The Dangers of Living in an RV: 9 Potential Health and Safety Hazards

Living in an RV seems like an exciting way to travel and explore. You can wake up in a new scenic location every day. But is it safe to live in an RV? Well, there are certainly dangers of living in an RV and camper that people may not think about.

We’ll take a look at some of the dangers, including potential health issues and security concerns. We’ll also give suggestions, so you know how to navigate them safely. 

Dangers of Living In an RV: Health and Safety Concerns

The RV life seems to offer an escape from all the headaches of traditional homeownership. No more mortgages, yardwork, or household chores taking up your weekends. But hold on, there are some dangers of living in an RV that you should know about before making such a big change.

Are RVs safe? Absolutely. Many RVers stay safe living on the road for years. Are RVs dangerous? No. When taken care of properly, RVs can make very comfortable homes. Still, certain health and safety issues can come up when living in a motor vehicle.

1. Sitting Disease

No, I’m not making that up. Sitting disease poses a risk associated with RVs. Whether driving between destinations or relaxing in a camper chair, it’s all too easy for full-time RVers to sit for long stretches at a time. But excessive sitting can seriously impact your health.

The disease refers to the 34 chronic conditions linked to physical inactivity. Prolonged sitting slows metabolism and increases risks for diabetes, heart disease, and depression. 

As we get older, it also gets harder on the body to stay active. But making an effort to move around more in an RV is important to avoid issues from sitting disease. Even simple tasks like standing while talking on the phone or taking short walks during stops can make a difference. 

2. Neglected Health Care

One of the dangers of living in an RV is neglecting regular health care. When you’re constantly moving from place to place, it’s all too easy to put off routine doctor’s visits and dental checkups. But neglecting your health can have serious consequences over time.

Minor issues may not seem like a big deal at first, but they have more opportunity to escalate. You should visit local doctors for checkups and find trusted medics near RV parks. 

3. Wildlife Threats

Part of the charm of RVing is getting close to the wildlife. However, wildlife can also pose some threats that are important to be aware of. Different regions are home to different types of animals, so you should research what kinds of creatures might be in the areas you plan to visit.

Ticks and biting insects can be prevented with screens and netting. Larger animals like bears, snakes, and coyotes can become a threat sometimes. Bears especially tend to become bold if they can get easy access to human food. Always securely store food and scented items, and follow proper handling of trash. 

4. Unknown Water Quality

When you’re traveling across different regions, the quality of water sources is often unknown. Chromium, radon, lead, and undesirable pharmaceuticals could potentially seep into water supplies. 

Is RVing safe if consuming water without treatment? Absolutely not. That’s why you should invest in a reverse osmosis system. It can efficiently remove contaminants, making water from any location safer. 

5. RV Fire Hazards

Fires can start easily and spread quickly in RVs due to the materials used and open floor plans. You must take proper precautions to avoid disasters.

i. Kitchen Fires 

Many RV kitchen fires begin with unattended cooking, faulty appliances, or grease buildups. It’s best to stay attentive when using the stove or oven and clean grease regularly. 

Cigarettes and candles also pose dangers if left unattended. You should have fire extinguishers easily accessible and working smoke alarms.

ii. Battery Fires

Vibrations from driving can cause poorly secured batteries to short circuit. Using a sturdy battery organizer and thoroughly securing batteries can prevent this. 

iii. Campfires and Grills

Cooking outside adds enjoyment but embers can easily ignite nearby vegetation or the RV itself. 

Always establish fire pits away from flammable surfaces and never leave flames unattended, day or night. 

Propane and electric grills also need monitoring in case of malfunctions.

iv. Heaters and Other Appliances

Take care with heaters, appliances and their wiring. High wattage space heaters in particular can overheat insulation and cause blazes. 

Inspect all RV electrical regularly to catch potential problems early. 

6. Humidity and Molding

Things like cooking, showering, and having several people inside increase the moisture level in an RV. This extra water vapor in the air leads to a big problem—mold growth. 

Mold can cause lots of issues for your health. Respiratory problems and allergic reactions are common from mold spores. 

Always open windows while cooking or showering to push the water vapor outside. Using a dehumidifier can also help control moisture indoors to prevent mold from developing.

7. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Buildup

One of the biggest dangers of living in an RV is the concern of carbon monoxide buildup. Because RVs have smaller living spaces compared to homes, a small leak or unsafe appliance can quickly raise the CO to a deadly level.

Each year, hundreds of Americans die from accidental CO poisoning, with thousands more getting seriously ill. And RV dwellers may be at even higher risk since it can be tough to detect a leak early on. 

You should have functioning CO detectors in your RV to warn you if levels start getting concerning.

8. Propane Leaks or Explosions

Propane is used for plenty of things in an RV, like cooking and heating. But if the propane system isn’t taken care of, it can cause real problems. 

You have to check things like the propane tanks, lines, appliances, and connections regularly for any issues. Loose fittings or corrosion could lead to dangerous leaks.

A small leak isn’t good and could catch fire, while a large leak may cause an explosion. You must get the problems fixed right away by a professional. 

9. Theft and Break-Ins

RVs are mobile homes, meaning they can be easily targeted by thieves. So, you always have to take extra precautions. 

Always lock your doors securely before leaving your RV unattended. Park in well-lit busy areas whenever possible. Consider installing additional security features like window alarms. And make sure to have insurance in case the worst happens. 

Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson is a seasoned RV traveler and professional mountain biker with a great sense of humor. After earning a Master's degree in Automotive Engineering from Columbia University, Scott spent years working as an RV technician at Camping World and Outdoorsy. Today, he enjoys exploring the US in his fifth wheel and truck with his wife. With over 15 years of RV living and road tripping experience, Scott now shares his knowledge and expertise as a travel blogger, helping others make the most of their RV adventures.

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