Any kid would love using bunk beds or loft beds as they provide more free space on the floor level, a bit of adventure and a comfortable sleep – ( 1 ). Now a day you can buy bunk beds, futon bunks, bunk mattress and ladders online, making their availability very convenient.
It’s fantastic to have bunk beds at home, but like any other household item they need to be handled carefully because of the risks involved in their use. It’s imperative for the parent to educate the children on using these beds so that they remain safe. Tell the children how to use it safely and ask them to repeat whatever you told them. That is to make sure that they have understood whatever you explained to them. Here are the important safety rules, for the children as well for the parents as they set up new bunk beds.
Top Bunk Safety
Mattress above 8″ thickness is not to be used. That’s because the guardrails on most bunk beds can accommodate up to an 8″ thick mattress. On using a thicker mattress the sleeper comes too close to the top of the guardrail, thus the rails become almost ineffective in offering any resistance to the sleeper from falling down.
You should have guardrails all around the top bunk, especially on the longer sides. Make sure that the surface of the mattress remains at least five inches below the top of the guardrails. In case the child needs thick or heavy comforters on top of the mattress, you must insist on using thinner mattress to ensure that the occupier continues to be well below the top of the guiderails. Mattress of six inches thickness proves to be sufficient for kids because of their being lightweight thicker mattress is not needed.
Children below five years of age should never be allowed to sleep on the top bunk. Though kids below five are quite lively and can climb up the stairs, their reflexes are not fully developed and need some more time to develop their natural sense of security that helps them to maintain their balance and behavior in the upper bunk.
The children should practice going up or down the ladder in your presence. Some of the bunk beds are designed to have slats on either side and thus may look like climbing structures that kids use in the playground. But the ladder is so designed to carry their weight that increases while the child is growing.
Tell the children to climb up the bed only while facing the ladder and holding it securely. It might be fun for them to climb down facing outward towards the room, but the safer way is to come down facing the ladder, which avoids chances of an accident.
Do not ever ignore the weight restrictions prescribed by the manufacturer. Though some bunks are designed to hold up to 400 lbs in the top bunk, exceptions can be there, making it important to read and follow the instructions of the manufacturer. If no safety instructions accompany the bunk, an adult weighing about 200 lbs should go up the top bunk and check the sturdiness of its frame. Take measures to ensure that a heavier person never goes up to the top bunk.
Warn you child from jumping on the bunk bed, especially its upper part. The beds are not designed for that. Though jumping on the top bed could cause serious accident, even jumping on the lower one can weaken the overall structural strength of the bed.
Overall Bunk Bed Safety
It’s important that you position the bed against the wall so that the child never gets trapped in the gap between the wall and the bed. Ensure to install both the longer guiderails and warn you children not to try slipping down the back of the bed to the lower bunk.
Make it a habit to periodically check that all the nuts and bolts are tight and in place. Tighten the screws which tend to get loose over continuous use. Do this at least once a month.
Hanging items from the bunk is risky as kids may reach over the edge trying to get them. They could even try swinging on those, exposing themselves to serious injuries.
It’s always desirable to provide a night lamp in the room housing bunk bed. Soon the child gets used to getting down from the top bed in the middle of the night.
Let your children walk up and down the ladder a couple of times in your presence before leaving them alone in the bunk bed. Make sure that they have understood your instructions and the risks associated in not following the detailed instructions.
Taking all these simple but important precautions would make using the bunk bed enjoyable for everybody, the parents as well the kids. You also get bunk beds in futon designs, enabling you to have a futon sofa in the lower bunk. That allows you to read bedtime story to your child. That not only calms down the child but also helps developing the habit of reading.