Bunk bed-related injuries among children and adolescents treated in emergency departments in the United States, 1990-2005

Pediatrics. 2008 Jun;121(6):e1696-702. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2555.


Objective: Our goal was to comprehensively examine bunk bed-related injuries in the United States by using a nationally representative sample.

Methods: Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, cases of nonfatal bunk bed-related injuries treated in US emergency departments from 1990 through 2005 were selected by using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System bunk bed product code (0661). Cases concerning individuals </=21 years old were included.

Results: An estimated 572 580 children and adolescents aged </=21 years were treated in US emergency departments for bunk bed-related injuries during the 16-year study period, yielding an average of 35 790 cases annually. An average of 42 per 100 000 population were treated annually. Bunk bed-related injuries occurred more frequently among males (60.6%). Lacerations were the most common type of injury (29.7%), followed by contusions and abrasions (24.0%) and fractures (19.9%). The body parts most frequently injured were the head and neck (27.3%) in all age groups. Falls were the most common mechanism of injury (72.5%). Of the cases for which locale of injury was recorded, 93.5% occurred at home. Approximately half of the bunk bed-related injuries that occurred at schools involved individuals aged 18 to 21 years (50.9%). An estimated 2.9% of injuries resulted in hospitalization or transfer to another hospital or required additional observation. The number of bunk bed-related injuries showed no significant trend from 1990 to 2005.

Conclusions: Bunk beds are a common source of injury among children and adolescents, and these injuries mostly involve the head and face. Given the continuing large numbers of bunk bed-related injuries at homes and in schools, increased efforts are needed to prevent bunk bed-related injuries among children and adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Beds / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • United States / epidemiology