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Bunk Bed Safety - Federal Law and the Consumer Product Safety Commission CSPC

Bunk Bed Safety and Regulation

You love the versatility of bunk beds for your growing family, but you also want to make sure they are safe. Adding sleeping space to your vacation rental, VRBO, or Airbnb will help it stay occupied, but you know that renters are not necessarily thinking about safety or taking good care of your furniture so it needs to be strong and easy to maintain. We've got you covered as the bunk beds that Totally Kids carries meet or exceed and are tested regularly for U.S. Federal standards. If you need help with our vast selection of bunk beds, just contact one of our expert personal shoppers by chat, email, or call at 800-976-0102 and they will happily assist.

CSPC 16 CFR Part 1213, 16 CFR Part 1513, and ASTM F1427-13

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is looking out for you and regulates the manufacture and import of bunk beds at the Federal level. ASTM International adds its own Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bunk Beds as guidance. You'll often see the follow items referenced on bed bunk products or by manufacturers.

  • 16 CFR Part 1213 in regards to adult bunk beds
  • 16 CFR Part 1513 pertaining to children's bunk beds
  • ASTM F1427-13 or the Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bunk Beds containing other requirements for the design and performance of bunk beds

In addition, in 2008 some additional requirements were adding through the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 for children's bunk beds around surface coating, lead and phthalate content limits, testing and certification, and tracking label requirements.

What is a bunk bed?

According to the CPSC it is defined as follows: A bunk bed is a bed with the bottom of its mattress foundation more than 30 inches above the floor. The mattress foundation is the base or support on which you place the mattress. The ends of a bunk bed are the upright parts at the head and foot of the bed to which you attach the side rails.

What are common bunk bed safety considerations?

The rules and regulations are in place to keep children and adults safe from the most common hazards associated with a bunk bed due to the mattress being higher above the floor than normal.

  • Children under the age of 6 should not sleep in the top bunk.
  • Tops of the guardrails must be no less than 5 inches above the top of the mattress.
  • Don't forget considerations such as ceiling fans, light fixtures, or windows when placing your bunk bed.

How high should safety rails or guardrails be and where are they located?

The height of the rails will differ from bed to bed so please pay attention to the their size to appropriately select both a safe and comfortable mattress. If you need some assistance, don't hesitates to check with one of our experts. There is also some helpful information below summarized from the CSPC guidance page.

  • 5 inches is the minimum height.
  • Bunk beds must have at least 2 upper bunk rails, one on each side. A lower bunk with the mattress foundation 30 inches or lower from the floor does not require guard or safety rails.
  • Guardrails on a side of the bed next to a wall or on the side opposite of a ladder must run continuously from one end to the other. If a rail does not attach to the end of the bed, the gap between the end of it and the closest end of the bed cannot be larger than 0.22 inches.
  • A safety rail on the side of the bed away from the wall does not have to run continously between both ends, but the distance between either end of the safety rail and end of the bed closesest to it cannot exceed 15 inches.
  • The fasterners attaching the guardrails to the bunk bed must be released before the rails can be removed. The rail or fastener can also be designed to move in 2 or more different directions, one after the other, to allows the rails to be released.
  • Guardrails must be attached to the bunk bed with fasteners that must be released before the rails can be removed, OR the rail or fastener must be designed to move in two or more different directions, one after the other, to release them.
  • When no mattress is on the top bunk, any space between the bottom of the safety rail and the top of the mattress foundation cannot let the test wedge block pass through freely. The illustration of the wedge block suggested for testing can be found on the CSPC site.

How does this apply to buying a bunk bed from Totally Kids?

Totally Kids has been in business for over 38 years and our knowledge will help you find the right bed for your situation and budget. We've worked with many designers, decorators, and architects in the trade. The requirements for a bunk bed that go into a vacation home that sleeps adults will be very different from your children's first bunk or loft. If you have safety or other questions about a particular bed, please contact our team.

For official word on bunk bed safety requirements and testing, you can head over to the CSPC site's guidance page as well as visit ASTM for the latest.

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