Bunk Beds Guide
Bunk beds are a great space-saving option when you're looking for beds for multiple children. However, shopping for bunk beds often comes with questions like "What age can a child go in a bunk bed?" or "How can I ensure safety?". After all, when it comes to children, safety should always be a priority - and that's just as important when they sleep!
Our bunk bed buying guide answers all your questions about bunk beds and bunk bed safety. From the types available to tips for maximum safety, here is everything you need to know.
How to choose a bunk bed in 4 easy steps:
- Understand the safety requirements for bunk beds
- Find the right bunk bed for your needs
- Assemble and position it right
- Use the right mattress
1. Bunk bed safety
Safety comes first, always. In this section, you’ll find everything you need to know about bunk bed safety.
Are bunk beds safe?
Yes - if you've bought a high-quality bunk bed and followed the assembly instructions correctly. You should also follow certain safety rules and guidelines once the bed is built, such as ensuring your child is old enough for a bunk bed and that the height of the bed is suitable for the room you're placing it in.
How do I make a bunk bed safe?
Regarding your children, we know safety is paramount. While following the assembly instructions carefully and correctly will ensure your bed is secure, there are some extra steps you can take to make your bunk beds completely safe.1. Install bunk bed safety rails
Installing all guard rails is the best way to prevent falls. As discussed, you should ensure the top bunk mattress isn't too high to allow the safety rails to be fully practical.2. Carpet the floor
Children's bedrooms should be carpeted or have rugs beneath the beds. This will help prevent serious injury from accidental slips or falls.3. Regularly check fittings
You should ensure your bunk beds remain sturdy and that nothing loosens over time. Regularly check the fittings of your bunk beds to ensure that everything is safe and secure.4. Use bunk beds only for their purpose
Once the bed is safely assembled, discourage children from climbing or playing on the bed or ladder and prevent more than one child from using the top bunk at a time. You should also make sure belts, bags and other items aren't hanging from the bunk bed to prevent the risk of strangulation, trips or falls.
Bunk bed safety regulations
If you still have any concerns over the safety of bunk beds, you can rest assured, as British Standards of Safety cover them. Here are the regulations bunk beds must follow:
Bunk beds sold in the UK must conform to the current safety regulations (British Safety Standard number BS EN 747:2012 + A1 2015). They should be solid in construction and have no sharp edges or corners that may cause harm.
It’s essential 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 come with a bunk bed rail extension, these guidelines 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.
Can bunk beds collapse?
It's a scary thought for any parent, but yes, bunk beds can collapse - but only if they're not assembled correctly! You should follow your assembly instructions carefully and make sure no pieces are missing when you're done. Check all the screws are tightened. Does the bed feel sturdy? You should push the bed from all sides once assembled to double-check sturdiness.
Once your bunk bed is assembled, you should make sure you're always following the safety guidelines (which are detailed below) and regularly check the bed to make sure it's secure. With correct assembly, a high-quality bed, and safety guidelines followed, your new bunk bed poses no risk.
What age can a child go in a bunk bed?
We often get asked, "Can toddlers go in bunk beds?". And, while bunk beds are designed for children, age restrictions are in place to ensure they're safe to use. Children under six shouldn't be sleeping on a top bunk, and children under three shouldn't be on bunk beds at all. If you're looking for a bed for a toddler, a combination bed is safe and can be adapted into a bunk when they're a little older.
Can adults use bunk beds?
So, toddlers are a no, but can adults sleep in bunk beds? The answer is it depends. Bunk beds are conventionally designed to support a child's weight, though some more secure bunk beds can support an adult's weight. It is advised to check the assembly instructions for further details on bunk bed usage for your specific bed.
2. Types of bunk beds
You now know what you’re looking for regarding safety, but you still have an important decision: what type of bunk bed will you choose? This next section should help make your choice a little easier!
What type of bunk beds are best for kids?
If you're wondering how to choose the right bunk beds for your kids, it depends on your home and the functions you need the most. You can choose:
- Standard bunk beds. This is the ‘classic' bunk bed design that features one bed on top of another, with a ladder providing access to the top bunk.
- Storage bunk beds. If you need more storage space, many bunk beds have built-in storage options, such as shelving, wardrobes or drawers.
- L-shaped bunk beds. These vary from the classic design and are great if you have more floor space. Instead of one bed directly on top of the other, an L-shape bunk features the lower bed facing at a 90-degree angle. This type of bed works especially well in the corner of a bedroom.
- Triple or quadruple bunk beds. If you want to accommodate more children (or have kids who love sleepovers!), triple and quadruple beds offer the ultimate space-saving option. Triple beds are either available in a classic single style, with three beds on top of each other, or laid out with a double bed below and a single above. Quadruple beds sleep up to four, with two doubles in a classic bunk style.
