We all know that bunk beds are a great space-saving solution for children’s bedrooms and they’re ideal if your children share a room. Plus, kids love bunk beds. However, safety always takes priority over convenience (and what the children want) so there are things you need to consider when you’re in the process of buying a bunk bed.
Check out our safety FAQs and bunk bed rules below.
Bunk Bed Safety FAQs
So, are bunk beds safe? Here our sleep specialist, Joy, answers some frequently asked bunk bed safety questions and provides some helpful tips on buying the best bunk for your child’s bedroom.
» What Age Are Bunk Beds Suitable For?
Current guidelines recommend that the upper bunk is not suitable for children under the age of six. You may also consider placing a lamp or clip light to further improve bunk bed safety, so that the ladder can be illuminated at night and youngsters can climb down safely.
While the bottom bunk is safe for younger children, babies and toddlers should sleep in their own separate cot.
» How High Should Bunk Bed Rails Be?
As well as ladder and rail spacing, it is also important to look at rail heights to ensure your child is not able to roll out of bed. All bunk beds should have rails that are at least 16 cm taller than the mattress.
» What Are the British Safety Standards for Bunk Beds?
Bunk beds that are sold in the UK must conform to the current safety regulations (British Safety Standard number BS EN 747:1993). They should be solid in construction and have no sharp edges or corners that may cause harm.
It’s important that the mattress fits the bed securely, and that the slats underneath are no less than 7.5 cm apart. The upper bunk should have guard rails on both sides, with a gap of 300 mm to allow access. Although some do come with a bunk bed rail extension, these guidelines are what are generally accepted for optimum safety.
The regulations on bunk bed rail height are strict about gaps in the construction, to ensure that a child can’t get stuck or slip between the rail and the mattress. The access ladder should be firmly fixed to the bed and the treads should be at least 3 cm wide and 20 cm apart.
» What About Bunk Bed Mattress Thickness?
As stated in our Mattress Buying Guide, most of our small mattresses will fit a bunk bed. However, top bunks require a special, thinner mattress to maintain a safe height in relation to the guard rails. These top bunk mattresses should be no thicker than 17 cm.
7 Rules for Optimum Bunk Bed Safety
It’s a good idea to set some rules with your children about bunk bed safety. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), most accidents involving bunk beds occur when children are playing on them. So, it’s fundamental that you teach your child to follow some basic steps to ensure that he or she stays safe at all times.
1. Don’t let your child treat a bunk bed like a climbing frame
Although a bunk bed is a fun alternative to a regular bed, children should be discouraged from playing on the ladder and from leaning from the top bunk. A bunk bed ladder blocker can provide additional security to maximise bunk bed safety. Children should also use the ladder every time they want to come down from the top bunk.
2. Allow only one child on the top bunk
While a bunk bed is a novelty for children, it’s important that they learn that only one person can be on the top bunk at any time. To get children to adhere to this rule, maybe tell them that the person on the top bunk is the King or Queen of the castle and that it is forbidden for any other person to go up onto the top bunk to join Her or His Majesty. It worked for me!
3. Follow the instructions for assembly
When your bunk bed arrives, it’s important that you assemble the frame correctly. Carefully follow the instructions step-by-step to ensure that you build a safe and secure bunk bed. Once complete, you should not have any spare parts.
4. Consider where you place the bunk bed
It’s especially important that you don’t place a bunk bed near a window or within two metres of a light fitting.
5. Always install the guard rail
Regardless of whether you’ll be positioning a bunk bed up against a wall or not, you should always install the guard rail. When against a wall, there will still be a gap between the wall and the bed, therefore a rail is 100% necessary.
6. Never use a bunk bed as a clothes horse
Never hang any clothing off the bed or tie anything to it. Children can get tangled up in these, making them serious strangulation hazards.
7. Place carpet under a bunk bed
If your child’s room is carpeted – perfect. If it’s not, you should either consider carpeting your child’s bedroom or buying a rug to place underneath the bunk bed. Research shows that carpet can reduce the risk of head injury should a child fall from a bunk.
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