Keep little kids from falling out your RV’s front door

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Here are two great safety tips from our long-time reader and RVer George Bliss in Saskatchewan, Canada:

George wrote: I’d like to pass along these ideas to other RV Travel readers. From personal experience I found it necessary to incorporate two new safety measures:

One: With young/short grandchildren who want to enter the camper, I see them climbing the four steps to the door, pulling down on the screen door latch, then almost falling backwards to get the door open.

For their safety, I drilled a small hole in the screen door latch, hung a string from that hole down to a fob of any sort (in this case a plastic wrench) that will fit between the screen door and the outside door that they can grab, pull the latch down, and open the door without having to climb the steps first. Due diligence is required as the hanging string could be considered a strangulation hazard.

Two: After my 2-year-old grandson managed to open the screen door and fall out of the trailer (thankfully, he wasn’t hurt), I looked for various methods to latch, bolt or pin the screen door so it wouldn’t open accidentally again.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the most obvious. When the outside door is open, just move the grab handle in front of the screen door to prevent opening. It’s easy for an adult to open from inside or outside and no further worries about injuries. This of course is only necessary when small children are in the RV.
Great tips! Thanks, George!
##RVT904 ##RVDT1322
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Marilyn M
5 months ago

Swinging the bar in front of the door also works great for pets!

Mark B
5 months ago

I’d say “good ol’ American ingenuity”, except George is from the northern lands. Good tips, George.

Roy Ellithorpe
1 year ago

This has no bearing on the screen door, but I have long wondered why the manufacturers don’t put the outside door handles on 5th wheels at the bottom of the door, like they do on big trucks.

Drew
5 months ago
Reply to  Roy Ellithorpe

Good idea Roy.

BuzzElectric
1 year ago

My wife has MS and is unstable because of it. We put a large blown up beach ball in our class A stairwell to keep her from falling down into the well. It would also help keeping children from going out the door. We store it in the tub when not in the stairwell. Yes she has fallen into the tub. It was a bear to get her out because she isn’t strong enough to help much. If she falls on the ball in the stairwell I can at least roll her onto the floor.

Mark B
5 months ago
Reply to  BuzzElectric

Some RVs and boats have a hinged plank that covers the stairwell. This could be a DIY item. Even just setting a 1/2″ plank to fully cover stairwell, making sure it goes
completely from side to side, will give firm footing. Home Depot would cut to your dimension from a 2×4 or 4×4 piece of plywood. WIth a simple lag screw eyelet, you could tie a string on it, so you don’t need to bend over and pick up.

Option #1 for bathroom: using a wood (or metal) closet rod to span opening would probably help. Don’t expect it to be load bearing, as in an ADA handicap rail, It would be enough to keep somebody from tipping into the shower/tub. Use closet rod pole sockets. Mount about 30″ high. Easily lifted off for shower use and very inexpensive.

I would use adhesive (like Loctite Power Grab Tub Surround Interior Construction Adhesive) to secure pole holders; you may not find something substantial to drill into in an RV. Tape across the very bottom of pole rod holders, apply adhesive, then press and tape across holder completely, waiting 48 hrs for adhesive to dry.

Screwing into a hollow section you run the risk of cracking/damaging shower surround. However, if you want to mount pole holders with screws you might try piloting a smaller hole through surround and filling area behind rod holder with Bondo (if hollow). If not hollow, you would then know if there is actually a board behind that section of surround. If you can screw into wood or bondo, it would offer a little extra support, but I’d still glue the pole rod holders then screw to hold in place.

Option #2 for bathroom: using a 1/4″ plywood piece, cut to fit OUTSIDE the surround opening. This would rest on the floor, maybe go up about 34″, spanning the shower surround, where hopefully there is a natural lip outside the surround to lean the board against. Depending on toilet location, you may need to use a jig saw to cut this board to fit around pipes or platform in that area. A little more of a project, but it should do the trick. To finish, glue a vinyl shower wall covering on both sides. It’s called “Smooth White Wall Panel”. It’s 1/8″ thick and a 4×8 sheet is $15 at Lowe’s. It’s commonly used as a bathroom backsplash or surround. You could use a “1/2 in. x 10 ft. Vinyl J Bead” to cap all edges. $2.58 at Home Depot. Glue vinyl on. Glue JBead on. Wait 48 hrs to dry and apply velcro on the bottom and sides of your panel.

If you want to use a 3/8″ piece of plywood, then get “PLAS-TEX
1/16 in. x 48 in. x 96 in. White Polywall Plastic Panel” $21 at Home Depot. This will still fit J Beads 1/2″ size. These stores sometimes have different colors of vinyl panels, maybe even matching your tub/shower surround.