Childproof Your Van for Family Trips in 7 Steps

If you hire or buy a van for business purposes and subsequently wish to use it for extended family trips, you’ll need to modify or ‘childproof’ it first. In this guide, we take you step by step through the whole process to ensure that nothing important is overlooked. Almost any type of van with enough interior space is a good candidate for this treatment, assuming it is mechanically and structurally sound.

Transform Your Van into a Family Conveyance in 7 Simple Steps

If you follow all the steps below, you can transform your work van into a family-friendly vehicle that is perfect for touring the country.

  1. Add Insulation – If you want to use your van in all weather conditions, it is a good idea to add insulation before doing anything else. To insulate a van, you need to strip the interior first, hence the recommendation to do it before you install any new seating or equipment. You will need thermal insulation boards to fill the larger cavities in the van walls, rolls of wool insulation for smaller cavities and a good-quality vapour barrier to ensure that condensation does not reach the insulation. If you are only planning to use your van in fine weather conditions and never for overnight trips, you can safely skip this step and possibly the next one as well.
  2. Acquire a Heater – This is especially important if you are planning to use your van not just for shopping expeditions and day trips to local attractions but for longer road trips too. Diesel air heaters can be installed in larger vans, while electric fan heaters are ideal for smaller vehicles. If you choose a diesel air heater, please hire a professional to install it unless you have plenty of experience and confident in your abilities. If you decide that an electric fan heater is the best choice for your van, there will be no need to pay a professional to install it. Electric fan heaters designed for vans can be plugged straight into the cigarette lighter or USB socket.
  3. Install Child Seats if Age Appropriate – If you have children under 12 years of age and under 135 cm tall in your family, you will need to install a car seat in your van for each one. Car seats are required by law for all such children travelling in vehicles on public highways in the UK and offer an extra level of safety. All car seats should be included in your interior plans to make sure that lack of space does not become an issue. After the seats are installed, there are a few more tasks that need to be completed, including the creation of a play area, so it’s important to keep track of available space throughout the transformation process.
  4. Create a Play Area – Whilst there is no need to include this step in your plans for safety reasons, it is one we recommend including if you plan to use your van for anything more than 10-minute drives to the local shops. Children tend to get very bored on longer trips, no matter how comfortable the vehicle they are travelling in may be. By creating a safe and interesting play area in your van, you can make long road trips less stressful for the whole family. It is up to you whether you create your play area using cushions, bolsters and pillows or through more substantial means. As long as it is safe and secure, your children will appreciate it.
  5. Install Adequate Beds – You don’t need a king-size mattress for every member of the family, but you will need enough sleeping space for everyone to stretch out and rest at night. Even if you are only planning to use your van for day trips, it is a good idea to install beds if you have the space and budget. Children often become tired with little warning, and younger children are especially prone to this behaviour. Having a bed available for them to lie down in is invaluable at such times. Owners of larger work vans should have plenty of space to install beds for every family member; owners of smaller vans may wish to install beds for their children first and see how much space remains afterwards.
  6. Remove All Tools and Clean Thoroughly – Once you have completed all of the above steps, it is time to remove the tools you used and clean the interior of your van thoroughly. While this may seem like an obvious step that does not need to be included in our instructions, it’s so important that we felt we could not leave it out. If you leave just one tool in your van by mistake or fail to clean just one corner, your oversight could have serious implications for the safety of your children travelling with you. If you don’t have the time or patience for this step, consider paying for a professional valet service instead.
  7. Stock with Toys, Bedding, Snacks and Drinks – Make sure your van is always ready for family trips by stocking it with toys, bedding, snacks and drinks. If you prefer cold drinks, include a thermos in your list of essentials to bring aboard or consider investing in a small fridge that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter or USB socket. If you decide on the latter course of action, be aware that the fridge can deplete your battery if left running for any time with the engine switched off. For snacks, focus on less perishable treats such as crisps, chocolate bars and sweets. For healthier alternatives, consider trail bars, cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit.

If your van is not mechanically and structurally sound, take a look at our used van finance deals and see if you can acquire a more suitable vehicle for work and leisure purposes. We have already helped many people purchase quality used vans in the UK and look forward to helping many more in the future.