Bunk Bed Guidelines For Safety

Many camps have a skilled friend of camp who is willing to do anything and everything to help out around the place.  And, when bunk beds either need retired, or new ones need added due to expansion, they are all too willing to dream up a cool design for a bunk bed, and start nailing boards.  However, few camp helpers, and camp leaders for that matter, are aware that the construction and manufacturing of bunk beds in America are highly regulated with specific guidelines.  So, before you build another bunk bed, give one away, or hopefully try to sell one, consider the following guidelines.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “This (bunk bed) rule reduces the risk that children may be injured or killed from being trapped between an upper bunk and a wall, in openings below the guardrails, or in openings in the ends of bunk beds.’

So, what are the requirements?  According to 16 CFR Part 1213, 1500 & 1513

Guardrails:

(1) Bunk beds must have at least two upper bunk guardrails, with at least one rail on each side.  Lower bunks with mattress foundations that are 30 inches or less from the floor do not have to have guardrails.

(2)The guardrail on the side of the bed next to a wall or on the side opposite to a ladder must run continuously from one end of the bed to the other.  If the guardrail does not attach to an end of the bed, the gap between the end of the guardrail and the nearest end of the bunk bed cannot be greater than 0.22 inches.

(3) A guardrail on the side of the bed away from the wall does not have to run continuously from end to end of the bed, BUT the distance between either end of the guardrail and the end of the bed nearest to it cannot be greater than 15 inches.

(4) Guardrails must be attached to the bunk bed with fasteners that you have to release to take the rails off OR they must require you to move them in two or more different directions, one after the other, to take them off.

(5) The tops of the guardrails must be no less than 5 inches above the top of the mattress.

(6) When you take the mattress off the upper bunk, any space between the bottom of the guardrail and the top of the mattress foundation must not let the wedge block described below pass through freely.

Bunk Bed Ends:

(1) No opening in either end of the upper bunk that is above the mattress foundation can let the wedge block pass through freely.

(2) When you use the thickest mattress and mattress foundation recommended by the manufacturer, the top of each end of the upper bunk must be at least 5 inches above the top of the mattress for at least half of the distance between the posts on each side of the end.

(3) No opening in either end of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk and above the mattress foundation of the lower bunk can permit the wedge block to pass through freely, UNLESS the opening also allows a rigid 9 inch sphere to pass through it freely.

(4) Any opening in either end of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk that is tested with the wedge block must also be tested for the risk of neck entrapment if the opening lets the 9 inch sphere pass though freely.

Where can I find more information?

Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website at http://www.cpsc.gov

or by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Office of Compliance, Washington, D.C. 20207, telephone: (301) 504-7913  e-mail: sect15@cpsc.gov

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