The recent tragic death of a seven-month-old from the UK on a bespoke bunk bed is timely reminder about the dangers of the bed and young children.
Safety Warning Issued
According to the UK’s Mirror Newspaper, Playtime Beds Ltd, an overseas bespoke bunk bed manufacturer, is being investigated following the November 3 death.
Police and Trading Standards has launched an investigation. It has also issued a safety warning to stop using the beds, stating that they could strangle or crush children.
The safety alert lists risks of “asphyxiation or strangulation, falling, entrapment or crushing”.
The family are believed to be not speaking out publicly on the death of their seven-month-old. They made a statement that the matter was “now in the hands of the police”.
All of the company’s bespoke units are now being assessed by Trading Standards.
Bunk Beds in Australia
Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says children are at risk of serious injury if bunk beds are poorly made. It warns people to make sure they buy a bunk bed that meets the mandatory safety standard.
Risks and injuries
Serious injuries can occur if the bunk bed is poorly made or is used incorrectly. Falls are the most common source of injury involving bunk beds, and can be fatal.
Children can suffer:
- concussions and fractures if they fall from a raised bed or top bunk or while trying to climb up or down.
- strangulation or accidental hanging if their head or neck gets caught between gaps in and around the bunk bed, or if clothing is snagged on parts of the bed that stick out.
- injuries to their heads, arms and legs if these become trapped within gaps in the bunk bed structure.
Ensure you get the right mattress for the raised/upper bed. There will often be an identifiable mark on the rail indicating the maximum mattress height allowed. This is to ensure that the effective height of the safety barrier is maintained to prevent children falling.
Although the suitable minimum age to use a bunk bed can vary greatly depending on a child’s maturity and development. Using the top bunk or a raised bed is not recommended for children under nine years old.
Safe Use Of Bunk Beds
- When assembling the bunk bed ensure the guardrails are securely installed on all four sides of the raised bed or top bunk with correct spacing for access openings.
- Check connections and fasteners regularly to ensure they are strong and secure. This is so the bunk bed can hold the weight of the child or adult and won’t collapse.
- Keep the bunk bed clear of blind and curtain cords, heaters, lights and ceiling fans.
- Remove ladders when the bunk bed is not in use so that small children won’t try to climb onto the top bunk.
Check out the ACCC’s mandatory list of safety requirements for bunk beds.
For more information about the UK bed bunk investigation, read here.
Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of moving your child to a toddler bed, read this.