Every year thousands of children are admitted to hospital emergency rooms due to incidents involving bunk beds involving improper use, manufacturing, or set up. If your follow our 10 point safety checklist, bunk beds can still be a great bedding solution for your children:
Look for manufacturers that are established, and have a long history of manufacturing bunk beds. A good manufacturer will also stand behind their product by providing a lifetime warranty.
ASTM and CPSC guidelines
Ask the retailer if it meets the voluntary safety guidelines of the American Standards of Testing and Materials and the minimum safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If it does, you’ll know that the bed meets all current and reasonable safety standards.
Strong frame construction
Examine and test the durability and strength of the bunk bed frame. It should easily hold a parents weight – climb on it and wiggle the frame a bit. A good bunk bed with remain firmly grounded without movement or noise.
Only rounded edges
Check the entire bed construction for smoothness of materials and fasteners. There should be no sharp edges or protruding points anywhere in the construction.
Measure the safety rails
Safety rails should run on both sides of the top bunk, and the lower rail should be no higher than 3 1/2 inches above the top of the mattress height – any higher and your children could slip underneath it. Also make sure the top rail is at least 5 inches above the mattress top to prevent your child from rolling over the safety rails.
Ensure proper mattress fit
Strangulation deaths have occurred in the US when children fall through openings between the mattress and the frame during the night. Make sure the mattress opening snugly fits the mattress without a lot adjustment room. If the mattress has a gap greater than 3 inches from any side of the mattress to the bed frame, headboard or footboard – it does not fit properly.
Sturdy ladder construction
Make sure the ladder in well constructed and is firmly attached and bolted to the bed frame. Test it out with your own weight – if it moves around it is not safe.
Sturdy mattress support
A lot of injuries are caused by children in the lower bunks pushing up on the underside of the top bunk and dislodging the mattress or support frame. Ensure the top bunk has sturdy mattress supports that are secured to the bed frame with bolts or screws. You don’t want a floating board support system, as these will move around and can possibly fall through the opening.
Repair and maintenance
Immediately replace or repair any loose or missing fasteners on the bed. Periodically check the tightness of fasteners holding the bed together, as well as the cross support rails holding the upper mattress.
Teach your children not to push up on the underside of the bed, or to climb on it like a jungle gym. Proper safety is important at all times, and you may wish to also use a night light near the ladder so children can see the ladder steps in the dark.
If you follow these basic tips then you should get years of safe enjoyment out of your new bunk bed. For more bunk bed resources and tips you can visit http://www.loft-beds-bunk-beds.com/bunk-beds.htm
S.A. Smith is a freelance writer, editor, and contributor to the Loft Beds Bunk Beds resource site, and can be reached at http://www.loft-beds-bunk-beds.com.
Written by: S.A. Smith