An Australian Standards handbook for bunk bed safety is now available to the holiday accommodation industry.
Queensland Commissioner for Fair Trading, David Ford, said the handbook was another tool in the Queensland Government’s ongoing campaign to reduce childhood injuries.
“According to the Queensland Injury Surveillance Unit, bunk bed-related injuries account for approximately 450 hospital emergency department presentations across Queensland each year,” Mr Ford said.
“85 per cent of these injuries are the direct result of a fall from a bunk bed, with most injuries suffered by children aged five to nine years old.
“While parents can control the quality of the bunk beds in their home, they have less influence over beds used in holiday accommodation. That’s why it’s so important for businesses to be aware of the safety standards and what’s required of them,” he said.
Mr Ford said that the bunk bed safety campaign was initially sparked by the tragic death of a child as a result of a fall from a bunk bed in 2002.
“The Queensland Government has implemented a number of initiatives recommended by a specialist working party since then.
“Although the working party did not endorse a recommendation to remove bunk beds from private homes, it did recommend improving government efforts to raise awareness of bunk bed safety.
“This handbook is the latest step in the ongoing campaign to educate businesses so we can do away with preventable injuries.”
Mr Ford said that while the handbook would help accommodation owners make their bunk beds safer, parents had a big role to play when it came to protecting their children.
“Whether your children use bunk beds everyday or just on holidays, there are some simple rules you can follow to help protect them:
- never allow children to play on or around bunk beds
- never allow a child under nine to use the top bunk
- do not use the top bunk if it has no rails – put the mattress on the floor
- before making a holiday booking, check with the renting agency or letting agent whether bunk beds meet the latest standards
- check ladders are properly attached and provide safe access to and from the top bunk, and
- familiarise yourself with the mandatory safety standard – if you have an old bunk that does not meet the standards get rid of it and get a new one that does.
“I encourage all accommodation providers to seriously consider adopting the safety requirements and risk management practices outlined in the handbook,” Mr Ford said.
For a copy of the handbook visit www.saiglobal.com
Queensland Office of Fair Trading media contact, Vanessa Kendall, (07) 3247 5970
Queensland Office of Fair Trading 13 74 68
ACCC Infocentre 1300 302 502