Children of all ages enjoy bunk beds. It is a convenient and fun way for two children to share a bedroom. However, young children have suffered serious injuries or died when:
- they fell from the top bunk
- their bodies slipped between the guard rail and the mattress
- they strangled on a cord or rope tied to the bed
- their heads got caught between parts of the bed
Teach children how to use bunk beds safely and supervise their use. Children under 6 years of age should never use the upper bunk of bunk beds.
Health Canada recommends purchasing only bunk beds meeting the latest American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1427 standard. Know before you buy: check the label, visit the manufacturer's Web site, or ask your retailer to find out if the bunk bed you have selected meets these standards.
Buying a bunk bed
- Check for a label that indicates that the bunk bed meets the requirements of the current ASTM International bunk beds standard.
- Check that the bed comes with instructions for assembly and use and has a label with safety warnings. Read and follow these carefully.
- Check regularly to make sure the frame of the bed is sturdy and in good condition. Metal bunk beds with cracks in their welds should not be bought or used.
- Make sure the upper bunk has guard rails on all sides even if the bed is placed against a wall. Make sure the spaces in the guard rail are small enough so that a child cannot slip through.
- To reduce the risk of clothing getting caught on parts of the bunk bed, make sure parts of the bed, such as corner posts or ladder uprights, do not extend more than 5mm (0.2 inches) above the upper edge of the bed (for example, the guardrails).
- Make sure the mattress fits tightly against all four sides of the bed. The sleeping surface should be at least 127mm (5 inches) below the top of the guardrails and end panels.
- When buying a replacement mattress, ensure it is the correct size and thickness for the bunk bed. The warning label required by the ASTM standard specifies these dimensions.
- The ladder should be in good condition and securely attached to the bed. Do not remove it for any reason.
- Check regularly for product recalls by contacting the retailer, manufacturer or Health Canada.
Using a bunk bed
- Allow only one person at a time on the top bunk.
- Teach children to use the ladder to get up or down.
- Keep bunk beds away from window blinds and curtains with cords, because children can strangle on them.
- Never tie ropes or cords such as belts for bathrobes or skipping ropes to any part of the bed. These can be a serious strangulation hazard.
- Do not allow children to play on or under bunk beds, unless the area under the bed is designed as a play area.
For more information
More about bunk bed safety:
General information about the safe use of children's products: