Picture it: Your children sharing a room, whispering stories to each other late into the night and finally drifting off into a peaceful sleep. This image could become a reality with a bunk bed. Bunk beds are a great way for your children to bond, and they are also a savior when it comes to preserving space. If your home has limited bedroom space to accommodate your growing children, a bunk bed may be the answer to your prayers.
But first, get to know some bunk bed safety tips before letting your children enjoy their new beds. Most bunk bed-related injuries occur due to falls while sleeping, and these 5 tips will keep your children safely snuggled into their bunks so both you and your children can sleep worry-free.
1. Limit the top bunk to children 6 and older.
A child younger than 6 years old has not yet developed the coordination that allows him or her to safely climb to the top bunk or keep from falling off once up there. For now, let the older sibling sleep on top, and once both children are at least 6 years of age, they can duke it out in true sibling fashion to determine who gets the prestigious top bunk.
2. Place the bunk bed in the corner of the room.
In the corner, the beds will be supported by two walls instead of one, which prevents the bed from shaking and becoming unstable. Many children also toss and turn throughout the night, and with the bunk bed placed in the corner, the walls will prevent your children from rolling off at least two of the edges.
3. Install a guardrail on the top bunk.
Most bunk beds already come with guardrails, but in case the one you have chosen doesn’t, it’s crucial that you get one separately. When installing the guardrail, make sure the space between the rail and the side of the bunk is 3-½ inches or less. This will prevent your child from rolling under the guardrail when the mattress is weighed down. You can also place a layer of padding under the mattress for good measure. In addition, guardrails should extend at least 5 inches above the mattress so your child does not roll over the top.
4. Set up a night light near the bed’s ladder.
If the child on the top bunk needs to use the bathroom or get out of bed for another reason in the middle of the night, a night light will guide him safely down the rungs of the ladder and keep him from slipping and falling.
5. Don’t let the kids play on the bunk bed or ladder.
This will be the hardest task to accomplish as kids naturally want to play everywhere and with everything. The comfy, bouncy mattresses will look inviting to your children, and they may want to turn the beds into an elaborate fort or a playing field for a simple game of tag. Make sure they know the beds are off limits during playtime, and be alert anytime they are in their room.
By using these tips to set up a bunk bed in your home, you can rest assured that your children will be living and sleeping in a safe environment.