Bunk beds are not a safe choice for young children.
Much of the information in this topic comes from 'Bunk beds – safety alert' brochure published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) October 2007.
Bunk beds are not suitable for children under the age of nine. The greatest risk of injury in a bunk bed occurs until this age. This is important in caravans as well as houses.
Dangers include falling from the top bunk or trapping small heads and limbs, often leading to serious or even fatal injuries.
While some falls occur during sleep, there is also a danger of falling when children play on the bunk bed. Having young children sleep on the bottom level is not enough to keep them safe, since they are very likely to climb to the top level when they are playing.
If there is not enough space for separate beds, trundle beds are safer than bunk beds.
- Select a bunk bed that complies with the mandatory safety standard based on the Australian Standard for bunk beds AS/NZS 4220. Look for a label or sticker that says the bunk bed complies with the mandatory standard. If there isn't one, ask the retailer. If the retailer cannot verify that it complies, do not buy it.
- Check that there are no gaps sized 95mm to 230mm in any part of the bed, including guardrails, to prevent children trapping their heads. (There is a picture of a suitable bunk bed in the brochure.)
- Look for guardrails or bed ends on all sides of the upper bed, ensuring that the tops of the guardrails are at least 160mm (about the length of a ball point pen) above the top of the mattress to prevent children rolling out.
- Check that ladders are firmly fixed and stable. It should be easy for children to get in and out of the bed safely.
- Check that all tube ends are plugged on metal tubular bunk beds.
- Check that all nuts and bolts are flush and smooth, and there are no things that stick out more than 8mm that could catch onto clothing.
- Ensure the upper bunk is more than 2 metres from ceiling fans
- Regularly check that nuts and bolts are tight.
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.