At what age are bunk beds considered safe for small children?

Bunk beds save space and can make your child feel more grown up, but you do need to take care to ensure that they are safe for your child. A bunk bed raises the child up well above the ground and creates a possibility of injury occurring unless you take the right steps to make the bunk bed into a safe place. Children are likely to play in their bunk bed and this can lead to falls, but commonly falls also occur during sleep. There are steps you can take to make safe bunk beds safer for children, but they need to be ready before you allow them into the upper bunk too. Here we explore when it is safe for children to use a bunk bed.

What age is safe?
Doctors at the Royal Aberdeen Hospital recommend that children are not allowed into the upper bunk of a bunk bed until they are over the age of six. Before the age of six, children do not have the coordination skills required to safely manoeuvre themselves into and out of the upper bunk of the bed. To do so requires strength of muscles and flexibility and coordination that are not usually possessed by those under this age.

What other steps can be taken to make bunk beds safer?
Bunk beds can be made safer by following some simple steps that can help to prevent injury. Keeping children under the age of six out of the top bunk is a good starting point, but there are other ways to make them safer, including the following:

Only allow one child in the top bunk

The most common cause of injuries from bunk beds comes from children playing in the bunk bed and treating it like a climbing frame. Keeping multiple children out of the top bunk will make this less likely to occur and will keep children safer.

Secure the ladder
Installing a secure ladder that is firm and will not move can help to prevent slips and falls when getting in and out of the top bunk.

Install a roll guard
The majority of cases where children fall out of the top bunk occurs when they are asleep. Installing a high roll-guard on the bed can completely prevent this from happening and makes it much safer.

Do not allow playing on the bunk
Playing games or ‘rough housing’ on the bunks will greatly increase the likelihood of children falling. Keeping them away from the bed apart from at night is a good way to keep your children safe.

Clear the area of furniture
Keeping the area clear of other furniture and keeping the floor clear of anything that could create a hard landing will also help to reduce the risk if a fall does occur.

Do not use it as a clothes horse Hanging clothes or towels from the bunk bed adds something that can slip onto the frame, which can cause your child to fall when they are climbing. Keeping the bed clear will help to keep it safe.
Bunk beds are a great way for small families to save space and it also gives you the chance to upgrade your child to a ‘big boy bed’, but there are risks to their use. Keeping children under the age of six out of the top bunk is recommended and you should take steps to make the bunks as safe as possible too. Safe bunk beds are an excellent addition to any family home as long as you follow the simple safety rules above.