Whenever young children travel in a vehicle, they must be secured in an age-appropriate child seat.
Camper vans can be a great way for families to travel, but parents will want to know that their children are safe in case of an accident.
How to Tell if Your Campervan Meets Isofix Standards:
Isofix (also called LATCH in the United States) is an international standard for attachment points for child safety seats that require anchors to be built into vehicles, enabling child seats to be quickly and safely secured. Your camper should come with this as an added feature.
Do All Camper Vans Have Isofix?
These days, all new cars, minivans, and pick-up trucks weighing less than 8,500 lbs must have Isofix.
Lower anchors for child restraints have to be present in the crack between the seat back and seat cushion at specific seating points.
Requirements, according to carseat.org, state that the anchors must be two rigid bars that are at least 6mm in diameter and between 25 and 50 mm long.
Because most camper vans fall outside of this weight requirement, many don’t have Isofix installed.
These Camper Vans Have Isofix:
1. Ford Nugget:
This awesome little camper is built on a Ford Transit chassis by Westfalia.
It’s a perfect family camper that features a kitchen, outdoor shower, and 2 double beds available in a high-roof or pop-top.
The Nugget is only available in Europe, but that could change soon.
2. Mercedes Marco Polo:
Based on the Mercedes V-Class, the Marco Polo camper is a little slice of luxury perfect for small families.
The pop-top means this camper sleeps up to 4 in comfort.
3. VW California:
The VW California is another camper van that’s only available in Europe.
Based on the older VW vans, California is a fully updated family-friendly camper.
The largest model even comes with a toilet and shower.
4. Hymer Activ 2.0:
Although the Hymer Activ 2.0 is no longer being produced, plenty of these luxurious European-designed campers are still available on the used market.
There’s a kitchen, bathroom, and space to sleep 4.
5. Winnebago Travato:
The Travato is one of the most popular camper vans in North America, thanks to Winnebago’s sleek design.
This is a great option for small families who want to hit the road in style and comfort.
What Year Did Isofix Get Introduced?
Isofix was developed jointly by child seat maker Britax-Romer, and VW and was first introduced into vehicles in 1997.
Top tether strap anchors were available in most passenger vehicles by the model year 2000 and were required by the next model year.
Lower anchors were required as of September 1, 2002, meaning that all cars from 2003 have Isofix.
Can You Mount Baby Seats In All Camper vans?
If you need to install a baby seat in your vehicle, you’ll need a camper van with a suitable seating arrangement.
Many camper vans are designed for only 2 people, so they aren’t suitable for baby seats. Other camper vans have side-facing seating in the rear, which is considered an unsafe option for installing a baby seat.
If a camper van has forward-facing rear seats with either Isofix or 3-point seat belts, it’s safe enough to install any child safety seat.
Do VW Campervans Have Isofix?
You can be sure that the classic VW camper vans still in use don’t have Isofix installed because they were all produced many years before Isofix was developed.
Even the 2003 VW Eurovan campers don’t have Isofix installed because that model year ceased production before September 1, 2002, meaning these camper vans were exempt from installing Isofix.
Modern VW California campervans are a great option for families with young children, as they have Isofix.
These campervans aren’t available for purchase in the United States, though.
How Do You Check If A Camper van Has Isofix?
The first step in determining whether or not a camper van has Isofix is to consult the owner’s manual.
You should find all the information you need about where anchor points are located and how to access them.
Isofix anchors are located in-between the seat back and the seating cushion and are usually marked with an Isofix or LATCH symbol.
The anchors should be fairly easy to find by feeling around between the seat cushions with your fingers.
What Are The Alternatives To Isofix?
If a camper van doesn’t have Isofix, the only way to secure your child safe is to use a 3-point seat belt in conjunction with your child safety seat.
As we mentioned earlier, this is only considered to be safe on a forward-facing seat.
Most child safety seats can use the seat belt without anchors, although some rear-facing seats require an upper anchor.
It’s important to remember that installing a child safety seat on a rear seat that only has a lap belt could be very dangerous if an accident were to occur.
If a camper van doesn’t have Isofix, a 3-point seatbelt is the only safe alternative.
Can You Install Isofix Yourself In A Camper van?
As long as your camper van has forward-facing rear seats that are attached to the body of the vehicle and not just bolted to the floor, it’s possible to install anchors yourself that can be used with your child seat tethers.
If you plan on adding anchors to your camper van, remember to check for fuel lines, brake lines, and electrical wires that might be on the other side of the vehicle’s metal plating.
You can use anything that you feel would be safe enough for the anchors, but if you want to adhere to Isofix guidelines, the anchors will need to be 6mm in diameter, 25-50mm long, and have a center-to-center distance of 280mm apart.
How Important Is Isofix And Is It Necessary?
Although child-safety car seats can be installed using 3-point seatbelts, Isofix is universally regarded as a superior and safer method for securing children in vehicles.
It’s all too common for child-safety seats installed using only a seatbelt to move around and create a potentially dangerous situation should an accident occur.
This is usually due to child seats that haven’t been installed correctly.
Isofix is a highly effective safety system because it’s so easy to use. Once the child seat has been attached to the anchors, it is much less likely to move dangerously in a collision.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.