Bunk beds are perfectly safe for kids as long as safety checks are in place.
Children under 6 should not be allowed on the top bunk, although they may seem safe and be responsible, it can only take one awkward fall to sustain an injury.
A thinner mattress should be used for the top bunk, standard single mattresses are too thick and will allow the child to roll over the safety barrier.
Do not allow any type of cord, rope, belt, scarf or anything similar to be hung from the top bunk.
Do not place bunk beds near windows which have cord operated blinds - it is safer not to have this type of window covering in a child's bedroom. If you do have a window blind it is best practice to wind any loose cord round a window bracket and not let it dangle!!
Children love to play on bunk beds, but climbing and bouncing around on the top bunk should be actively discouraged - it can lead to serious, permanent injury.
When assembling bunk beds please ensure that all safety barriers are in place, especially if buying second hand bunk beds!! A 4 year old boy died when one of the top barriers was omitted
Bunk beds for sale in the UK should meet EN 747-1:2007 – 'Furniture – Bunk beds and high beds for domestic use – Part 1: Safety, strength and durability requirements' and EN 747-2:2007 – 'Furniture – Bunk beds and high beds for domestic use – Part 2: Test methods'.
In the UK the DTI publication ‘Research on the Pattern and Trends in Home Accidents 1999’ covers reported accidents and quotes that there are seven bed-related fatalities a year in the UK and 1,000 children are injured after falling from beds. The 1993 ENs are designed to provide guidance to minimise the risk of accidents to children. The current UK legislation (Statutory Instrument 1987 No. 1337: The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987) aims to do the same.
The UK regulations and EN 747-1:2007 and EN 747-2:2007 are not harmonised and there is some conflict between the two sets of documents over specific dimensions concerning permitted gaps between parts such as rails and mattress slats. The UK regulations take precedence over the ENs in the UK and this is allowable under EU rules on safety. The DTI has said it does not wish to see the regulations amended.
Retailers, importers and manufacturers of bunk beds designed for the UK or other EU markets are advised to continue to use EN 747-1:2007, EN 747-2:2007 and ‘The Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987’ when designing or selecting products to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose.
In the Bunk Beds (Entrapment Hazards) (Safety) Regulations 1987 the permitted gaps between rails and other components are very specific. These regulations demand that a bunk bed shall prevent the reasonable possibility of any part of the body of a child under six years becoming wedged or trapped at or above the height of any part of the bed’s sleeping surface which may give rise to any risk of death or personal injury.
The regulations prohibit any person from supplying, offering to supply, agreeing to supply, ‘expose for supply’ or ‘possess for supply’ in the UK a bunk bed which does not meet its safety criteria.
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