Children can suffer serious injuries such as concussions and fractures if they fall from a raised/upper bed or while they're trying to climb down. Falls are the most common source of injury and can be fatal.
Strangulation or accidental hanging can occur if children have their head or neck caught between gaps in and around the bunk bed, or if clothing is snagged on parts of the bed that stick out (protrusions).
Children’s heads and limbs can become trapped within gaps in the bunk bed structure.
The mandatory standard for bunk beds is based on the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4220:1994.
AS/NZS 4220:1994 is a voluntary standard except for those sections specifically called up by the mandatory standard. For complete information about all mandatory requirements for bunk beds you must read Consumer Protection Notice No. 1 of 2003, which outlines mandatory aspects of the standard.
This mandatory standard came into effect on 7 April 2005.
Does this mandatory standard apply to your business?
Under the ACL supply includes:
in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
in relation to services - provide, grant of confer.
This mandatory standard applies to anyone in the business of supplying bunk beds, including:
To allow for staggered implementation, there are some cases where a mandatory standard or ban prescribes different compliance dates for the manufacturing, importing and supply of a product. Manufacturers, importers and distributors should check for this detail in the mandatory standard before embarking on production, importation or distribution of these goods.
The requirements noted below are key requirements only. They may help to give suppliers a general idea of the detail they must look up in the mandatory standard. This information may also assist consumers when they are purchasing bunk beds.
While we provide some advice on this page to help you understand aspects of the standard, suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.
Bunk beds must have permanently fixed guardrails to all four sides and ends, with a minimum vertical distance between the upper surface of the guardrail and the upper surface of the mattress base of 260 mm.
No dangerous gaps
Bunk beds must not have any dangerous gaps that can trap a child’s head or limbs.
Parts of a bunk bed that stick out (protrusions) greater than 8 mm are not allowed as they provide hanging points that can lead to strangulation or accidental hanging.
Bunk beds must come with a label or marking indicating the maximum mattress height on the raised/upper bed where the height of the guardrails is less than 360 mm. This is to ensure that the effective height of the safety barrier is maintained to prevent children falling.
While the mandatory standard includes some features you can visually check, it also specifies testing to ensure bunk beds meet requirements for safe sized gaps. Suppliers need to organise this testing through specialist laboratories with the right skills, experience and equipment.
Sleep City Holdings Limited, an importer and retailer of bedroom furniture, has acknowledged engaging in conduct that contravened section 65C of the Trade Practices Act by selling the 'Jessie' (in single and study form), 'London' and 'Trio' models of bunk beds which contravened the mandatory product safety standard.
Australian Discount Retail Pty Ltd (ADRT)—two models of bunk beds failed to comply with the mandatory standard for bunk beds. Additionally, a military toy play set failed to comply with the ban on the supply of toys containing accessible materials with a lead migration of more than 90 milligrams per kilogram.