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Safe Steps to Take When You Have Bunk Beds for Kids
Bunk beds for children are great for putting two children in the same room. They are also just plain fun for kids. However, if you don’t know the steps you can take as a parent to keep your kids safe while in one, even the best bunk beds for kids can be an accident waiting to happen. When using this type of children’s bedroom furniture in your home, you’ll want to make sure you do the right things that will keep your little ones (and big ones) safe all night long.
- Always make sure the child who will be sleeping on top is over six or seven years old. Some company guidelines advise buyers that anyone using the top bunk must be at least six years old. Ikea children’s beds are even recommended for ages 7 and up. Manufacturers always emphasize a minimum age guideline, and there’s a good reason for that. Most accidents that occur in children’s bunks involve children under the age of six falling from the top bunk. Build the statistics and make sure that anyone who sleeps on top of the bunks can physically adjust to sleeping at that level.
- Even if you have a child old enough to sleep in an upper bunk, make sure the upper bunk frame has rails and the rail opening in the bottom half of the bed is no more than 15 inches wide. Also, make sure the bed rails are at least five inches higher than the bunk mattress. These additional safety measures provide the added comfort of knowing that the child sleeping in the top bunk is fully protected and safe.
- Make sure your kids don’t hang anything on the sides of the bunk frame. You never want anything that could wrap around a child’s neck, arm or leg and cause injury or strangulation, even if the child is climbing down from the top bunk and slips on the way down.
- Never screw anything to the side of a bunk bed. While it may look attractive to have a small hat hook or pencil holder next to a wooden bunk bed, those small screws or other protruding objects could scratch or cut the skin if someone were to lose their balance going down the bunk ladder.
- While you can get away with a little less headroom above the bottom bunk, it’s best to make sure your kids have enough headroom to avoid hitting their heads. This guideline is even more important for the upper bunk dweller than the lower bunk dweller, as you don’t want a child to hit their head hard on the ceiling and possibly fall unconscious to floor level. Even checking that your child in the bottom bunk has enough headroom for basic safety purposes is also a good idea.
- Never place a children’s bunk bed near light fixtures or ceiling fans. The bulbs can burn your fingers and toes. Balloons of light can break and shatter. Ceiling fans can create problematic situations. Do you know how tempting it is to throw a teddy bear at a moving ceiling fan to watch it fly through the air? (I know. I didn’t know about this rule when my girls shared a bunk bed, and I remember all the kids with toys, books, and papers whining about the air inside their room and outside their room door!) Have lights or fans near the children in high places lead to too many tempting situations and less than ideal scenarios.
- This last guideline can be so simple that it’s often forgotten, but make sure you set an absolutely zero-tolerance rule that there are no folds, jumps up and down, or horseplay in the top bunk. Then make sure your kids know this absolutely mandatory rule. While it’s never fun to be in charge, it’s better to make sure your kids are safe and sound than to take unnecessary risk of injury and pain.
Following these simple guidelines can allow you to enjoy the benefits of toddler bunk beds while keeping your children warm under their cozy toddler blankets and safe in their loving care.
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