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Bunk bed safety guide

Last updated: February 2024

Anderson bunk bed

Bunk beds are a staple in many modern homes today – especially in large families or those who live in small properties. While they have obvious space-saving qualities, safety is something that remains at the forefront of manufacturers’ and parents’ minds. After all, the height of the top bunk can be a little worrying, and with some talk of bunk bed related injuries going around, knowing how to keep your little ones safe in these beds is a good idea.

Are bunk beds safe?

Bunk beds are completely safe, if you follow certain safety rules:

  1. Firstly, make it clear to your children that although bunk beds are a sociable sleeping area, they’re never be used as a play area.
  2. Bunk beds should also be used correctly, i.e. only use the ladder provided for climbing into the top bunk. Never substitute it for an alternative ladder or use other pieces of furniture to climb onto.
  3. Make sure that there’s a safe distance between the top bunk mattress and the ceiling – it’s recommended that you have at least two feet (60.96cm) between the upper bunk and the ceiling to prevent any bumps.
  4. Only one child should sleep in the bottom or top bunk at any time.
  5. Children under the age of 6 years should not sleep on the top bunk.
  6. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on weight limits for the top and bottom bunks (each sleeping area limit is usually around 75-100kg).
  7. Ensure that the bed is assembled correctly and regularly check fittings to make sure it remains sturdy.
  8. Use bed safety rails or a bunk bed guard for extra piece of mind, as these will prevent kids from rolling out of bed in their sleep.
  9. Mattresses should be no deeper than 15cm to fit properly within the bunk bed frame.

At what age are bunk beds safe?

Bunk beds are mostly suited to children between the ages of 4 and 16. However, only children aged 6 years and above should sleep in the top bunk, so make sure your child is the right age for bunk beds before letting them climb into these beds. Even if an older child is sleeping in the upper bunk, it’s still a good idea to use bunk bed guard rails to stop them from falling out and injuring themselves.

If you're not sure bunk beds are the solution for your child, dont worry. There are also a wide range of other kids' beds that suit all ages such as mid sleepers which are elevated closer to the ground and offer great space saving solutions, and high sleeper beds, which are higher up and maximise space on the floor.

Are bunk beds good for toddlers?

You may be thinking about buying a bunk bed if you have a second child on the way, or even as a child’s first bed. But it wouldn’t be safe to place a toddler or a baby in a bunk bed and babies should only sleep in a cot. Make sure your child is the right age for bunk beds before getting them one!

It can be helpful to allow your child to sleep in a normal sized bed first, but even then, they might not know the importance of being safe in a bed, so we don’t advise it. And toddlers certainly shouldn’t sleep in the top bunk.

If you’re looking to move your toddler into their first big bed, you should first check out our guide.

Are bunk beds safe for adults?

Yes, adults can use bunk beds, but this does depend on their size. Most bunk beds are designed to support a child’s weight, though some of the more secure bunk beds can support an adult’s weight, and others are designed for adults to use as well. This means it’s advised to check the specifications for weight limits.

Younger adults could become more prone to injury from bunk beds because of their increased size and weight as they grow older, which may exceed the bed’s limits, so as your child grows their bunk bed may stop meeting their requirements. In this case, a normal bed may suit them better.

Our bunk bed safety checks

All our bunk beds at Dreams have passed an EN/BS 747:2012 +A1:2015 safety test. This specifies requirements for the safety, strength and durability of bunk beds and high beds for domestic and non-domestic use. The loads and forces in the strength and durability tests apply to beds with an internal length greater than 140cm and a maximum bed base width of 120cm. The dimensional requirements are intended to minimise the risk of accidents, particularly to children. The strength and durability requirements are intended to represent use by one occupant per bed.

How to make bunk beds safer

As mentioned above, apart from using child bunk bed guards, ensuring you’ve got the correctly sized mattress, making sure kids aren’t playing on the bed, and so on, there are more ways of turning up the Richter scale of safety. Getting safe bunk beds to begin with is important, but extra steps can help give you peace of mind and your children a safety net. We suggest placing a soft rug beside the bunk bed in case of any accidents. You can also get bunk beds with stairs instead of ladders to make it a little more user friendly and minimize the risk of falls from the top bunk for younger children.

Do bunk beds need special mattresses?

Most of the time, bunk beds should not have mattresses more than 15cm deep, especially on the upper bunk. This is for safety reasons as a deeper mattress can stop the side guards from doing their job properly. Therefore, we recommend pocket spring, traditional spring, or kid's mattresses in order to keep safe bunk beds working properly. In terms of length and width of mattress, you need to choose either a standard UK single, a standard EU single, or a small single mattress depending on which bed frame you’ve chosen.

If you need more help with getting everything sorted for your bunk beds, you can read more about mattress sizes on our mattress size guide, or for kids mattresses, check out our kids mattress buying guide.