- Combination bunk beds. We also offer combination beds that can be adapted into various styles. From toddler beds to bunk beds to single or guest beds, these beds can grow as your child does.
Think about what you need the bunk bed for. Do you need to accommodate more than two children? Is storage a priority? How long do you need the bed? These will all come into play when choosing the right bunk bed for you.
What is the height of a bunk bed?
It varies from bed to bed, but the standard height of a classic bunk bed is between 5 and 6 feet tall. If you're choosing a bunk bed with additional features such as storage, it may be taller, so always double-check the dimensions of your chosen model.
When considering the height of a bunk bed and whether it will fit into a room, you should consider how much additional space you'll need when your child sits in bed. There should always be enough space to sit up comfortably to avoid any safety issues with room between them and the ceiling.
Metal bunk bed vs wooden bunk bed: Which should I choose?
You'll have to decide which material you prefer and the size of your bunk bed. Two of the most popular choices are metal and wood. The good news is that both are durable and long-lasting, so often, the choice will come down to personal preference.
Wood bunk beds can look more traditional, although contemporary models are available. Metal bunk beds are better suited to modern rooms. Both are available in various colours and styles at Happy Beds so that you can choose the best type for your child’s room.
Where's the best place to buy bunk beds?
Call us biased, but at Happy Beds, we have some of the best bunk beds around. Safety is a priority during manufacturing Happy Beds' bunk beds, and we take caution to ensure our bunk beds are comfortable, supportive and secure. Before they're shipped, each bed is also checked in relation to the British Standards of Safety, so you can relax safely knowing your new bunk beds will be safe for use.
Can I buy second-hand bunk beds?
We wouldn’t recommend buying second-hand bunk beds. Depending on their age, they may not correspond to the latest safety regulations. Taking them apart and reassembling them could damage them, making them a safety risk to your child.
3. Assembling your bunk bed
Your chosen bunk bed has arrived. It’s time to assemble it, keeping in mind the safety information we’ve already covered. Here’s how to assemble a bunk bed and get it right:
We conduct all the necessary measures to ensure that the bunk bed is safe to use; however, it is up to you to encourage safety when assembled. We have compiled a series of rules which are recommended to follow to ensure maximum safety when your bunk bed is fully assembled and in use by children.
How to put bunk beds together safely
- Do not use the bunk bed if any part is damaged or missing
- Take care when assembling the bunk bed, and follow every instruction thoroughly
- Perform a stability check on all safety guards, rails and ladders to check they are installed correctly
- Address the relevant instruction manual for age restrictions before use
- Assess the structure and size of your room before purchase to ensure a safe access
- Conduct regular checks of the fittings and safety barriers when in use
- Plan to place your bunk bed away from doors, light fixtures and fittings
Can you take bunk beds apart?
Most kids' bunk beds are designed not to be taken apart. Dismantling them and then rebuilding may leave your beds less secure and with safety issues - not ideal! If you're considering a bunk bed but want to separate them at some point, our combination bed is designed for just that. You can easily take it from bunk bed to single bed, and even to guest bed! So, you're not just getting a great, kid-friendly option but also sorted when guests stay over for years to come.
4. Use the right mattress
Your bunk beds are up, safe and secure. Now you need to add the mattress and bedding before the grand reveal for your little one. Here’s our advice for getting it right.
What size mattress and bedding do you need for bunk beds?
Bunk beds don't require special mattresses; a regular single mattress fits most. However, for safety, there is a limit to the height of the mattress on the top bunk, so double check specifications of your mattress and bed to ensure it fits safely. Always check specifications rather than just adding the mattress height to the bed height, as mattresses will sit at different heights within different bed frames, with some more ‘sunken' than others.
At Happy Beds, we'd always advise that the top bunk doesn't have a mattress thicker than 16cm to ensure enough height for the safety rails to do their job. There will usually be a line along the inside of the top bunk's frame to indicate where the bunk bed mattress should go up to. You can find the best bunk bed for your mattress in our mattress collection.
Regarding sheets and bedding, a standard twin size will fit most bunk beds perfectly. Explore the entire collection of bunk beds at Happy Beds today to find an option both you and the kids will love. We've got you covered if you’re looking for an alternative to bunk beds. A mid-sleeper bed, also known as a cabin bed, is elevated compared to a standard bed but not quite as high as a bunk.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a bed for a guest room, a trundle bed with a pull-out mattress can give you the same amount of sleep space as a bunk bed without the elevation. Find out more about your options in our kid beds buying guide.