QLD: Spring into bunk bed safety these school holidays

Published: 
13 Sep 2013

From 21 October 2013 bunk beds supplied in short-term rental accommodation in Queensland will have to meet mandatory safety standards.

Families taking children on holidays over the upcoming school holidays are reminded to check the safety of bunk beds in their accommodation.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said that while there were current safety standards in place for bunk beds, old bunk beds that may still be in use in short-term rental accommodation could put children at risk.

“Recent figures show almost 300 children are treated in Queensland hospital emergency departments each year with bunk bed-related injuries,” Mr Bauer said.

“Most of these injuries were the result of children aged five to nine years falling from a bunk bed.

“A tragic death in the UK late last year also highlighted the danger of placing infants on the bottom bunk, where there is a risk of accidental hanging if they become trapped between the mattress and the ladder.”

Bunk beds or regular beds are not a safe place for a baby to sleep. Babies should only sleep in a cot or portable cot compliant to Australian Standards.

Mr Bauer said that while parents can control the quality of bunk beds in their homes they have less influence over beds used in holiday accommodation.

“In the lead up to the busy holiday period parents should check with accommodation providers before making a booking to ensure bunk beds meet safety standards” Mr Bauer said.

“If not, they should consider a room without bunk beds or moving bedding to the floor.”

Parents should know that whether their children use bunk beds everyday or just on holidays, there are seven safety steps they should follow to help protect them:

  1. Only children over nine years of age should use bunk beds (but preferably older than 12).
  2. Consider using single beds as a safer alternative to bunk beds.
  3. Don't allow children to play on bunk beds.
  4. Allow at least two metres of clearance between ceiling fans and bunk beds.
  5. Ensure the ladder is firmly fixed to the bunk bed.
  6. Ensure there are no gaps of between 95mm and 230mm that could trap your child's head.
  7. On the top bunk, make sure that the top of the guardrail is at least 160mm above the top of the mattress to prevent children rolling out.

For more information visit www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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