Safely securing a bunk bed mattress is a crucial step in the assembly processes.Bunk beds are frequently your child's first "big kid" bed, but the fun is over when a he or she is injured or killed because of an improperly secured mattress. Thousands of kids show up at local hospitals every year after falls and other injuries from bunk beds.Although the injuries are usually minor, there have been many incidents of serious injury or death from things like improperly installed mattresses or unsecured ladders.You should do everything you can to ensure your child's safety, and allow the bunk bed to be remain the fun sleeping arrangement it was intended to be. To avoid potential injury, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure to safely secure the mattresses when you initially set up the beds. Below you'll find some helpful safety tips to keep in mind when putting together your bunk bed.
Bunk bed mattresses come in three sizes that match the actual bunk bed frame: twin, full and twin extra long. A full mattress is a full five inches longer than the twin. On some bunk beds, the top bunk frame is a completely different size from the bottom bunk frame. Consult your manufacturer's instruction manual, and make absolutely sure you get the right mattress for the right frame. If you get the wrong sized mattress, you risk creating gaps between the mattress and the footboard, headboard or guardrail. Children have died when they fell between the gap created between the headboard or the footboard because of a too small mattress on a too long bed frame. Kids have also strangled when they slipped feet first through the gap between the guardrail and the mattress and gotten stuck. Make sure that the gap between the mattress and the guardrail is no more than 3.5 inches wide. You may close any gap between the frame and the guardrail by screwing and nailing in additional boards.
The slats are long pieces of wood that run horizontally underneath the mattress.The mattress can either be supported by full slats attached to each side of the bed frame, or supported by slats resting on blocks of wood which are attached to the sides of the frame. In either case, you need to make sure that the mattress is fully secured. Otherwise, it can be easily dislodged by a kicking child on the lower bunk, falling and possibly crushing or smothering him. Secure crossties under the mattresses to provide additional support. You can also add friction to the slats by wrapping rubber bands around the ends of the slats where they touch the guardrail. This will prevent them from accidentally slipping. Keep the crossties and other security features in place even if you end up using the bunk beds as individual beds. It's also important to make sure the guardrails extend at least five inches above the mattress surface. This will help prevent a small child from accidentally rolling off.