January 5, 2008
by Don VanPelt
Are you handy with a hammer? Skilled with a saw? Maybe you’re looking for a way to get more space into your children’s bedroom without spending a lot of money. Bunk beds are your answer. Children love them, and, today there are just so many options available to keep everybody happy.
And if you would like to take a chance and do it yourself, you’re in luck because bunk beds are somewhat simple to make. When the right materials are chosen, bunk beds can also bring a warmth and style to the bedroom that will fit in with the design scheme of the rest of the house.
And although children love their bunk beds for obvious reasons, there are additional precautions a parent must take to ensure their child’s bed is safe and secure. Every reputable bunk bed has been tested and safety certified by the ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials). This means that the bunk bed is purchased from a company that follows the ASTM’s stringent guidelines, including precise placement of the guard rails to keep little heads, feet and hands from getting caught between them. The guard rails will also be securely fastened to the bed, to keep your little ones safe for years to come. The safety aspect of guard rails cannot be stressed enough; sometimes, a child may tell his parents that he’s too big for guard rails and will ask the parent to remove them. Please never tamper with the guard rails. They are a proven, tested way to keep your child safe.
If you want to make your children’s bunk beds, please familiarize yourself with the many specifications for the beds, and for safety’s sake, don’t take any shortcuts. The main mistake people make when they make a bed from scratch, is that they then purchase the wrong-size mattress. It should fit very snug, with no greater give than three inches in any direction. Any more, and your child could be in danger of getting trapped between the mattress and frame.
Make sure you have your proportions right, in particular, make sure the child in the bottom bunk has enough head room. Make sure the lower bunk can hold your own weight without compromise. Making your own bunk beds is truly not difficult, but as they say, please read all the directions before you begin your project.
However, if you choose to purchase bunk beds that are already built, buy from a reputable online dealer who sells high-quality furniture. The dealer wants to make sure your child is safe, so they will sell a product that is well constructed and should last your child from preschool through college. The guard rails and the ladder are two places where the manufacturer should especially focus on good workmanship to ensure that the bed is safe for your child. When you get your new purchase home, please follow the directions to the letter; we cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the manufacturer’s precise directions for assembly. And if you can, allow your child to participate, even if it's only with the unpacking, your child could possibly remember the experience for the rest of their life.