Bunk bed safety

Bunk beds are convenient for kids who share a bedroom. To make sure your children enjoy their bunk safely, be clear with them about the rules of use.

Also, make sure that the bed you own—or are thinking of buying—meets current safety standards. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for assembly to be sure it is put together correctly.

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Using a bunk bed safely

Bunk beds can be very practical. To be sure that they are safely used, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Children must be at least 6 years old before they can use the top bunk.
  • Children should always use the ladder when getting on or off the top bunk.
  • Only 1 person should be on the top bunk at a time.
  • Only play under a top bunk bed if the lower space is designed by the manufacturer as a play area.
  • Keep large toys or heavy objects off the top bunk.
  • Never tie anything to the bed. Cords, sashes or ropes can strangle a child.

Most reported injuries from bunk beds are due to:

  • falls from the top bunk;
  • children getting their heads or bodies caught between the mattress and the bed;
  • children becoming trapped between different parts of the bed;
  • strangulation by cords or ropes tied to the bed.

What to look for when choosing a bunk bed

When you are choosing a bunk bed for your home, make sure it is sturdy and safe.

  • Purchase a bunk bed that meets the latest ASTM International F1427 standard. To know if your bed meets these standards:
    • visit the manufacturer's website,
    • ask your retailer, or
    • check the product label.
  • Check that the bed:
    • has a safety label,
    • comes with instructions for assembly and use, and
    • is undamaged (for example, make sure there are no cracks in welds on a metal bed).
  • Make sure the top bunk has guardrails on all sides, even if the bed will be placed against a wall.
  • Make sure corner posts and ladders do not extend more than 5 millimetres above the guardrails or end panels. This is to reduce risk of clothes being caught.
  • Make sure the ladder is securely attached to the bed and in good condition. Never remove it—for any reason!
  • If replacement parts are needed, only use those from the original manufacturer. Never substitute parts from a different bed.

Get the right mattress.

  • Make sure your mattress is the correct size and thickness for your model of bunk bed. The label on the bunk bed will tell you what size you need.
  • Check that the mattress fits snugly against all four sides of the bed. It should also be at least 127 millimetres below the top guardrails and end panels.

Is it safe to separate bunk beds?

Some bunk beds can be used separately until children are ready for them to be stacked.

If you are considering separating your bunk bed, make sure you are doing it safely.

  • Check if the manufacturer allows for this option. Visit the manufacturer’s website or ask the retailer about separating the beds.
  • Remove guardrails from the top bunk. These rails are designed for children who are 6 years old and above. A younger child could become trapped between the bed and the rails.

Did you know...

Keep bunk beds away from window blinds or curtains with cords. This is to avoid children becoming entangled and possibly strangled.

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