Safety Tips for Bunk Beds

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After we received a recent question related to this issue, we decided to compile a list of safety tips applicable to bunk beds.

  • Bunk beds are not recommended for children under six years of age. Children under age six should not be permitted to play unattended in a room with bunk beds. 
  • The top bunk should have guardrails on all sides, with no more than 15 inches open at each end. 
  • Rails should be secure and sturdy, and they should extend at least 5 inches above the top surface of the mattress. 
  • The mattress should be the proper size, as stated by the manufacturer (for example, never use a crib mattress on a twin platform or a twin mattress on a full platform, etc.) 
  • Always use a sturdy ladder to access the top bunk. 
  • Never drape clothes or toys over the rungs of the ladder. 
  • Only one person should be on the top bunk at a time. 
  • Never allow children to attach or hang items to any part of the bunk bed – for example, hooks, belts, jump ropes, etc.
  • Bunk beds manufactured after March 2008 should not have any type of “finial” or post on the headboard or footboard. This is to help prevent accidental strangulation caused by something the child is wearing or carrying catching on the bed as the child exits the upper bunk. 
  • Never position a bunk bed under or near a ceiling fan or ceiling light fixture. 
  • Remember to reinforce safety rules any time your child has an overnight guest. 

Read the summary of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s requirements for bunk beds (PDF).