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Bunk Beds and Toddlers

Updated on August 27, 2011

Are Bunk Beds Suitable With Toddlers In The House?

With the increasing need to maximize space more and more people are investing in bunk beds for their children. Although this is an ideal solution when one is very limited for space it is not always the ideal solution if there are toddlers in the house. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Association recommends that children under the age of six years not be allowed on the top bunk of any bunk beds. According to a ruling passed by this association all manufacturers have to permanently fix a warning in this regard on bunk beds sold in the States.

There are however bunk beds that can be separated and used as stand alone beds. These are ideal for those people whose children have not yet reached the recommended age. The bunk beds can be used as stand alone beds and as the children grow older and need more space to play or do homework the beds can be assembled and used as bunk beds. If you do decide to opt for one of these type of bunk beds it is advisable to find out whether the beds need additional support while not assembled as bunk beds. These beds often require bunkie boards or box springs for extra mattress support only when used as a separate unit.

This type of bunk bed is also ideal for people that have the reverse situation. If your children are young enough to share a bedroom presently but you plan to move them to separate rooms some time in the future then these bunk beds are ideal. Provided the oldest child is six years or older the bunk beds can be utilized as intended and later separated so that each child has his or her own bed.

What Are The Options If Only One Of The Children Are Younger Than Six Years Old?

If only one of your children are under six years old bunk beds can still be a viable proposition provided you consider all the criteria necessary to ensure that this is a safe option for your toddler. Your best bet would be to buy bunk beds that have a ladder than can be moved. This would enable you to remove the ladder from the beds when not in use by the older children. The down side to this option is that permanent ladders are sturdier and more durable.

If you plan on moving your toddler from a crib into the bunk bed it is advisable to look for one that provides the option of fixing guard rails to the bottom bunk. Generally only the top bunk has guard rails but for toddlers who are not used to sleeping in a bed guard rails do provide a measure of safety for the very young child.

What Other Criteria Need To Be Considered?

Other than the above safety factors there are numerous other factors to consider when selecting bunk beds. Firstly if you have low profile ceilings you should choose bunk beds which provide the option of adjusting the height of the top bunk. According to CPSA there must be a two foot gap between the top bunk and the ceiling or any ceiling fixture including light fixtures and ceiling fans.

If you plan on climbing onto the top bunk to read bedtime stories make sure that the weight capacity of the top bunk is sufficient. Bunk beds weight capacity can vary anything between 150 pounds to 300 pounds. Obviously one feels safer the higher the weight capacity of the top bunk is, although for children's use all bunk beds sold on the market have sufficient weight capacity to be considered safe.

Once you have narrowed down your search to comply with your requirements the next factor to consider is whether the bunk beds will fit into the room. Most rooms that have limited space will also be limited to only one side of the bed for access. Make sure that the ladder can be used on either side or the side that will best fit your room.

If you are considering triple bunk beds you will need to make sure whether a left-orientation or right-orientation will suit your needs. Triple bunks beds are usually L-shaped with two of the bunks lofted and the third bunk underneath one of the two lofted beds. As far as safety is concerned there is absolutely no difference between a double and the modern triple bunk beds. The second and third bunk of modern triple bunk beds are elevated to the same level as a double bunk bed.

Additional Options to Consider With Bunk Beds?

If you need storage space, and the chances are you do, then there are various options available with bunk beds. There are matching storage drawers that you can purchase or trundle storage drawers that fit underneath the bottom bunk. Many of these bunk beds that allow for trundle storage units can accommodate a trundle bed in lieu of the storage drawer. This provides you with additional sleeping space for the sleep overs or unexpected guests.

Another very innovative storage option with some bunk beds is the introduction of storage staircases. These replace ladders and provide a safe way to get to the top bunk whilst simultaneously providing storage drawers in the stairs. The stairs are wide and have a non-slip surface and can be used for additional seating in the room.

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to bunk beds for children and if you choose wisely can be an invaluable investment.


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    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for the info Jane!

    • profile image

      Jane from Bed Guards UK 7 years ago

      For an extra layer of safety you can add a discrete foam bed guard to a bunk bed so there is a double barrier to prevent kids falling out.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks Bail Up Glad you found this information useful!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      NO idea triple bunks were now available. Thanks for that info. I was actually looking into turning an outdated guest room into a play/child's bedroom for my two grandsons. Thanks for the bunks idea.