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Need extra space - but worried about the safety aspect

(21 Posts)
HelloOutThere Thu 27-Sep-12 13:14:44

Hi there, dds need extra space - extension not possible. Have been looking at log cabins but then thought of a caravan that I can put on the drive outside and have the electrics coming from the house. Will only be used to sleep/do homework in so not for toilet or cooking.

DD is 14 and would sleep there with obvs locks on doors and windows.

Is it something you have done/would do/ wouldn't do in a million years? Thoughts please smile

Bongaloo Thu 27-Sep-12 13:22:50

Will boyfriends be allowed in it?
It's just I remember childhood friend's family with caravan on drive.
She won't be 14 forever.

How would it be heated?

stayathomegardener Thu 27-Sep-12 13:38:51

We have a Gypsy caravan in the garden, DD moved into it over the summer holidays when she was 12,took some getting used to as the house seemed so silent and we had to make the decision of if we should leave the house unlocked as we would do if she was camping out with friends but on a long term basis-We locked her out after a few days with a key but it still felt odd.Used to panic if the dog started barking at foxes though

First few frosts in October brought her back inside as was no electrics -was most strange seeing her emerge in her uniform in the morning.

How accessable from the road would the caravan be? Do you have a dog to alert you to anyone around?

stayathomegardener Thu 27-Sep-12 13:39:29

I should say she LOVED it!

HelloOutThere Thu 27-Sep-12 14:12:33

I would have to put an elec heater in there.
It would be accessible from road, that's my main worry - though i suppose it is under a street light pretty much so that's a safety aspect in one way. Sadly no dog - only 2 mad catssmile

GnomeoNameo Thu 27-Sep-12 16:27:15

As long as she is okay with it (not scared at all at being slightly isolated from you and the rest of the family or vulnerable), and there are rules about lights out (not easy to police bedtime if you have to keep padding out there) and visitors not staying late. She will probably need a thermostatic heater (with safety breaker) when it gets cool, or the chance to come back indoors for winter months. This spring son (20) moved out into a cabin which we have erected inside the double garage, insulated and lined and double-glazed, lockable, with electrics and wired internet, but we did consider the caravan option first. He has to have a key anyway to access the house in the night if he needs the loo.

dexter73 Thu 27-Sep-12 16:34:14

I wouldn't do it. Once her friends know she is in there they will be knocking on her door at all times of the night.

lljkk Thu 27-Sep-12 16:40:19

I think you'll find heating is the biggest problem; along with damp & condensation; caravans really aren't good for year round living. You could get an electric one but they drink money & can be a fire risk. Your teen will end up sleeping on living room sofa on coldest nights.

I have friends who have done it with teens age 18+.

TheMightyLois Thu 27-Sep-12 16:44:08

Would you secure the caravan with a clamp or post? Otherwise someone couldhook up and drive off with it.

flow4 Fri 28-Sep-12 00:11:44

If we had a caravan, I think I would move into it! grin
Seriously, yes, I'd do it in a flash. There will be safety issues and practical details to sort, but you'll work them out in a day or two.

BackforGood Fri 28-Sep-12 00:16:26

I wouldn't - not for a child. I would worry hugely for their safety in somewhere as vulnerable as a caravan.
Maybe once they were an adult and not able to afford to properly move out.
Are you even allowed to live in a caravan on a drive? Aren't there rules about accommodation (both the standard of living, and from the point of view of no-one being allowed to just set up residence anywhere.

flow4 Fri 28-Sep-12 00:34:31

I wasn't thinking of it as OP's DD 'living' in the caravan (since OP said there would be no cooking or bathroom facilities there) - but rather as a sort of teenage nocturnal potting-shed/retreat smile

Ponders Fri 28-Sep-12 00:34:33

I wouldn't do it with caravan on drive at front.

maybe wendy-house type building at back but only if no other alternative

Noqontrol Fri 28-Sep-12 00:39:39

Well my dc are too young for that, but yes I'd consider it in the future. My friends son lived in a converted shed in the garden ( very nicely done with insulation, built in bed and a wood burning stove). It really suited him and they lived in a safe place. He was 14 at the time.

TerraNotSoFirma Fri 28-Sep-12 00:47:51

Would you be able to floor the attic and fit a staircase as an alternative?

If not, maybe something like this?

HelloOutThere Fri 28-Sep-12 14:57:45

Thanks for all those responses - very helpful. TBH I honestly thought it would be a chorus of "NOOOOO are you MAD!" so the comments are really balanced thanks smile

SomeoneThatYouUsedToKnow Fri 28-Sep-12 16:42:36

Nooooooo are you MAD!!!

I wouldn't do it but it would depend where I lived. How busy is your street?

PessimisticMissPiggy Fri 28-Sep-12 16:48:59

No f'ing way!

If you haven't enough space then why not consider selling up and moving into a cheaper area in a bigger house. I'm sorry but getting a teenager to sleep outside the family home in however luxurious caravan or cabin just stinks.

If you did this and I lived next door I'd be in touch with SS as it wreaks of neglect.

flow4 Fri 28-Sep-12 19:46:32

I am assuming, since everyone is currently living INSIDE the house, that this is about extra teenage 'hang-out' and homework space, rather than basic housing.

Most parents with teens will recognise that they desperately want their own space, so if they share rooms, and can't get privacy and a bit of a break from each other, it can lead to a lot of conflict. Also, teens can become very hard to live with if/when they go through their 'nocturnal' stage: the reason I would jump at this, if I had a drive or garden big enough to fit a caravan, is that I have had hardly a single night in the past couple of years when I haven't been woken up at least once - not by DS being especially anti-social, but by him going up and down to the loo or to get ever more food, coming in after I'm in bed, changing channels on his TV, etc. (During the holidays, it was usual for him to go to bed at 4/5am, and I have to get up for work at 7am). I get frazzled, and it's not really anyone's 'fault', and having a caravan he could have retreated to sometimes would have massively improved the last 2-3 years for me.

I know several families who have this kind of arrangement: one garage fitted out with sofas; one garden shed with bunk-beds in; one caravan that is so cosy that mum retreats there; and one 18yo lives in a caravan near the family lock-up 3 miles away... I guess it depends on where you live. It would be a different prospect in a city than in a semi-rural area like ours.

dexter73 Fri 28-Sep-12 20:17:49

It says in the OP that it is for sleeping in.

flow4 Fri 28-Sep-12 20:41:12

Yeah. I think this is fine - and even desirable, if she has nocturnal DDs - so long as there is always still a bed available in the house - so long as sleeping in the caravan is a choice that gives the family more flexibility. If any child was forced to sleep in a caravan, I would view it differently...

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