A type of bed in which one bed frame is stacked on top of another is called bunk beds. The design of bunk beds allows two people to sleep in the same room, as bunk beds maximise available floor space. Because of this, bunk beds are often used in places with limited floor space, such as on ships and in army garrisons, dormitories, summer camp cabins, hostels, children's rooms, prison cells or university residence halls.
Bunk beds are normally supported by four poles or pillars, one at each corner of the bed. To get to the second bunk a ladder is used, though taller children often find other faster, more creative methods of climbing into them. The top bed is normally surrounded by a railing to prevent the sleeper from falling out, and some bunk beds also have a privacy curtain for the lower bunk. Because of the need for a ladder and the height of the bed, the top bunk of bunk beds is not recommended for children under six years of age.
The most common type are the standard bunk beds, which have two same size mattresses, one of which is stacked directly over the other. A twin over full bunk beds are arranged the same as standard bunk beds except that the bottom mattress is full size and the upper is a twin size. Bunk beds are also arranged like standard bunk beds except that the lower bunk has a Western style futon couch, which converts into a bed rather than a standard mattress. Loft bed denotes bunk beds that are only the top bunk, creating an open space underneath, which can be occupied by a chest, drawers or even a work area. This makes using loft beds an efficient way to maximise small spaces by utilising the entire vertical area that would otherwise be left unused.
Tips on choosing bunk beds
For children, sleeping in bunk beds is like going on an adventure each night. By following these steps on choosing bunk beds, you could ensure your child's safety.
- When choosing bunk beds, check if the guard rails run the length of the bunk on both sides and if they fit securely.
- Make sure that the mattress fits snugly in bunk beds with no more than 1 inch of space between it and the bed frame.
- Look at the slats on the bottom of the bunk beds that hold the mattress to be sure that they provide strong support.
- Observe all edges and corners of the bunk beds to be sure they are smooth. Shake the bed strenuously to check for stability.
- Examine the ladder to see if it is easy to climb with and is wide enough for your child.
- Sit on the bottom bunk. Your head should not hit the top. Have the store that sold you the bunk beds install it for you as an added layer of safety.
- Check the bolts and screws to make sure they have not loosened over time.