We all remember the joys of sharing a bunk bed as children. You probably even got into a fight for the top bunk. However, you didn't realize as a kid was that lofted beds have built-in risks. Not only can they be dangerous for children, but also for college-age adults who use them to save space in their dorm room.
According to a study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, an estimated average of 36,000 bunk-bed related injuries occurred annually over the 16-year span that was analyzed. Moreover, three-quarters of the children who suffered bunk bed-related injuries were aged 10 or younger.
What's even more alarming is that the higher rate of those injured in bunk-bed related accidents are between the ages of 18 and 21, compared younger age groups. It is believed that the amount of injuries in older age groups is due in part to the likelihood of these individuals using being in institutional environments, thus using bunk beds more. Additionally, their size and increased weight also play a role bed malfunction injuries.
For children less than 3-years old, they were 40 percent more likely to suffer head injuries. This is due to their higher center of gravity that causes them to fall head first. For all ages, falls were the most commonly sustained injury, along with scrapes, cuts, bruises, and bone fractures.
If you're thinking about putting a bunk bed in your kid's room, don't worry, there are ways to prevent bunk bed-related injuries. First, it is recommended that you install guardrails on both sides of the top bunk, with guardrail gaps being 3.5 inches or less to prevent strangulation or entrapment. In addition, check to see if the mattress foundation is sturdy and that the mattress is the suitable size. It is also recommended that you don't allow children under the age of 6 years old to sleep in the top bunk. Lastly, remove hazardous objects from around the bed and avoid placing the bed around ceiling fans or other fixtures.
If bunk-beds are a necessity for your situation, be mindful about the risks and take steps to reduce any accidents or injury. But going without is definitely the safest option for you and your kiddos.