- The Code of Federal Regulations contains guidelines for keeping bunk beds safe.bed time image by anna karwowska from Fotolia.com
American families that want to provide extra space in their children’s bedrooms often use bunk beds. Unfortunately, these stacked beds are a common source of injury. According to a study published on the National Institute of Health's website, more than 35,000 accidents involving bunk beds occur every year that require treatment in an emergency room. In an effort to make bunk beds less hazardous, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued guidelines for their construction.
- All upper bunks must have two guardrails, one of which is continuous from the head to the foot of the bed. The other guardrail must have a gap of no more than 15 inches between its end and the end of the bed. Rails must be attached so that they cannot be removed without intentionally releasing a fastener. The guardrail’s upper edge must be at least five inches above the thickest mattress recommended by the bed manufacturer. When the bunk beds have no mattress in position, the lower edge of the guardrails and the bed’s foundation must be close enough together that a specially designed wedge block (six inches by 3.5 inches by 3.5 inches) cannot pass between them.
Bed End Structures
- The upper edge of the head and foot of the top bunk must also be at least five inches above the thickest recommended mattress. When no mattress is present, the end structures must be close enough to the upper bed’s foundation that the wedge block will not go between them. Similarly, any openings between the upper and lower bunks must not allow the wedge block to fit between them unless a rigid nine-inch sphere will also pass through.
- Bunk beds should have no sharp corners or edges. Fasteners such as nails, screws and dowels should be smooth and flush with the bed’s surface. No lead-based paint should be used.
- Each bunk bed sold in the U.S. should be labeled with the name and address of the manufacturer, the model number and the year it was made. Labels must be permanently attached to the bed and should contain the following warnings:
•Never allow children younger than six on the upper bed.
•The upper bed should only use mattresses that are ___inches wide by ___inches long.
•Do not allow horseplay on the bunk beds.
•Use the ladder for getting into and out of the upper bed.