Do you have twin boys or girls? If so, you’ve probably thought of having them share a room and sleep in a bunk bed. However, half of all bunk bed-related injuries involve children under the age of 6 years old and hospital emergency rooms treat 36,000 bunk bed-related injuries to children every year. Many of these accidents can be prevented by waiting until they are a little older and following some basic safety tips.
When keeping your children safe in a bunk bed, you should start before it arrives at your door. Establish the area in your children’s bedroom where the bed will be. The ideal place will be in a corner so that it has walls on two sides and a reduced perimeter that the child in the top bunk can fall out of. Before buying the bed, check for any known safety issues that might trigger a recall or an unsafe condition for sleeping children. If the bed has been on the market for a little while, check the reviews on independent consumer sites to see if there are complaints about safety concerns.
When setting up the bunk bed, make sure the guard rails on the top bunk are at least five inches high and less than 3.5 inches from the mattress. If needed, add an extra board between the mattress and the guard rails. The ladder should be securely fastened in a way that won’t allow it to slip.
Make sure toys and other small items that a child might trip on in the night are put away before the children go to sleep. Night lights are also helpful for children who need to see their surroundings when getting up during the night. Items such as belts, scarves or ropes can strangle a child, so make sure to never hang them on or near the bed.
Your children should know how to climb the ladder to the top bunk and never use anything else, including other furniture, to climb to the top. You should also enforce a rule that there is to be no roughhousing around the bunk bed to prevent them from falling off the top and keep the bed from tipping over on them.
Your twins look pretty cute in their bunk beds, but you might eventually notice that they’re starting to sleep all hunched over because their legs or heads are bumping against the ends of their beds. Many bunk beds for children have a maximum weight that they can support. If your children start to outgrow it, that means an additional risk of their weight becoming too much for that particular piece of furniture and it can collapse, injuring both of them. When the time comes, replace it with something bigger.
With a little preparation, your children will stay safe in their new beds or when they need to get up in the middle of the night and enjoy their new bunk beds that much more. You will have one less thing to keep you awake at night.
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