If you are looking to buy a set of low height bunk beds, then you should check out the things that I took into account when I bought some for my daughter Amelia. Even though she has a room to herself she wanted some, but when we went to have a look at bunk beds in Ikea, she was a little put off by how tall they were.
So, we didn’t buy any on that shopping trip but a few days later she said she still wanted some but asked if she could have some “lower bunk beds”.
Honestly, at the time I didn’t even know if that was a thing, but I said I’d see if I could find some. Thinking about it later I guessed I couldn’t be the only parent interested in buying some lower bunk beds so decided to investigate.
What I found out, and have written here, should save you a lot of legwork.
It turns out I wasn’t the only parent who had issues with the height of them and therefore there are some lower height ones available. I guess some parents have concerns about the safety aspect of bunk beds in general so I do cover that in this article.
Some young children have trouble climbing down from the top bunk in the night to go to the loo or get a drink of water. So, by buying some lower than standard bunk beds your child has the fun and comfort aspect of bunks whilst managing yours and their concerns.
There doesn’t seem to be a universal standard size but most “standard” bunks are about 170 – 180 cms which is 5.4 inches up to six foot tall. When I looked into heights, I also discovered that ideally from the top of the top mattress to the ceiling should have a clearance of about 80 cms ideally.
It is certainly worth measuring the ceiling height in your son or daughters’ room before you go ahead and order any bunk beds.
When I started to look into them more closely, I found that although there are not so many options to choose from you can find lower than standard bunk beds and some great loft bed choices.
What I like about bunks is the space saving aspect of them. Because we don’t use the bottom bunk Amelia uses the space under the bunk for her desk. She loves to do her homework there. See other space saving bedroom ideas here.
Low bunk beds do limit the number of different designs available, but you can’t put a price on peace of mind. If you take the time to research though you can find some good ones that have desks or play areas.
As the desk/play area is obviously smaller than with a standard height bunk bed you could opt for one that has storage underneath or a bookshelf.
I’m sure like me the first thing that came into your mind when your child asked if they could have bunk beds was, the safety aspect. Are bunk beds safe? Was something I needed to know the answer to.
I looked into the safety aspect quite keenly and found that most of the problems that have arisen over time were due to the way they were used and not anything to do with the design themselves.
If kids are going to be jumping off them or pillow fighting on the top bunk etc then of course accidents will happen.
I was fairly confident that my kids were less likely to be swinging off them like Tarzan. Also as long as the bunks are put up correctly with the guardrails in place then there is literally no chance your child would roll out of it while sleeping.
That said I was in favour of the low bunk beds options as like any mom I’m always going to worry. They can be used by older children of course but make perfect sense for younger ones.
I’ve been asked by friends “can bunk beds collapse” and the fact is they shouldn’t but if you do have boisterous boys who are likely to be bouncing around on them then you should check that all the bolts remain tightly done up every so often.
As long as you buy from a reputable retailer you can be sure the bunks will meet the relevant UK standards. (British Safety Standard: BS EN 747:1993). However, there are some things I researched and will share here that will certainly help you make the bunk beds you buy as safe as possible.
Only allow kids over six years of age to sleep or even sit on the top bunk. You should give strong guidance to your children to not “play” on them at all at any age.
Most accidents involving bunks are from falls and the vast majority of those involve the children playing and jumping around on them.
Make sure the ladder is secure and have a guardrail on both sides on the top bunk. Just because one side is up against the wall doesn’t mean they can’t slip down on that side.
It is better though to fit the bunks into a corner of the room if possible because that will keep them more rigidly in place.
Make sure any bunks you choose have slats under the mattress with gaps no more than 7.5cm apart.
Ensure the guardrails are at least 15cms higher than the beds mattress is.
I have a small LED light on the wall that illuminates the ladder so they can see clearly to climb down if they need the loo during the night.
I’m not one to be telling anyone how to deal with their kids so let me just say what I did when we got the bunk beds. Whether you have a similar chat with your children or how you deal with it is entirely up to you.
We sat down together and set out some ground rules with Amelia. I didn’t want to scare her, but I thought it important to get her to understand that these were beds not toys.
I checked on the Royal society for the prevention of accidents (RoSPA) website and they clearly state that the majority of accidents involving bunk beds happen when kids are climbing on them and jumping around as if they are in an adventure playground.
So we talked about the fact that at no time should she and her brother both be on the top bunk together and the ladder must be used when they wanted to get down. I also stressed the importance of not hanging clothes from it or tying anything to it.
I stressed that because the thing that scared me the most, even though it is quite rare, was that some children in the past have got tangled up and strangled themselves.
Apart from obvious things like making sure the beds are built correctly, here are a couple of extra things you should consider. Make sure you test it out before you let your kids sleep in it.
I placed a nice rug on the floor of the bedroom by the bunks so if the worst happened and there was a fall from the top bunk it would minimise the chances of injury.
De-clutter in the area immediately around the bed. I moved all the toys, and bedside tables away from the area near the bunks.
The bunk bed should be positioned clear of light fittings, windows and ceiling fans.
When I investigated bunk bed safety, I did find that the industry recommends that only children six years of age and older should be allowed to sleep on the top bunk.
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Amelia really loves her bunk beds and we are so glad we took the plunge and bought some. So as long as you follow the safety guidelines bunk beds are a great addition to your child's bedroom.