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Bunk Beds: Safety Information for Parents

​​Children love bunk beds, but they can be dangerous. The child in the top bunk can fall out, and the child in the lower bunk can be injured if the upper bunk collapses.

​If you accept these risks and decide to install bunk beds anyway, take the following ​precautions to keep your child safe:

  • Do not allow a child younger than 6 years to sleep in the top bunk. A child younger than 6 years does not have the coordination to climb safely or to keep from falling out.

  • Place bunk beds in a corner, with walls on 2 sides. This not only helps to brace the beds but also eliminates 2 out of the 4 possible sides where a child could fall out of bed.

  • Make sure the top mattress fits snugly within the frame and cannot ride over the edge.

  • Attach a ladder to the top bunk. Place a night-light so your child can see the ladder.

  • Install a guardrail on the top bunk, with a space no wider than 3½ inches between the guardrail and the side of the bunk. Check to make sure your child can’t roll under the guardrail when the mattress is pressed down by the weight of his body. Replace the mattress or place a thick pad under the old mattress if necessary.

  • Check that the mattress is supported by wires or slats that run directly underneath and are fastened in place at both ends. A mattress held up only by the bed frame or unsecured slats could fall through to the lower bunk.

  • If you separate the bunks into twin beds, remove all dowels and connectors.

  • To stop children from falling and avoid weakening the structure, do not allow children to jump or roughhouse on either bunk.​

Last Updated
Sleep: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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