July 31, 2008

Parents Advised About Bunk Bed Injuries

Canadian government officials advise consumers to exercise caution in purchasing and using bunk beds.

Since 1987, Health Canada has received reports of 61 incidents involving injuries linked to bunk beds. Twelve of these were related to strangulation or suffocation by entrapment and eight of these incidents resulted in death. The remaining injuries were related to falls.

Injury data obtained from the database of the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program -- a system that collects and analyzes information on injuries on those seen at the emergency rooms of 10 pediatric hospitals and four general hospitals -- indicate that between 1999 and 2006, there were 2,530 bunk bed-related injuries in Canada. More than 65 percent of the injuries were related to the top bunk.

Health Canada officials recommend parents purchasing a bunk bed, make sure it meets the latest version of the American standards -- ASTM F1427. If there are no labels indicating compliance with this standard, the parents should ask the store or contact the manufacturer before buying.

Health Canada also advises the top bunk is not safe for children under age 6 and say guard rails should be on at all times, even if the bed is against a wall.