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Ways to Protect Your Child from Bunk Bed Accidents and Injury At Home
By Clive Chansa
Bunk beds are frequently used as a child's first regular bed after the child outgrows a crib. Some bunk beds also are used separately as twin beds for older children and even adults. Every year, thousands of children receive treatment for injuries associated with bunk beds. Most of these injuries are fairly minor and occur when children fall from the beds. But there are other less obvious yet potentially very serious hazards associated with bunk bed structures that have entrapped children and resulted in suffocation or deaths.
1. Head Entrapment under Bunk Bed Guard Rails.
This can cause death to young children. To reduce the risk of your child slipping feet first into the space between the lower edge of a guardrail and the top surface of the mattress never allow children under 6 years-old on the upper bunk. Also close the space between the lower edge of the guardrail and upper edge of the bed frame to 3-1/2 inches or less.
2. Falling Mattresses or Foundations Can Cause Injury or Even Kill A Small Child.
Mattresses or foundations resting only on ledges need cross wires, or other means of support to help prevent dislodgement, even when beds are not stacked. Securely fasten supports to ledges of both beds with screws or bolts. Supports can be provided by wood slats, metal straps or sturdy wires. Be sure crossties are under the mattress foundation of each bed and that they are secured in place even if bunks are used as twin beds. Fasten additional cross ties underneath the mattress foundation of both beds.
3. Using the Wrong Size Mattress Can Cause Injury or Even Death
Strangulation deaths can occur if a child falls through an opening created between the mattress and headboard or footboard when a regular length mattress is used in an extra long bed frame. Choose a mattress that correctly fits your bed.
4. Use of the Bed without Rails on Both Sides
Death or injury may occur if a very young child rolls off the bed and becomes entrapped between the wall and the side of the bed not having a guardrail. This hazard is not unique to bunk beds. Regular beds can present the same hazard. Always use two side guardrails on the upper bunk. Keep guardrails securely in place at all times no matter what the age of the child. Children move about during sleep and may roll out of bed.
5. Playing Around Bed Furniture Frequently Contributes To Accidents.
Teach children that rough play is unsafe around and on beds and other furniture. Emphasize to children to use the ladder and not chairs or other pieces of furniture to climb into or out of the top bunk.
6. Metal Bunk Beds
To help avoid bunk bed collapse, inspect all mattress support fin tabs and pockets for breaks or cracks in the metal and welds. The fin tabs are inserted into pockets located near each of the bed's eight corners. Stop using damaged beds as bunks and contact the manufacturer or importer for repair or replacement.