April 28, 2008
Your little baby is growing up fast! It seems just like yesterday you were putting together a crib. Now, your child is ready for the next stage of life. And with just a little planning and research, your child’s next bed can be as safe for him as his crib was—and a lot more fun!
1. Closing the gap
Fatal deaths associated with bunk beds are not usually caused by the child falling from the top bunk. Fatalities occur, usually, when a small child is strangled between the gap between an ill-fitting mattress and the bunk bed frame. Never allow a child under 6 to be on the top bunk. Measure any gap you find between the guardrail and the mattress: if it’s greater than 3 inches, a child could slip through be fatally injured.
2. Check your supports
It might be just a result of normal horseplay, but many bunk-bed related injuries are caused by kids in the bottom bunk who push up at the top bunk. This type of activity can be lessened by ensuring that the top bunk is supported by sturdy supports that are fastened in place by secure hardware. Please, no floating board support systems; these tend to move around a lot, and increase the likelihood of injuries.
3. The right mattress
This is very scary, and very important: children have been strangled in the
4. Rails on both sides
Bring your ruler when you go shopping, because the lower guard or safety rails should be no more than 3.5 inches above the height of the mattress. Any higher than that, and little children may be able to slip out. On the top bed, guard rails should run on both sides of the bunk—and the top safety rail should be at least five inches above the top of the mattress to prevent your child from tumbling out. Eventually, all of us learn how to sleep without tumbling out of bed, but children have not yet learned this.
Yes, bunk beds are fun, but parents, please take a moment to teach your children the hazards of rough play, and the consequences for participating in rough play. Make sure children are using the ladder properly, and not sliding down the ladder, just for the fun of it.
6. Metal Beds
Metal bunk beds may be more prone to collapse; constant motion tends to jiggle the bolts loose. Regularly inspect your metal beds for breaks or cracks. Also, keep an eye on the fin tabs—those support devices located in or near the beds eight corners. If your bed is damaged, stop using it immediately and contact your dealer for advise on repair or replacement. Reputable dealers offer a lifetime warranty.
We hope your new bunk beds bring many hours of enjoyment and comfort to your life. Good luck!