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Bunk beds

Bunk bed
Check Bunk beds for more information
The mandatory standard for bunk beds came into effect on 7 April 2005. It covers specific construction, design and labelling requirements for bunk beds.

Under the mandatory standard a bunk bed is:

  • a set of components that are assembled or are ready for assembly into single beds or double/single combination beds that will be stacked one over the other, or 
  • any single bed—other than a hospital bed—where the top of the mattress base is at least 800 mm above the floor surface.

On this page:

Hazards

Falls

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

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).

Entrapment

Children’s heads and limbs can become trapped within gaps in the bunk bed structure.

Mandatory standard

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:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

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.

Complying with the mandatory standard

For complete information about the mandatory requirements for bunk beds, you must read:

This information is essential to ensure you and your business comply with the mandatory standard.

Suppliers may also find these documents helpful in understanding aspects of the mandatory standard:

Penalties and consequences

Supplying bunk beds that don't comply with the mandatory standard can make you liable for heavy fines and product recalls. For more details, view Penalties and consequences. 

Some key requirements

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.

Design and construction

Guardrails

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.

No protrusions

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.

Informative labels

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.

Testing

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.

Legal cases and undertakings

Date commenced: 22nd February 2010
Linksea Pty Ltd—Snow Bunk beds failed to comply with the mandatory standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 19th May 2009
Sanjay Goel Trading as Pacific ImpExp Services—bunk beds, 'Model AB107' and ' Model LB70C' did not meet the requirements of the mandatory standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 12th November 2008
Sleep City Holdings Limited—'Jessie' (in single and study form), 'London' and 'Trio' models of bunk beds failed to comply with the mandatory standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 12th November 2008
Fantastic Furniture Pty Ltd—Mikki high sleeper did not comply with the mandatory standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 12th November 2008
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.
Date commenced: 30th July 2008
Living Momentum Pty Ltd—bunk beds failed to comply with the mandatory standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 6th May 2008
Hercules Iron Pty Ltd and Tom Hatz—the original proceedings relate to breaches of the mandatory product safety standard (bunk beds) under Part V of the Act.
Date commenced: 18th December 2008
Aziz Properties and Services Pty Ltd and Rodney Aziz—Proceedings under Part V for breach of the mandatory product safety standard for bunk beds.
Date commenced: 18th March 2008
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.

Injury case studies

Children can suffer serious injuries and even death if bunk beds are used inappropriately or if they are poorly made.

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