Bunk beds--a still underestimated risk for accidents in childhood?

Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Jun;159(6):440-3. doi: 10.1007/s004310051303.


A retrospective analysis of 218 bunk-bed accidents and a random sample survey with 991 family interviews were performed in order to establish guidelines for bunk-bed accident prevention. Falls from the top bed during sleep (35.1%) or while playing (34.4%) and falling off the ladder (23.2%) are the leading causes of bunk-bed accidents. Of the 218 children, 91 (41.7%) had sustained major injuries, including 3 polytrauma, 7 skull fractures, 44 cerebral concussions, 33 long bone fractures, 2 Lisfranc injuries, and 2 lacerations of the spleen. Of these accidents, 58.3% resulted in minor injuries with 18 fractures in other locations than the long bones or cranial vault, 89 contusions and sprains, 18 skin lacerations and 2 tooth fractures. A total of 23.8% of the accidents occurred in children under 3 years of age. The random sample survey demonstrated that in relation to age groups of children 30.8% (0%-45.8%) of families interviewed had been using bunk beds, with peaks at 3 years (29.8%), 7 years (36.5%) and 11 years (45.8%) of age. Of these bunk beds, 75.3% were equipped with side-rails, 57.3% had placed carpets alongside the bunk bed and 43.0% had used night lights.

Conclusion: There is only one recommendation: no bunk beds!!!

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Beds*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors