Heino Engelmann, April 20th , 2019.
In previous articles I mentioned the practical uses of bunk beds, for space-saving utilization, storage and fun ideas for children. In this article, the focus is on safety.
One of the most important things to consider when deciding on a bunk bed purchase is safety, especially when it involves our children.
The U.S. Consumers Product Safety Commission has established new mandatory standards for bunk beds that are expected to improve safety for the thousands and thousands of children who use them.
All bunks and lofts should come with guard rails, but if you plan of buy a bed that stands taller than 30 inches, the railing must stretch across the entire length on the wall side of the bed. Also, the guard rail gaps on the upper and lower bunks must not allow a child's head, torso, or limbs to pass through them. The recommended gap distance is under three-and-a-half inches in width.
After purchasing a new bunk bed, be sure the assembly instructions and all the pieces are included. However, what if you purchased a used bunk bed that did not come with assembly instructions? That was the case with the bunk bed we purchased years ago, before we decided to start our own bunk bed online retail store.
We found the bed for sale in the newspaper, copied down the address, and took a drive to the seller's house to check it out. The bed was in good shape, fully assembled, but the mattresses were very old and worn out. We asked the seller questions about the bed, such as the age of the bed and how often it was used. Since the assembly manual wasn't available, we asked the seller if he could show us how to disassemble the bed in order to fit it in the back of our pickup truck. At least the seller had a special tool to loosen the nuts, thus allowing us to remove several sections of the bed for shipment back to our home.
Once we arrived at our house, the bed sections were unloaded and taken to our boy's bedroom for reconstruction. Thankfully, I was able to read my own handwriting and was able to follow the disassembly instructions in reverse, and re-assembly the bunk bed without any major problems. I made sure the bed sections were tightened securely with the special tool.
We promptly replaced the old mattresses with new, more comfortable ones. We made sure the new mattresses were the correct size to fit the frame. Never use a mattress that doesn't fit the bed frame.
We filed our hand-written "assembly" instructions away for safe keeping. There may be a need for them in the future, and it will be nice to have saved them when the time comes.
It doesn't matter if you purchase a new or used bunk bed, always inspect it for damage or other flaws before allowing your children to use it. Use guardrails on both sides of the bed, and make sure they are securely in place at all times, no matter the age of the child. The ladder must be securely fastened to the bed as well. Repair or replace any loose guardrails or ladder rungs or hardware immediately.
Children under the age of six are not supposed to use the top bunk. Also, no more than one child should occupy the top bunk.
During the night, it is also a good idea to have a nightlight on in your child's bedroom. This will help your child see the ladder easier in case they need to get up during the night.
Finally, the best way to prevent accidents and injuries is to teach children what is and isn't allowed on and around the bunk bed. Properly instructing children about bunk bed safety can prevent serious injury.
Stay safe kids, and have fun!
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