Many parents looking to make more room for their growing children will at some point think about bunk beds. However, the most common concern from mums and dads when it comes to bunk bed is safety.
How safe are they really? How old should my child be before they can sleep in a bunk bed safely? What can parents do to make using bunk beds safer? Here we share some safety tips to prevent injury.
Bunk Bed Injuries
Kids get hurt when they use bunk beds more common than we’d like. Bunk bed injuries are quite common but mainly due to how they are used, not their design. Children are naturally excitable and fearless, so give them anything high and they’ll want to climb it. We’ve all been there. Statistics show that there are nearly 40,000 bunk-bed related injuries to children every year.
You’ll find that the biggest portion of these injuries is due to misuse and unsafe behaviour. Although there some cases of faulty construction and even assembly, most bunk beds are designed and made to safe guidelines. There’s plenty more parents can do to make sure kids use bunk beds safely.
Teach Kids Safety Rules
Choosing the right bunk beds for your kids is the first step towards safe use. As much as we all want to buy once and use a bunk bed for the next few years, perhaps buying a cheap shorty bunk bed may be the answer. Next, teaching and following basic rules will further protect your children. Here are some good ones:
- Never let a child younger than six years old climb up and sleep in the top bunk. Ensure kids are supervised at bed time if you have a younger child sleeping in the bottom bed.
- Ensure kids understand that only one person is allowed on the top bunk at any one time. If they have to take it in turns sleeping on the top so be it.
- No playing on the top bunk of any sort allowed. Most injuries stem from falls from the top or off the ladder.
- Eliminate the risk of strangulation by ensuring kids do not hang belts, ropes or any cables of any kind from the safety rails or the slats of the bunk bed.
- Reinforce the rules and go over them each time your children have a friend over for a sleep over. Make the rules simple and fun and this way they will be followed.
Is the Construction of your Bed Safe?
How would you know if the construction of your bunk bed meets relevant standards? Well, unless you went and researched the law yourself and put every bunk to test then that’s the only ay to be sure, right? Well, not quite. Manufacturers adhere to strict international safety standards and you should rest assured most retailers comply too.
Some things you could check yourself include:
- The presence of guard rails on the top bunk with an opening for getting onto and off the top that’s no more than 15 inches wide.
- Ensure the top of the top safety rails are 5 inches from the top of the mattress to prevent a sleeping child going over the top while sleeping.
- Buy the correct size of mattress for the top bunk. Most top bunks require a mattress 15cm or less in thickness. Make sure the mattress also fits correctly to prevent your child going over the top.
- Choose a bunk bed with wide sturdy steps, stairs or ladder to ensure kids go up the steps with steady footing.
Safe Bunk Bed Assembly and Siting
Where you place your kid’s bunk bed in their room is an important thing to think about if they are to use it safely. Make sure you locate it in a place that makes it easy to get into and out of.
Other bed and furniture siting tips include:
- Never place the bunk bed next to the window, directly under a light fitting or ceiling fan.
- Choose a bunk bed that allows enough headroom for your child to sit up without hitting the ceiling.
Always follow the assembly instructions when putting together bunk bed at home. Make sure you don’t have any spare fixings or pieces left over. It’s always better to go back and do something correctly if you make a mistake.
We have all been there when doing a self assembly job, finding we have a few extra screws left over and just put them to the side.
So are bunk beds safe? Well, if you choose the correct type of bed for the age of your kids, put in place safety measures as suggested in this article and locate it safely, yes. Hopefully this quick article puts your mind at ease when it comes to bunk beds.