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Bunk bed safety

nightchefnightchef Registered User Posts: 1,450 Senior Member
edited May 2011 in Parents Forum
Just dropped our kid off today, and as the last arrival in a forced triple, he got the top bunk. He's never slept in a bunk bed before (and neither have I, so I have no experience to bring to the situation). He seems fine with it, but I'm worried. He's never fallen out of bed that I can remember, but then he's had a full sized bed since he was pretty young, and he is a restless sleeper--he tosses and turns a lot and often winds up in an odd position.

I assumed that I was being a worrywart, and Googled "bunk bed safety" to reassure myself. Bad idea. Turns out there are tens of thousands of bunk bed injuries every year, and they're not all little kids--in fact there's a spike among 18-to-21 year olds. All the articles about this emphasize the importance of guard rails, yet the bunk beds at my son's school do not have this feature.

I don't want to put unnecessary fears in his head or make a fuss about nothing. But I don't want to get a call some night that he's in the emergency room with a broken arm or concussion and find myself wishing I had done something about it.

What are other parents' experience/opinions about this?
Post edited by nightchef on

Replies to: Bunk bed safety

  • AtomicCafeAtomicCafe Registered User Posts: 867 Member
    I'm not a parent, but I've been in bunk beds for about six years of my life and currently have one in my dorm. [Thankfully, we have sleeping porches, so if anyone falls, there are 20 girls to call the police.]

    One thing I've noticed is that people who don't fall out of their regular beds don't fall out of their bunk beds. HOWEVER, if your son is the kind of sleeper where he has a leg and an arm off the mattress, it may be something to worry about. Some of my friends began the year by tucking their sheets in really tightly on three sides and then sort of mummifying themselves in there until they felt totally safe. If that still doesn't make him/you feel safe, it may be worth it to try lining the floor with some pillows and blankets just in case. [My parents did that for me when I got my first bunk bed. Of course, the real hazard of that bed was having a nightlight on it which set my bed on fire one night....]

    Generally, though, most people are pretty fine in bunk beds. Just be careful what he puts in there [too many pillows, lamp] since it could be a danger to him and his roommate if it falls on his head!
  • YauYau Registered User Posts: 353 Member
    Not a parent but wanted to chime in.

    I'm a major roller. I toss my sheets to floor and love hanging my arms/legs off the sides of the beds. Even when I slept in my home bunk bed I'd wake up sprawled across the wood railing. I've been in a couple itsy bitsy tiny bunk beds during camp or school sleep-aways. I even put my freshman college bed so high I had to jump or use a chair to get into it. Fearing my rolling and love of sides I thought for sure I would end up on the floor at least once. I'm happy to say I've never fallen out! In the tiny beds without rails (where laying flat on your back your body would practically be touching the edges) I noticed I hardly moved at all and my sheets were never on the floor. In my slightly larger dorm bed I'd roll in place instead of into the railings like my old home bunk bed (yes- rolling into the railings left continuous bruises.) It would tangle my sheets but still hasn't resulted in me rolling off.

    I wouldn't worry about it.
  • college_ruledcollege_ruled Registered User Posts: 1,243 Senior Member
    Some colleges will put on guard rails if the student requests them.

    It is safest if the beds are made such that the person on the bottom bunk's feet are on the side where the top bunk occupant climbs up. The top bunk occupant should sleep the other direction so that if he gets sick at night he vomits by the roommates' feet, not head.

    I had a lofted bed for about a month my first year of college. I never really felt safe up there, and seriously considered getting one of these:ToddlerCoddler > About BedBugz. Luckily, I eventually got detrippled, but not before I got sick and spent the night on the floor.
  • NaturallyNaturally Registered User Posts: 1,308 Senior Member
    I wouldn't worry about it. He'll be fine.
  • heyalbheyalb Registered User Posts: 956 Member
    I'm actually amazed that somebody first called dibs on the lower perch --- in the pecking order, the top bunk is preferred.

    If you Google anything, there's somebody who got hurt from it. As I type, I'm guessing there have been more computer-typing-related injuries in the past year than bunk bed injuries. And yet, I continue to post here.......

    Cross this one off your list of worries. ;)
  • martina99martina99 Registered User Posts: 855 Member
    ^^ This is so true. I googled a not very serious health issue I was having last year, and reading about it on line, you'd think I just had six months to live, filled with suffering and hideous symptoms.
  • anothercrazymomanothercrazymom Registered User Posts: 1,736 Senior Member
    I think the people who fall out of bunkbeds frequently have had too much to drink, hence the spike in injuries of 18-21 year olds. No hard of evidence of this at all of course just speculation. My S debunked his beds, he hated the top bunk in BS. I think it was because you couldn't have a nightstand, now i suspect it has something to with girlfriends and sleepovers, sigh, I don't ask questions when I don't care to hear the answer.
  • Sop14's MomSop14's Mom Registered User Posts: 792 Member
    The biggest problem with bunkbeds is that when one person moves, the whole bed usually shakes. Falling out is unlikely to be an issue.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 16,630 Senior Member
    I never understood why these loft/bunk beds don't have at least a small guard - a few inches higher - even for college students. I think a lot of kids lose a few nights sleep worrying about this at the start of the school year.

    My D took her long body pillow and would kind of tuck it in the space between the frame and mattress so it was kind of like a "bumper" (think bumper bowling :) ) - that helped some.
  • ElmorellElmorell Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    My roommate fell out of his top bunk one time... let the record show he was extravagantly drunk, and he was fine.
  • collegeshoppingcollegeshopping Registered User Posts: 1,935 Senior Member
    At the dorms in the few colleges that I have first hand experience, lofted or bunked beds must have a guard rail. It is simply not optional.
  • abasketabasket Registered User Posts: 16,630 Senior Member
    Neither of my kids schools have guard rails and I don't recall seeing them at schools we visited. Kind of one of those "huh?" things.
  • collegeshoppingcollegeshopping Registered User Posts: 1,935 Senior Member
    ^^^at niece's college they are bolted on the beds and they have to sign a paper saying they will pay a fine of $100 if removed. Of course on the "big kid note" they think the rails are dumb. Her word, not mine.
  • megpmommegpmom Registered User Posts: 3,114 Senior Member
    D freaked out after having to sleep in lofted bed w/o rails at freshman orientation. Needless to say, she did not choose to loft her bed. And is very thankful not to be in a triple.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,009 Senior Member
    For crying out loud!

    I slept in a top bunk for 4-5 years as a kid, and for 5 semesters in college (the last of which had my desk, not another bed, under the bed). No guard rails. No falling out. No problems. I am sure that the web shows that people fall out of bunk beds and get injured, but I have never met or even heard of such a person in my life, a good deal of which was spent in communities where bunk beds were pretty normal, and guard rails were not.
This discussion has been closed.