April 18, 2008
There is something universally pleasing about bunk beds. For parents, they represent a versatile, space-saving lifesaver. To children, bunk beds are almost as good as having a mini-playground right in their bedroom. But whether your children use their bunk beds for make-believe castles, or just as a way of creating their own private space, bunk beds are stacking up to be a popular way to help your kids get a good night’s sleep.
But despite their kid-pleasing design, parents need to be aware there are significant safety risks associated with bunk beds. The number-one risk—falling from a bunk bed—usually occurs when kids are left alone for too long, and can be minimized by careful parental supervision. Don’t worry, your children will still be safe—and all of you will sleep soundly—if you follow just a few basic guidelines for owning your bunk beds.
Even before your children start clamoring over who gets to sleep in the top bunk, take a few minutes and go over the safety features of your new bunk beds. Make sure your children understand the concept of guard rails. Demonstrate, if necessary, using one of their favorite stuffed animals, on a lower bunk. Roll Teddy back and forth, and let him fall to the ground. But when Teddy rolls against a guard rail, Teddy is safe. Guardrails must be secured at all times because children (like all of us) move around or roll during their sleep. We also recommend not allowing children under the age of six to sleep in the upper bunk. The access to the upper bunk is also important. Please take a moment to teach your kids how to safely use the ladder of the bed, and explain what the consequences will be to anyone found to not be using the ladder properly. Also, consider installing a fun night light. The extra light provides additional security, both for the child, and for you.
You will be a hero for getting bunk beds for your kids. Not only will they enjoy playing in their rooms, but they will almost look forward to going to bed at night. And when you follow simple safety precautions and the instructions for how to purchase a quality bed, your new bunk beds will give your family twice the fun—in half the space.