Kids Bunk Beds
Buying, safety and cost of kids bunk bedrooms
Kids' bunk beds are great as a space-saving solution. If two children are sharing a bedroom and they have conventional single beds, you will usually find that the beds take up almost all the space in the room, however cleverly you position them. Bunk beds solve the problem by letting you fit two beds into the floor-space of one.
Bunk beds are also a lot of fun. Children love the novelty of them, as well as being able to swap beds every night for a different view on the world. Many kids like to hang a sheet or curtain over the bottom bunk and turn it into a den. You may even find that they don't complain any more about having to go to bed.
Costs of bunk beds for kids
Good-quality bunk beds don't come cheap, as you might imagine. Expect to pay between $500 and $600 for a twin standard bunk bed. However, the cost of a standard kids' bed with a wooden frame is usually at least $200, so the bunk beds only work out at just over the cost of two single beds. This is good value when you consider the space-saving potential. Some bunk beds can be dismantled and reassembled as two separate beds, which might be useful if your kids get their own bedrooms later on. However, you usually pay more for this extra flexibility.
Safety precautions for kids' bunk beds
However, there are a few safety precautions you need to take when buying a kid's bunk bed. In the first place, you should buy the bed from a retailer you can trust, and check that it's made by a reputable bedroom furniture manufacturer. Ask the retailer if the bunk beds meet the voluntary safety standards set out by the ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials). You can download a copy of the standards yourself from the ASTM website but you will be charged between $30 and $40 for this. A good bunk bed retailer should already be aware of the ASTM standards, and be able to tell you whether or not their bunk beds conform to these.
Other features should help you double-check that your kids' bunk bed is safe:
There should be a gold safety sticker explaining how to safely use the beds (do not remove this when you've bought the bed)
The upper bunk should have secure guardrails on both sides
If you buy the mattresses with the bunk beds, they should be a snug fit
There should be strong slats to support the mattresses
The ladder should be wide enough for your child to climb comfortably
The ladder should be securely attached at the right angle for climbing
When buying, you should also check whether or not it's possible for your children to sit up on the bottom bunk without bumping their heads. If they can't, don't buy it - the problem will only get worse as they grow.
Using bunk beds - safety precautions for kids
However, even the safest design and manufacture won't stop a bed being dangerous if your kids don't use it correctly, so you'll need to lay down a few house rules about how to use the bunk beds. Firstly, there should be no jumping or other horseplay on the top bunk; in fact, there really shouldn't be more than one person on the top bunk at a time. Don't let younger children (under six) sleep in the top bunk at all. You should also make sure that your children always use the ladder to get up and down, although it's hugely tempting for kids to see bunk beds as a kind of climbing challenge and attempt to scramble up without it.
More tips about kids' bunk beds
Finally, some advice for you: if you put up the bed yourself, you should keep the assembly guidelines in case you ever have to dismantle and reassemble the bed (for example, when moving house). When putting it up for the first time, always allow at least double the time stated by the manufacturer. Instructions usually state that assembly will take between 30 and 45 minutes, so you should allow at least an hour. After the bed is assembled and installed in your kids' bedroom, you should check every now and then that all the parts of the bed are firmly in place.
And now that's all done, all you have to do is choose some fun kids' bedding to finish off the bunk bed.