Are Bunk Beds Right for Your Child?
Most children love the idea of bunk beds, especially the top bunk. It’s exciting to sleep so high off the ground and even more exciting to imaging that your roommate is sleeping beneath you. Unfortunately, bunk beds are simply not as safe as a traditional bed and injuries, including death, do occur. So, if you’re going to go the bunk bed route with your children, then it’s really essential that you heed the following bunk bed guidelines.
Bunk Bed-Appropriate Age. Pediatrics found that half of all bunk bed injuries happen to children five years and younger. The official recommendation is that children under the age of six do not sleep on bunk beds and are not left unattended while playing on or near bunks.
Top Bunk Guardrails. The Office of Compliance has strict guidelines for bunks, and the positioning of guardrails is key. Check out their website for detailed instructions, but basically the top bunk should have guardrails on each side with no more than 15 inches open. The guardrails should also extend at least five inches above the top of the mattress.
Bunk Specific Mattresses. Always use the mattress that came with your bunk beds (when purchased from the manufacturer or a retailer) or use the exact sizes specified by the manufacturer. The wrong mattress can throw off the guardrail measurements and cause an entrapment injury. You can get bunks with mattresses at this link, and you chose the quick delivery options.
Bunk Bed Ladder Safety. Don’t replace the manufacturer’s ladder with something “more fun”, stick to the tested and approved ladder. If you’re making the bunk bed yourself, make sure you’re using an appropriately sturdy ladder.
Finial Regulations. As of March 2008, bunk beds should not have a finial or a post on the headboard or footboard. If your bunk bed is older and has these decorative touches you may want to remove them, as they can snag clothing and cause injuries or strangulation. If you remove a finial and there is a hole left, make sure you fill it with caulk or another hardening filler as little fingers can easily get broken in exposed holes like this.
Positioning of Bunks. Check out the room carefully before positioning your child’s bunk bed; you want to make sure that the top bunk is far away from light fixtures and ceiling fans, and you may even want to stay clear of window treatment cords.
Remind your child and their playmates that a bunk bed is not a toy, no matter how fun it seems. It’s best to establish a rule about only one child being allowed on top at a time and no hanging from the top bunk. Try to limit the amount of items in and on a bunk bed and don’t hang items from the bed. And it should go without out saying, but no jumping on the beds.