Bunkbed Related Risks and Injuries for Young Ones

October 30th 2018

In the 90s bunkbeds became the latest must-have item for young ones and have remained popular. However, the majority of parents do not anticipate the injuries that could occur after buying their children a bunk bed.

The main points that make bunk beds an attractive option is the ascetics and space it can create in a room; therefore, it is widely used in the military, on trains and also shops. However, when it comes to children, specifically those ages six and under it can become a high-risk factor in the home.

A personal experience I had on a bunk bed resulted in falling down on my head from a bunk bed in an effort to grab a balloon my brother had. The fall left me concussed and today would have required a night in the hospital.

Statistics show that others have suffered far greater, a study of 218 bunk-bed accidents reported:

Falls from the top bed during sleep (35.1%) or while playing (34.4%) and falling off the ladder (23.2%) are the leading causes of bunk-bed accidents.

Of these accidents, 58.3% resulted in minor injuries with 18 fractures in other locations than the long bones or cranial vault, 89 contusions and sprains, 18 skin lacerations and 2 tooth fractures.

The results of the study provide proof of the risk that bunk beds can pose for young ones. Not all injuries result from rough play but can result when sleeping, and malfunctions. In the USA more than 35,000 patients under age 21 landed in emergency rooms each year between 1990 and 2005 due to a bunkbed-related incident.

Due to the risks involved with bunk beds efforts have been made by parents to prevent bunk bed accidents.  Although our advice is not to have bunkbeds, if you do chose to have one here are some tips to make bunk beds safer:

Following instructions to the letter – construction may seem easy but as injuries can result from malfunctions it is always best to follow instructions exactly.
Guardrails on both sides of the top bunk – guardrails are required to prevent people from falling off however the measurements should be exact. The rails should be a minimum of five inches beyond the top of the mattress. Gaps in the guardrails should be at a maximum of three and a half inches to ensure that your child can not slip through the gaps of the guardrail or fit their head between the gaps.
The positioning of the bunk bed – It is best to place the bunk bed in the corner of a room so only two sides of the bed are exposed, with the other two against the wall.
Teach children to climb safely – Children should be taught to not play on the ladder and a light/ lamp should be positioned close to the bed, so children can properly when they climb up and down the ladder in the night.
Only allow older children to sleep on the top bunk – It is recommended that children younger than 6 should not sleep on the top bunk as younger children are not coordinated enough to climb down safely and prevent themselves from falling off.

Even with all safety measures in place If such a fall occurs, depending on the injuries, the victim should be taken to the hospital, preferably by calling 112 and asking for an ambulance.

You should provide care at the location of the injury, without moving the victim. If unconscious, ensure there is an open airway and adequate breathing. If conscious do not move the victim while you wait for the ambulance.

EMP medic provides first aid training courses in Cyprus where you can learn how to deal with such emergencies.