Posted by Bensons for Beds on 1st Jan 2021

Are bunk beds safe for your children?

Are you on the hunt for a new bed for your little ones bedroom? Kids love bunk beds as they’re fun to sleep in and are great for sleepovers, whereas we love them as they’re a convenient way to make the most of the space in for smaller bedrooms. Bunk beds are a great way of hosting two children in the same bedroom - which makes them a popular choice for siblings who want to share a room. But are bunk beds safe for children to sleep in? The answer is yes absolutely, if you buy the bed from a reputable company and it has gone through the necessary safety checks, there is no reason why it should be unsafe for your child. Choosing the right bunk bed for your child will help them to sleep easy, plus you'll sleep easy too knowing that your little one is safe and getting the quality sleep which they need. 

What are bunk bed safety checks?

All bunk beds that are sold in the UK must conform to the current safety regulations (British Safety Standard number BS EN 747:1993):

 - The mattress should fit the bed securely and should have slats underneath that sit no further than 7.5cm apart from each other

 - All rails should be at least 16cm taller than the mattress

 - The bunk bed should be solidly constructed, and should not have any sharp edges

- The upper bunk should have guardrails on both sides, and the gap atop of the ladder should be 300mm

To check if your bunk bed complies with this ruling, simply measure the structure to see if it falls within these measurements. If it does, then your bunk bed should comply.

How can I ensure my children stay safe on a bunk bed?

Even if your bunk bed has passed the necessary legal safety requirements, there are some things you can do to minimise risk. We know that with an elevated bed such as a bunk bed, your concerns for your child are of course heightened. But, we're here to help put your mind at rest. Here's a few tips of what you can do to make sure your child is safe on their bunk bed:

1. Follow the assembly instructions down to a tee. Don’t cut corners when assembling the bunk bed, as this could result in it not being structurally sound and could be dangerous for your children to sleep on.

2. Do not allow children under the age of six to use the top bunk. Bunk beds are only suitable for children aged 6 and older, so save that top bunk for the oldest child to make sure that both children great a safe nights sleep.

3. Remember, it’s a bunk bed, not a climbing frame. The only part of a bunk bed that’s meant to be climbed on is the ladder, so it’s important to set ground rules with your children to help avoid any mishaps. Although a bunk bed is a great way to encourage your child's imagination, ensure they know that they must never swing or climb on any part of the bed other than the ladder. 

4. Only let one child on the top bunk at once. Bunk beds are designed for sleeping and not for playing, so it’s important to let your children know it’s one at a time.

5. Don’t hang anything off the bunk bed. This includes clothes and bedding as it could be dangerous. If your child wants to decorate their bunk bed and make it feel more personalised, encourage them to do this with exciting bedding, pillows or even by adding removable stickers to the bunk bed - these are all much safer ways of giving your bunk bed a personalised touch.

6. Consider placing a rug under the bunk bed if the room isn’t carpeted. In the unlikely event that your child falls from their bunk bed, this could reduce the chance of serious injury. Plus, adding a rug is a great way to add a touch of colour to your child's bedroom. 

7. Choose the right mattress for your child's bunk bed. Although bunk beds come with safety rails, its important to make sure your mattress is no thicker than 15cm to ensure that the safety rails are at the right height. You can still choose from a variety of mattresses, from pocket sprung to memory foam - but remember to make sure your mattress is the right thickness, in order to keep your bunk bed as safe as possible. 

8. Once you've taken care of all of the above, the only thing left to do is ensure your child knows how to get in and out of the bunk bed safely. This might sound obvious, but unless you go through it step-by-step, it would be understandable for a child to try and climb down the ladder facing forwards, instead of rolling onto their tummy first and going down facing the bed. There's no harm in coaching your child in getting in and out of the bunk bed a few times, instructing them to lie on their tummy, put their feet out and to wait until they can feel the ladder with their foot before starting to go down.

For more sleep tips, advice and news, keep an eye on the Bensons blog. Struggling to get your kids into a bedtime routine? Read our tried-and-tested tips for helping young children get to sleep at night.