Bunk bed and loft usage is, due to their elevated design, associated with a certain amount of risk; each year thousands of children under the age of 15 receive medical care for injuries related to bunk beds. Most of the time these are minor in nature and occur when kids fall off the beds, however, some potentially serious hazards lurk under the surface – the aim of this guide is to help you avoid them and reduce the risk to a minimum.
The first thing you need to consider is that the product you want to buy complies with the South African Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. Although it’s not very likely that any of the respectable stores would feature an item that does not conform to the regulations, it costs you nothing to make sure.
Do not allow children under the age of 6 on the top bunk
While they may very well be adroit enough to climb up and down the ladder/stairs, very young children usually haven’t developed a sense of caution that would help govern their behavior on such elevated surfaces. Age 6 seems to be widely agreed on as a sort of turning point in that sense; however, you alone, as a parent, are in the best position to make a judgement on when your child is ready for the top bunk.
Place the bunk bed firmly against the wall
This is to prevent children from becoming trapped between the bunk and wall should they by chance fall over the guardrail. Needless to say, continuous guardrails on both sides should be used at all times.
Instruct your children to always use the ladder or stairs on the bunk bed
When climbing on and descending from the top bunk, children should be instructed to only use the stairs, not the chairs or tables standing near-by or the slats on either end of the bed that may look like climbing structures or alternative ways to get up there that will surely cross their minds. The proper way to climb both up and down is facing the ladder – while it may look easy to descend facing away into the room, only by facing the ladder it is possible to hold on to it securely. It is also a good idea to have the children get up and down a few times in front of your eyes before leaving them alone on the bed.