Which caravan is best for your family? What you need to know about child-safe features
When it comes to choosing a family caravan, size does matter. When small caravans may not be suitable, compact GRP caravans, on the other hand, might be — particularly for one-child families. Additionally, pop-top caravans can accommodate up to four people, and folding caravans are also worth considering: they are easier to tow because of their low height when collapsed.
Conventional caravans, however, are the popular choice amongst the UK population, and there is plenty of choice available from several manufacturers, such as Bailey, Elddis, and Lunar. These caravans usually accommodate between two and six people, so a three to six berth caravan would be ideal for most families. Although some smaller families may prefer the additional space that a six berth caravan offers, larger families can still buy a relatively small caravan: fitting an awning makes extra sleeping accommodation/leisure space possible.
It’s worth noting that many conventional caravans only have one axle, but it’s also possible to buy twin axle caravans. The extra wheels offer better stability, making towing easier. However, they are heavier than their single axle equivalents, and may not offer any additional space.
What features make a caravan child-friendly?
When choosing your caravan, think about the interior layout, because it will determine the sleeping arrangements: you may be interested in purchasing a caravan with bunk beds, for instance. Commonly found in larger caravans, bunk beds make efficient use of space, and are exciting for children. In the interests of safety, the top bunk should not be used for playing games, and if possible, a barrier should be fitted.
A twin dinette arrangement, however, allows some versatility. A dinette consists of two facing seats with a table in the middle, which can be lowered so that the whole dinette forms a bed base. With two dinettes in the caravan, one can function as a dining table and the other can serve as a play area. At night, one dinette can become a children’s sleeping area.
Safety is a big concern when you’re caravanning with children, so make sure that your caravan has a smoke alarm. Some models feature smoke alarms as standard, as well as carbon monoxide detectors. If your caravan doesn’t have them, it is advisable to fit them. You may also wish to take a small fire extinguisher with you, as well as a fire blanket, in the event that a kitchen fire occurs. Make yourself familiar with how your firefighting equipment works and have an exit strategy planned too.
An awning is a useful addition to a family caravan. There are three kinds: canopy, porch, and full. A canopy awning offers shade, enabling parents to sit in deckchairs and keep an eye on their children while they play outside. A porch awning serves as a place to take off boots and waterproofs, so that the caravan’s interior stays clean. A full awning adds considerably more space to the caravan, so it can be used as a play area, a dining area, or extra sleeping accommodation.
Insuring your caravan
Although caravan insurance is not a legal requirement, it makes sense to protect such a valuable purchase. With Club Care’s caravan policy, your caravan is covered against damage and theft. Awnings are also covered, as are your family’s contents and personal effects.
Having insurance doesn’t mean that you can leave your caravan unlocked when you go out for the day, though. If it isn’t secured, and the caravan or any contents within are damaged or stolen, you will not be covered — don’t allow your family holiday to be spoiled. Check that the door and the windows are locked before you go sightseeing. Also, when you make stops while towing, even if it’s just to use a motorway service station, secure your caravan to your car with a hitch lock.
Why not further protect your caravan with additional security measures? With an approved wheel lock, such as the AL-KO Secure Wheel Lock, you can knock up to a fifth off your premium. The wheel lock acts as an effective deterrent to thieves, and it — or its receiver — may be available as a standard feature on caravans. For instance, the Compass Rallye 530 has the AL-KO Diamond Standard lock, and the Lunar Quasar 646 has the receiver.
Does your caravan have a proactive tracking device? If so, you could get a further 20% off your premium. Is there a factory-fitted alarm? If so, you could get another discount of up to 5%.
To find out more about getting the right policy for your family caravan, contact Club Care Insurance today.