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How safe are bunk beds? Answering your bunk bed safety questions

How Safe are Bunk Beds? Answering Your Bunk Bed Safety Questions

If you’ve never used a bunk bed before, we don’t blame you for being a tad apprehensive about them! At first glance they might look like a little bit of a safety risk, but you’ll have nothing to worry about if you take time to learn about bunk bed safety and teach your children how to use them correctly.

Bunk beds are a great choice for children sharing a room because of their space-saving benefits, but there’s no denying that bunk bed dangers do exist. Still, you shouldn’t be completely put off the idea, as there are plenty of ways you can ensure your kids stay safe while enjoying their bunk beds!

The bunk bed safety FAQs we answer below should also be considered for children sleeping on mid or high sleeper beds as well as cabin beds for younger children.

Are Bunk Beds Dangerous?

Bunk beds are not inherently dangerous – but there are absolutely risks involved and it’s essential you follow safety guidelines and be aware of the potential issues they might cause. Most bunk bed-related injuries occur as a result of children playing on around the bunk bed, so it’s hugely important that you discuss bunk bed safety with your kids and that they too understand the risks.

So, are bunk beds safe? Yes – if you’re cautious and careful and your children know the dangers.

At What Age Are Bunk Beds Safe?

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) recommends that bunk beds should only be used by children aged 6 and above due to their height and the safety risks involved.

You may feel the bottom bunk is safe for a younger child, between 4 and 6 years old, though it is still best to avoid bunk beds altogether until they reach the age of 6. The bottom bunk poses far less of a risk, but injuries can still happen if they’re playing on the bottom bunk – such as knocking their head on the top bunk above them. Over half of all bunk bed-related injuries happen to children below the age of 6.

Can a Top Bunk Bed Collapse?

Yes, a top bunk can collapse if it is a poor-quality bunk bed or if it has not been assembled correctly. Always ensure you choose a bunk bed from a trustworthy, expert designer and always test its sturdiness before you allow your kids to use it. Be certain that the bunk bed you choose strictly meets EC height safety regulations.  If you’re worried about assembly, ask an expert to do it for you.

What is the Weight Limit on a Top Bunk?

Weight limits for the top bunk will vary by manufacturer. Aspace’s bunk beds are all tested to 76 kgs. This weight capacity includes the mattress and bedding – so a heavier mattress will mean a lower weight allowance for your growing child.

It is absolutely essential that you carefully check the weight capacity for the specific bunk bed you’re looking at; there is no one standard weight limit for bunk beds and it will vary depending on the build and quality of the bunk. 

Can Adults Sleep on Bunk Beds?

While there are bunk beds designed for the young at heart, adults should never sleep on a bunk bed designed for children. Kids’ bunk beds have strict weight capacities that simply aren’t worth risking.

Are Metal Bunk Beds Better Than Wood?

Metal bunk beds may appear sturdier and more durable than a wooden bunk bed frame – but so long as you choose a high-quality, premium design from a trustworthy furniture maker, a wooden bunk bed is perfect – and offers a more stylish, timeless look. Metal bunk beds can sometimes be a tad noisy too, which will only make it trickier to help your kids get to sleep!

How Do I Make My Bunk Bed Hold More Weight?

Don’t. Trying to get crafty to make your bunk bed hold more weight is extremely dangerous. If your children outgrow their bunk bed, it’s far safer to get a new one or switch to separate beds than to try and extend your existing bunk bed’s lifetime.

How Do I Stop My Bunk Bed from Wobbling?

If your children’s bunk bed is wobbly, this can be a major safety risk. You should check the tightness of bolts and screws regularly – every few months at least – to ensure it stays stable and safe.

If you’re uncertain about whether it’s secure enough, ask an expert to help out. Bunk beds should never be shaky or wobbly, and if they are, it may be that it hasn’t been assembled correctly. If your children play on their bunk bed, this can loosen the screws and joints, which is another reason why it’s so important to teach them about bunk bed safety.

The same goes if you find the bunk bed has become squeaky.

Tips for Bunk Bed Safety

There are a few essential rules you should follow if your children are using a bunk bed in order to ensure their safety.

  • You should have guardrails on all four sides of the top bunk. If there are gaps in the guardrails, they should not exceed 3.5 inches. Guardrails should be at least 5 inches taller than the surface of the mattress.
  • Make sure your children don’t play or jump on the bunk bed or ladder.
  • Ensure there’s space between the top bunk and the ceiling and never place a bunk bed near a ceiling fan or hanging light.
  • Don’t position the bunk bed against a window.
  • Use a night light so the bunk bed ladder is always visible. You might consider installing a clip light directly to the bunk bed itself. If your child wakes up at night to use the bathroom, you want to ensure they can get down from the top bunk safely, and descending a ladder in pitch black darkness poses major risks.
  • Ensure your children know how to climb the bunk bed ladder safely.
  • Always check the maximum weight for bunk beds and make sure only one child is on the top bunk at a time. If they want to hang out together on their bed – make sure they only do so on the bottom bunk. Remember that using the bed to relax and play outside of bedtime can be detrimental towards sleep hygiene.
  • Do not hang anything from the guardrails of the bunk bed. You may be tempted to use your bunk bed as an extra bit of storage to hang things like towels, scarves or belts – but this is a major strangulation risk and should always be avoided. You might instead consider a high-sleeper bed with daybed – offering plenty of storage beneath the daybed.