Bunk beds

Children are at risk of serious injury if bunk beds are poorly made. Make sure you buy a bunk bed that meets the mandatory safety standard.

About bunk beds

Bunk beds are raised off the ground and consist of one or two beds. They are designed for adults or children and often come with a ladder.

Risks and injuries

Serious injuries can occur if the bunk bed is poorly made or is used incorrectly. Falls are the most common source of injury involving bunk beds, and can be fatal.

Children can suffer:

  • concussions and fractures if they fall from a raised bed or top bunk or while trying to climb up or down
  • strangulation or accidental hanging if their head or neck gets caught between gaps in and around the bunk bed, or if clothing is snagged on parts of the bed that stick out
  • injuries to their heads, arms and legs if these become trapped within gaps in the bunk bed structure.

Buying tips

  • Ensure you get the right mattress for the raised/upper bed. There will often be an identifiable mark on the rail indicating the maximum mattress height allowed. This is to ensure that the effective height of the safety barrier is maintained to prevent children falling.
  • Although the suitable minimum age to use a bunk bed can vary greatly depending on a child's maturity and development, using the top bunk or a raised bed is not recommended for children under nine years old.

Safe use

  • When assembling the bunk bed ensure the guardrails are securely installed on all four sides of the raised bed or top bunk with correct spacing for access openings.
  • Check connections and fasteners regularly to ensure they are strong and secure so that the bunk bed can hold the weight of the child or adult and won’t collapse.
  • Keep the bunk bed clear of blind and curtain cords, heaters, lights and ceiling fans.
  • Remove ladders when the bunk bed is not in use so that small children won’t try to climb onto the top bunk.

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