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Things to look for in a bunk bed

This is not a comprehensive list, but outlines some of the major things to look for when purchasing a bunk bed. Visit the CPSC web site for a complete list of bunk bed requirements.

• Look for a dealer you can trust- one that sells a quality product and will stand behind the product.

• Ask the dealer for information about the weight limits and mattress size (maximum thickness).

• A minimum of 5" from the top of the mattress to the top of the guardrails is required.

• Look for an attached (required) safety sticker and bunk bed instructions outlining safe usage.

• The bed should be made of strong, durable materials with edges that are smooth and rounded.

• Shake the bed vigorously to be sure it is firm and stable.

• Look for beds made of solid woods.
The use of veneers over particleboard is not as structurally strong, is less expensive to construct and are generally not as pleasing to own.

• The ladder should be a generous width and securely attached (not removable by a child).

• Guardrails should be full length on one side, and no less than 15" shorter on the opposite side.

• Guardrails shall be attached so they cannot be removed without releasing a fastening device or applying forces sequentially in different directions.

• The openings in the structure surrounding the upper bunk should be 3 1/2" or less (spaces between bed rail and guard rails and on the end units).

• Look for a bed that allows ample room on the bottom for you and the kids to sit on comfortably. This may minimize the tendency for kids to want to play on the upper bunk. NOTE: shorter beds will allow younger kids to stand on the upper bunk.

Bunk beds can be a safe sleeping and space-saving solution if

• You select a bed that conforms to current safety standards,

• Buy from a reputable dealer,

• Install it correctly

• And supervise its use.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a mandatory safety standard for bunk beds. The purpose of the performance standard is to prevent the unreasonable risk of injury and death from children becoming entrapped in the beds structure or wedged between the bed and the wall.

This federal standard requires bunk beds manufactured or imported for sale in the USA on or after June 19, 2000, to meet these requirements.   
A summary of these requirements can be viewed in this CPSC (pdf) document.

The detailed Federal requirements may be viewed by clicking here.

To visit the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission's (CPSC) web site, click here .



• Prohibit children less than 6 years of age on top bunk.

• Use guardrails on both sides of upper bunk.

• Use only the proper size mattress as recommended by the manufacturer.

• Ensure the thickness of the mattress and foundation combined is at least 5" below the top of the guardrails.

• Prohibit more than one person on the upper bunk

• Prohibit horseplay on or under the beds.

• Always use the ladder for entering and leaving the upper bunk.


Toddler Beds

Toddler beds are the same size as a crib and use a crib size mattress.

We do not recommend buying a toddler bed because children outgrow them very quickly.

Although some people think that sleeping in a bed that is the same size as a crib makes the move easier, the bed is so small that it will be only a short time before you have to buy a new, regular size bed.

Youth Beds

Youth beds are generally shorter and narrower in width than a regular twin bed but larger than a toddler bed.

Prior to the 1980s, youth beds were marketed to accommodate children who had outgrown their cribs yet whose parents wanted a smaller than standard twin size bed. Some came with their own guardrails.

While a youth bed's size is an advantage, it is also its biggest disadvantage, since your child will definitely outgrow it and will eventually need a regular size bed.

When using an old youth bed, look for one where there are no spaces (3 1/2 inches or more) between rails or bars in the head or footboard that pose an entrapment and strangulation hazard.

If you are using an older youth bed, make sure that there are TWO guardrails, that they fit snug up against the side of the bed and that will not move if your child rolls up against them.