If you need some alone time on your travels, you may not get it. Finding a babysitter or someone you can trust to watch your baby is easier said than done.
  • If your baby gets sick, you’ll need to visit an ER, which can be costly depending on the issue. Make sure you’ve checked how your insurance works out of state and while traveling to ensure you have the right coverage.

The biggest con of RVing with a baby is the costs involved in getting your RV ready for your adventures. This could mean anything from investing in a larger RV model to renovating the inside to accommodate for a child. RV space is limited, so adding a crib, storing a stroller, or even having enough space for diapers, formula, and more can be challenging.​​

Take the time to do a thorough inventory of the space in your RV and see what it can and can’t accommodate. From there, it’s a matter of deciding whether buying a larger RV is worth the cost or if you can make changes to the interior of your rig to make life more comfortable on the road for you and your child.

RVing with babies takes care, patience, and plenty of planning. If you plan, there is no reason that baby needs to stay home while you’re enjoying the open road. Using RV forums and talking to other RVing parents is a terrific way to get useful advice and helpful tips so both you and baby can have a great trip.