As of 2022, there were 11.2 million RV owners in America, a figure that has risen by 25% over the last decade. The covid-19 pandemic brought about a revitalized boom for the RV industry, with an additional 30% boost in RV ownership since 2020.
Many people who own RVs are families looking to have an exciting adventure at any time of the year. Naysayers will advise not to bring along babies or toddlers on an RV trip — that they are too young or too hands-on to fully enjoy nature without you worrying too often.
However, bringing small babies and toddlers along on your trip is not only great for themselves but wonderful for family bonding as well. Exposing children to nature while they are still young can foster a life-long love of the outdoors and create good environmental stewards in the future.
Let’s explore how to bring along small babies and toddlers on your next RV trip, including what types of activities are best for younger children and special considerations when traveling with babies.
Is My Baby Too Young to Go RVing?
No! As long as you have a healthy, non-medically compromised baby or infant, they can join you on your RV adventure and experience the outdoors just like you. Babies and toddlers, unlike older children, do require more items in their day-to-day care. You should consider the amount of space you have available for larger baby items like gates, high chairs and sleeping areas.
As long as you feel comfortable and equipped to handle your infant or toddler in an RV during a camping trip, they can join you. While no state or federal laws prohibit your infant or toddler from riding in an RV, you will want to ensure that you have the proper car seat for your child during the driving times.
What Type of RV Is Best for Babies and Toddlers?
If you don’t already have an RV but are thinking of purchasing one, consider your family’s needs before making a decision. Babies and toddlers need more sleep than older kids and adults. Sometimes sleeping in areas other than their cribs can cause disruptions in their habits, leading to mid-day meltdowns.
You can counteract this by choosing an RV with a separate sleeping room or slide-outs to give additional quiet space for sleeping infants. Be sure that whatever RV model you choose has plenty of storage space. Babies and toddlers come with a lot of stuff, and having additional storage will make a huge difference for everyone’s comfort.
Baby Proofing Your RV
Just like at your home, if you have babies or toddlers, you will want to baby-proof your RV. This means covering electrical sockets, using baby gates if your RV has stairs, installing door locks high up and locking cabinets containing dangerous items.
Use toilet locks to ensure nothing gets thrown in the tank, purchase oven knob covers for curious kids who want to learn how everything works and be sure you can safely install a car seat.
But don’t stop there. Get on your hands and knees and crawl throughout the entire RV. Look for anything that is unlocked or dangerous. Remember that even if you think your baby can’t or won’t touch something, they can and will.
Sleeping in an RV With Babies and Toddlers
One thing that parents never seem to get enough of, whether at home or in an RV, is sleep. Likewise, young babies and toddlers who are sleeping in new or different areas sometimes have issues falling and staying asleep.
Let babies and toddlers have their sleeping area, away from everyone — one that is quiet and dark enough to let them nap or sleep through the night. Using a pack-n’-play or bassinet with familiar sheets and blankets is a great way to achieve this for your baby.
If your baby or toddler sleeps with a fan or sound machine at home, be sure to bring it, or some type of replacement for it, in the RV to mimic the same home setup you have. This will also help to minimize disruption in their sleeping routine.
Should I Bring Toys for My Baby or Toddler in an RV?
One of the things that parents stress over when bringing their baby or toddler on an RV trip is finding things for them to do. While you should bring appropriate infant toys for babies, you may not need as many for a toddler.
Many parents of toddlers make the mistake of bringing too many things for their young children to do, forgetting that nature has plenty of things to explore and play with. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn how long your toddler can have fun with a bucket and the rocks they find on the ground.
Setting Up and Taking Down RVs With Babies and Toddlers
RVing with babies and toddlers can be easy, provided their needs are met and they get good sleep. However, when you arrive at your campsite, setting up and taking down your RV can be a challenge if you have young children.
You can successfully set up and take down your RV, even with babies and toddlers in tow, when you’re armed with a simple plan and a lot of snacks. Bring along a baby carrier if you have an infant. Wearing your baby as you set up and take down your RV will allow you to work hands-free while keeping your infant safe from harm.
If you have a small toddler, setting them up with a snack tray before prepping your RV will help keep them out of the way and occupied while you’re working. The same goes for breaking down your RV when you’re ready to leave. One pro tip from a parent with young children is to pull out special snacks reserved just for these times to capture and hold their attention even longer.
If you don’t have special snacks or your toddler isn’t hungry, you can always buckle them into their car seat while setting up or taking down your RV. This ensures maximum safety while you’re working.
Learn More About RVing With Babies and Toddlers at BookOutdoors.com!
RVing with babies and toddlers can be a wonderful experience that you shouldn’t shy away from. Once you get the hang of it, you can streamline the process to make your entire trip go smoothly. Just remember, your kiddos will only be this small once, so enjoy it while you can! BookOutdoors can help make your family trip one you won’t forget.