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Bunk Bed Basics
Bunk beds are a great way to fit two beds into a smaller space, or to maximize the floor space of a shared room. There are now bunk beds available with storage drawers, roll out mattresses and even some that double as desks and workstations. All the additional amenities that bunk beds now offer are certainly something to be considered, but nothing is more important when purchasing a bunk bed than safety. Know what to look for and you will get a great looking bunk bed that serves its purpose. There are certain things an educated consumer should know to look out for, and it also goes without saying that not all bunk beds are created equal. There are several manufacturers of bunk beds who make quality furniture pieces, and armed with a little knowledge, you can purchase the right bed for your children.
All bunk beds should have rails for the top bunk. Without question, the number one cause of bunk bed related injuries stems from children falling out of the top bunk. A quality bunk bed will never lack rails for a bed so high off the floor. Additionally, parents should always make sure the rails are tight and secure after the bunk bed has been purchased or assembled.
Ladder placement is important. Ladders will either be on the sides or front of the bed. A good rule of thumb to follow is that bunk beds with four feet or four posts touching the ground should have the ladder in front; meaning on the long side of the bed that usually faces out from the wall (provided the bed is set against a wall). You should only see ladders on the short “ends” of the bunk bed if the bed has a solid foundation on both ends, meaning wood or metal all the way across the end that touches the floor. The reason for this is that front side ladders are at an angle while end ladders are straight up and down. If your child slips on a front sided ladder, which is always angled, he or she will not fall straight down, eliminating the possibility of landing on the bottom bunk rails or getting an appendage caught in the bed. This can happen with a vertical ladder, which is why they should only be placed on the ends of beds, preferably with “walled” or “semi-walled” ends that go all the way to the floor. This will prevent your child from getting an appendage caught on the bed should he or she fall on a vertical ladder.
Bunk bed construction, as one might imagine, is also very important. Wood has substantially less compression strength than metal, so while wooden bunk beds are certainly fine, be wary of those that don’t weigh much more than their metal counterparts. Wood bunk beds are just as good as metal bunk beds, but should weigh considerably more.
Being an educated consumer will allow you to get the bunk bed you want while making sure that your children’s safety needs are met.