Bunk beds are a convenient and space-saving choice of bed, and many children enjoy climbing a ladder to reach the top bunk. But the very nature and design of bunk beds comes complete with potential dangers, and anyone using bunk beds in their home needs to be aware of safety issues.
A bunk bed consists of a two-tier bed sleeping system, where a single bed (usually) resides on the bottom and another matching bed is cleverly raised above and joined together on a wooden frame. This nifty form of bed allows two people to essentially sleep in the same amount of space that one bed would normally take up. In homes where space is limited, using space vertically in this way helps considerably, and they are usually used in residential settings as a bed for children.
Buying a Bunk Bed
When you’re choosing and purchasing a bunk bed, it’s important to look out for products that are very well made (usually from wood), are solid in their construction, and that conform to safety standards. Bunk beds sold in the UK need to conform with the British Safety Standard number BS EN 747:1993 (in the past, this was BS 6998:1998).
When you’re choosing a bunk bed, try to see one that’s ready made and on display, so that you can check its rigidity and stability and see whether it has smooth or sharp edges. In the past accidents have been caused where children could become trapped or caught between elements of a bunk bed. However, according to newer regulations, bunk beds must have:
No gaps anywhere that are less than 60mm or more than 75mm.
The gap that allows access to the top bunk must be in the safety barrier on one of the long sides of the bed and needs to be a minimum width of 300mm.
Guard rails need to be in place on each side on the top bunk.
The ladder needs to have treads at least 3cm wide and 20cm apart.
The gaps between the slats underneath the mattress needs to be no less than 7.5cm.
The mattress needs to be at least 10cm below the top of the guard rail and needs to fit snugly and securely.
Assembling and Using a Bunk Bed
Most bunk beds need to be assembled by the buyer and, if that’s you, you’ll need to ensure that you follow the instructions completely and produce a secure and safe bunk bed at the end. Make sure that the guard rails are fixed to both sides of the bed, especially on the upper bunk bed, so a child can’t inadvertently fall out. Although in the past some ladders may have been made detachable from the bed, they should be firmly fixed in place as a permanent fixture. If they sway or move when a child is climbing up or down, then this is not good – they should be solid and stable.
Before children use the bunk bed, the importance of safety issues should be explained to them. It’s also helpful to put a few rules and regulations in place, regarding safe use of the bed, such as no leaning over the upper bunk (to prevent falls) and no playing on the ladder. Safety guidelines suggest that the upper bunk should not be used by children under the age of six years old.
Could you explain why the slats that support the mattress should be "No less than 7.5cm" when all other gaps should be no more than 7.5 cm?
Bunkbuilder - 13-Apr-17 @ 8:42 AM
Hi I've beenlooking a beds for my daughter and have found a beautiful bed with steps on one side and a slide on the other. The bed is a lodt style bed and the bottom space is a play house with windows and a door. Having seen recent headlines with a company being investigated and reading lots of things about these playhouse beds I'm confused if these are safe. The company say they arebut I've read that they cannot have slides and play areas unless toy safety tested?Is this the case
Becky - 27-Mar-17 @ 2:16 PM
Hi I need parts for a bunk bed I need a ladder and the 2 top safety rails from
suzihollis - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:32 AM
The top of the mattress shall be at least 160 mm below the upper edge of the safety barriers. The maximum thickness of the mattress shall be permanently marked. Just as an update for the website
The Bunk bed man - 5-Jan-17 @ 10:39 AM
richard - Your Question:
I would like to know of any UK standards for how Sharpe bed rails on mid sleeper beds should be. I have just bought one where my daughter could cut her self on them. At the moment the company bought it from are being aversive with safety certificates
Please see Consumer Rights Act details here which gives you your returns and refund rights if a product is faulty or deemed unfit for purpose. I hope this helps.
SafeKids - 18-Oct-16 @ 12:39 PM
I would like to know of any UK standards for how Sharpe bed rails on mid sleeper beds should be. I have just bought one where my daughter could cut her self on them. At the moment the companybought it from are being aversive with safety certificates
richard - 17-Oct-16 @ 7:48 PM
I can confirm that the safety regulations of Bunk Bed testing have been updated to the current BS EN 747:2012 + A1:2015.
A lot has changed since 1993.. I only know because I work at FIRA International as a Senior Testing Technician specialising in Beds & Tables.
DanTheMan - 8-Jan-16 @ 10:19 AM
Are the specifics above still the case in 2015 and if sohow do you go about things if you have a bunk bed that breaches these safety regulations?
Em86 - 24-Mar-15 @ 8:41 PM
Would love to buy the bunk bed in the picture, where would i get it from.
lisa - 29-Oct-12 @ 7:44 AM
Hello I will like to know if you sale bunk beds and mattress in your shop, If yes do let me know the types and the prices of the one's that you have in stock now so that I will let you know the quantity that am interested in okay and also let me know type of Cc that you take as form of payment okay.Thanks hope to read back from you asap so we can proceed early.
Jack - 27-Sep-12 @ 3:36 PM
Dear Bunk Bed Safety,
I need to purchase beds for large children weighing approx. 12.5 stones, obviously their weights will increase as they grow further! (They are tall also).Space is restrictive but I'm not sure, now, if bunk beds would be very safe/practical?Mattress depth is another issue, possibly - current mattresses (which are new) are 28cm deep.
I would be very grateful for your advice.
concerned parent - 1-Aug-12 @ 7:09 AM
Hello,We wondered if you could let us know where to find the bunk bed shown on your "bunk bed safety" page.
Deb - 22-Apr-12 @ 1:47 AM
A thing you should also add is a new safety guideline which is unknown by many that a room that has a bunk bed should have a separate fire alarm as of the height of the top bunk and smoke rises smoke will be easier to consume the lungs in a house fire if that was to occur.