If you are thinking of taking your kids to an RV adventure, you may wonder if it’s legal to live in an RV with a child.
To answer your question, yes, it’s legal, but there are some do’s and don’ts you have to follow.
To legally live in your RV with kids, you must ensure few basic requirements such as their safety, education, and health aspects. You will stay out of trouble if you follow all the necessary terms.
To help you out, I have discussed some deadlines below that you should consider beforehand while planning a trip with your kids.
The first point is pretty basic, and it’s not just related to RVs. You should always check if your children are seated and properly buckled. It’s not safe to roam inside your moving RV, even for you. It’s better to make your kids understand the safety concerns as well.
The RV industry association has different laws and regulations for every state about child restraints and seat belts usage in RVs. If you don’t already know, a child restraint system is a special arrangement designed to keep your kids safe while traveling in an RV.
So yes, every state has different laws when it comes to children’s safety.
In Alabama, it’s a must to have a rear face child restraint system in your RV if your kids are not one year old yet. And even if they are above one but weigh less than 20 pounds, this system is again necessary for safety.
Your kids can sit on the forward-facing car seat if they are younger than five years and have a weight of 40 pounds. As for the booster seats, they are for children less than six years. The seat belt is necessary for anyone under 15 years.
Child safety restraint is compulsory for kids under four years. And seat belts are again necessary for kids between 4-16 years.
They can also use the restraint system instead of the seat belts.
Kids younger than six years and weighing below 60 pounds must have a child safety restraint. Seat belts are applicable for children under 15 years.
The weight factor should not be ignored, even if your child is older than 15 years. If he/she doesn’t weigh more than 60 pounds, then it’s illegal to travel without wearing a seat belt.
The front seat having the active passenger airbag is not legal for kids in California. Make sure to keep your kids away from it for safety.
A rear-facing child seat is allowed for kids younger than one or weighing around 20 pounds. Moreover, kids less than six years or 60 pounds must have a child safety restraint in the rear seats.
Child safety restraint is mandatory for kids under eight years. Seat belts or child restraint systems must be used for kids between 8-18 years.
Rear-facing child safety restraint is compulsory for kids who aren’t one yet. A child safety restraint is a must for kids between 1-4 or if they weigh around 40 pounds.
However, you can use booster seats or child safety restraint systems for kids less than 60 pounds (regardless of age) or aging between 5-16 (regardless of weight).
You also have an option to use seat belts if your kids are above six. Keep in mind that seat belts are necessary until you are 18 in New Mexico.
In Mississippi, you have to use child safety restraint systems for kids below four. If they are above 4, make sure they are wearing the seat belts. The maximum age to wear seat belts is eight years old.
However, every passenger should wear a seatbelt no matter what, to reduce the risk of getting injured if there’s an accident.
So I only mentioned some of the states here, but you should study the RV laws of every state you plan to visit.
If you are living and traveling in an RV, a kid’s education is the biggest challenge. Regular schooling is compulsory in most states until your child is 16. There are multiple options for your child to get an education on the road.
Here are some of the options you can consider:
You can get your child enrolled in the public school system. They are mostly free of cost, so you won’t have to pay huge fees monthly.
While this is an economical option, it’s not very convenient. Why? The public school system enrolls students who live near the school. Therefore, it is the biggest issue for families living in an RV.
Moreover, you have to make sure your kids stay punctual as there are strict laws related to attendance. So if you are planning to consider this option, you need to keep these points in mind.
Along with the child’s complete school record, you will also need to have a primary doctor for your kid.
Homeschooling is another option available for families living in an RV. To make it work, you should have a good plan and understanding with your spouse. But there are no limitations, of course. A single parent can be the best at homeschooling as well.
This option is feasible because you don’t have to be a certified teacher to teach your kids, and there is no hassle of following a particular routine. However, it’s recommended to have a proper time table so your kids can learn discipline.
But when you live in an RV, sometimes things do get unpredictable, so you have the upper hand here on how you want to manage things.
Mostly the government sponsors homeschooling programs and delivers requisite material at the start of each term. To avail the perks, you first have to file a request for homeschooling your child.
Since you are solely responsible for your child’s education, you have to keep progress reports and records of grades. At the end of each term, this information helps judge if your child is getting a proper education.
I think homeschooling is one of the best choices since it doesn’t restrict your freedom of traveling in an RV. You don’t have to wait for the semester to end.
But this freedom can be counterproductive for your child due to less interaction with other kids. You can tackle this issue by planning different socializing activities. Homeschooling can work if you are really passionate about it.
If you are not comfortable with homeschooling, you may want to try online schooling. It’s another popular program for families living in an RV. Your child needs to attend daily online classes and tests.
However, this will only work if you have a stable internet connection. While traveling and enjoying life on the road, this is not always possible. But if you can manage it, you will be satisfied with your child’s progress.
Your kids will love their new lifestyle full of adventure. To ensure a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to take your kids for a proper medical check-up at least once a year. This is not really an issue because you will find medical facilities at most of the places.
But it’s better to stick to the same doctor for annual check-ups unless there is an emergency. In that case, you can also refer to online doctors.
Kids will get disturbed if you keep on changing doctors or even schools. This is why it is important to plan everything before and act accordingly. Make sure your kids have a stable life.
If it’s just a one-time thing, then there is no harm in bending the rules. But if you plan to live in an RV for a long time, you should give your kids their personal space and help them develop social skills.
RVing with kids can get hectic, but if you follow all the laws and take the necessary steps, you will have a tension-free journey. No matter where you are, you have to prioritize your child’s education, safety, and health.
I discussed some state laws, education options, and ways to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. You will have a good time with your kids if you do everything right.