You may have a car, but other types of vehicle are becoming increasingly more popular. It is not unusual in times like these for the same vehicle to be both for professional activities and at the same time for private use. This is the case with vans.
Therefore, the same van used on workdays for loading crates, glass, building materials, etc. at the weekend becomes the perfect means of transport for the whole family, especially for your children.
If you want to spend an unforgettable weekend, a van enables you to take bicycles, strollers and anything else you need for the children to enjoy themselves without the slightest problem.
But what about the children? How do you take them in a van?
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Before going into child safety appliances for transporting minors, we need to look at the law, which was changed quite recently by the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT).
Specifically, changes came into force on October 1, 2015, which state that children 1.35 meters tall or less should travel in the rear seats of the vehicle.
This means that they cannot travel in the front seats unless all the back seats are occupied by other children.
Where non-compliance with this law is detected, the authorities may immobilize the vehicle and fine the driver 200 Euros.
But this law has its exceptions. These are that children may travel in the front seat:
- when the vehicle does not have rear seats (the case for two-seaters and vans).
- When all the back seats are totally occupied by other children who are 1.35 meters tall or less.
- When it is not possible to install the appropriate child restraint systems in the back seats.
This means that if you have a van, which only has front seats, since the rear part is set up for goods, children have no choice but to sit up front.
Right, taking into account the basic matter of where to put the child car seat, we shall take a look at this and examine some accessories which enable children to travel in a van in the best possible way.
SAFETY SYSTEMS AND ACCESSORIES
By far the best system is the child car seat and you should choose one that is specifically approved for the anchorages available in your van.
The best ally for your seat, and for you, since it is quick and easy to install, is the Isofix system. The great majority of seats already include in their structure all that is needed to be compatible with this system. In this article we give you a detailed explanation of all that this restraint system involves. Nowadays, the majority of vans already have this in the back seats as standard.
There are also other accessories which can improve a child's safety in the van, even when it is not moving. Taking into account the possibilities which the van's space can provide, you may have installed an extra bed. In that case, a safety net is essential, and it is so easy to install: The upper part is attached to the roof with two straps and the lower part is attached to the bed frame itself.
In this case, if anything is loaded onto the bed it should be firmly secured. This is mandatory. The Spanish Traffic Code governing the placement and dimensions of the load contemplates fines which include one which is classified as severe: "To drive a vehicle with a load which may be blown away, totally or partially fall, move about dangerously or endanger the stability of the vehicle, without disposing of the required accessories to guarantee the appropriate protection or conditioning for the transported load. The owner or driver of the vehicle is responsible and an infraction carries a fine of 200 Euros (According to Art. 65.f of the Spanish Road Traffic Safety Law)"
An example of this would be not correctly securing the objects transported, such as bicycles, snowboards or skis for snow or water skiing, with the corresponding risk and danger for other road users. In the case of a van where there is no separation between the driver's cabin and the rear of the vehicle, possibly so that seats can installed, you are advised to separate the two areas with a grille. You should do everything to avoid transporting an unsecured object that could fly off after heavy braking or an impact.
Finally, always remember that if you put the child in the front seat in a child seat facing backward you must deactivate the corresponding airbags. We recommend you read the following articles: "Advantages for our children always to travel facing backward" and "How should children travel in the front seat".