5 Steps to Make a Bunk Bed Ladder Safer
Bunk beds are excellent for small rooms with limited space. But as parents, we need to ensure that our kids don’t get injured when using their bed. It’s possible to slip and fall off the ladder because of the shape of the rungs or the spacing between them.
Here are five steps that you can use to make a bunk bed ladder safer:
- Step 1: Ensure the ladder is installed properly
- Step 2: Teach your kids how to use the ladder properly
- Step 3: Buy a Bunk Bed ladder with safe and easy to use rungs
- Step 4: Use Hand Rails and Angle Your Bunk Bed Ladder
- Step 5: Remove unnecessary hazards around the bunk bed, add cushions instead
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Step 1: Make Bunk Bed Ladders Safer by First Ensuring the Ladder is Installed Properly
The first step towards bunk bed ladder safety is to ensure proper installation of the ladders. There are some bunk beds in which you do not have to worry about the installation of the ladders because the ladders are fixed; the whole bed comes as one piece. Buying these kinds of bunk beds with fixed ladders is a safer option because you do not have to run the risk of improper installation.
However, there are a wide variety of bunk beds that come in pieces that you have to assemble. If you are going to buy such bunk beds, we advise you to hire a team of professionals to assemble the bed for you and install everything properly. Many furniture companies provide installation services.
If you do not want to pay extra money for installation services or cannot find such a service, try to read the instruction manual in detail (don’t skip any sections!). Please make sure that you have read and understood all the instructions before proceeding. If fixing the ladder requires the use of nuts and bolts, ensure that everything is screwed in properly and that you do not miss any screws.
Step 2: Teach your kids how to use the ladder safely
Once you know that your bunk bed ladder is installed properly, the next important step towards ensuring safety is to know the right way to use the ladder. Anything can become dangerous if you do not know the proper way to use it. If you are buying a bunk bed for your children, make sure that you have properly trained them about how to use ladders. Here are some more bunk bed safety tips.
Here are some safety instructions that you can give to your children about the use of ladders:
- Always face the ladder while climbing up or down
- Do not climb the ladder in darkness. Have a nightlight on at night.
- Maintain 3 points of contact. (Two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand)
- Use the ladder only for the purpose of climbing. Do not stand on it or play dangerous games involving ladders.
- Do not hang things on the ladder and make sure nothing is spilled on the steps.
- Make sure that only one person climbs the ladder at a time.
- Do not push or pull someone climbing on the ladder.
Some of these safety instructions may seem to be pretty basic and that is why some parents can take them for granted. However, in order to ensure the safety of the kids it is essential that you teach them all of these things and make sure that they understand.
Step 3: Buy a bunk bed with safe and easy to use rungs
There are four things that you should take into account to ensure that the steps of the ladder are safe:
- Size of the ladder rungs
- Material used to build the steps
- Distance between each steps
Installation of the Bunk Bed Ladder:
We have already addressed the importance of proper installation. Some ladders come as a single piece with only one attachment point that you can use to attach them to the bed. Other ladders come in parts that need to be assembled; in some cases, you have to install each step of the ladder separately to build the ladder. In order to build a safe ladder, make sure that you have fixed everything properly and that there are no loose nuts or bolts that can cause the structure to fall apart.
Sometimes nuts and bolts can loosen up after regular use of the ladder. This is particularly true for metal bunk beds because the frame segments can move against each other more easily than textured wood. We advise you to schedule a monthly or quarterly maintenance check for the ladder to make sure that everything is in good shape. You can do the maintenance check yourself so don’t worry...it’s not costly.
Size of each ladder rung:
If you are buying a bunk bed for your children make sure that the steps are big enough for them to easily rest their foot on. We recommend getting a bunk bed with flat steps. Some bunk bed ladders (especially metal ones) come with rounded steps. In such ladders, metal rods are used to function as steps. Both the round shape and the slippery finish of such steps pose a threat to your child’s safety.
Cover rounded metal steps with pool tubes so that they are easier to step on. Simply cut them into pieces that are the same size as the ladder rungs and cut a slit in them so they can be slided on.
The best option however is to make sure that you choose a ladder with flat steps so that it is not difficult for your children to maintain balance. Flat steps also make sure that when a person stands on them his/her body weight is supported by a larger surface area of the feet and not just the middle of the feet (as in rounded steps). Considering the safety of your child, make sure that the steps of the bunk bed ladder have a flat surface and a large enough surface area to allow safe and easy stepping.
Material used to make the steps:
The most obvious thing to consider while taking into account the material of the steps is to make sure that the material is strong enough to bear the weight of the person who has to climb the steps.
If it is a very wide ladder and there is a lot of distance between one side of the ladder and the other, make sure that the steps are also supported from the middle. If there is no support in the middle it is quite possible that when you keep your foot in the middle of the step, it will bend downwards due to your weight. If the material is not strong enough, it can also crack and cause injury. If your bunk bed ladder is made up of wood, make sure that the planks of wood that are used to make the steps are thick enough to bear the weight of your child.
Another important thing to consider while considering the safety of the steps is to make sure that the surface of the material used to make steps is not slippery. If you already have a bunk bed with slippery ladder steps (like steps made of polished wood), there are other options you can use to fix the problem.
Use rubber sheets to line the steps to increase friction so that when your children set foot on them, they can have better grip. With most materials there is an increased chance of slipping of children climb the ladders with their socks on, but lining the steps with rubber sheets can eliminate that problem.
Distance between each steps:
It is very important that the distance between each step is in accordance with the age (and thus height) of the child. Steps that have too much distance between them might be difficult for the children with small legs to climb.
Make sure that the distance between the steps is such that the child can easily climb from one step to another. If the distance is too large, there is a risk of losing grip and falling down. You might like our guide to bunk bed age limits.
Step 4: Use Hand Rails and Angle Your Bunk Bed Ladder for Safety
Most ladders come without handrails. Climbing these ladders is awkward and isn’t ideal for your center of gravity while climbing. Also, such ladder steps are not designed for providing grips for your hands. It is easier for us to hold things around which our fingers can be wrapped. Our suggestions:
- Choose a ladder with handrails specifically designed to provide better grip for the hands.
- Cover your bunk bed ladder handrails with fabric sheets at intervals to provide an even better and more comfortable grip for the hands. Using fabric for better grip can also add to the aesthetic value of the ladder by bringing in an element of design. For additional tips on how to make your bunk bed ladder comfortable, follow the link.
Another tip is to angle your bunk bed ladder (if possible) or buy a bunk bed ladder that is angled. An angled ladder gives more visibility while stepping up or down and also provides more room for the legs to move.
Step 5: Eliminate Hazards around your Bunk Bed Ladders to maximize safety
Now let us talk about safe surroundings. Having safe surroundings will minimize the chance of any serious injury in case of a fall. There are two ways in which you can ensure that the surroundings around your bunk bed are safe:
- By elimination of objects that might cause damage
- By addition of objects that will make the surroundings safer
Let us talk about elimination first. Make sure that there are no decorative glass objects or any similar hazards around the ladder. Remove any furniture with pointy or sharp edges near the ladder. By removing such objects, you can make sure that even if your child slips and falls down from the ladder, he/she will not get any serious injury.
Now, let us take it one step further by adding objects that will help your children stay safe in case of a fall. Add a soft rug around the ladder area or padded mat. This will not only make the fall safer but also help you bring an element of design to your floor. You can match the color and design of the rug with the theme of the room.
Add some floor cushions around the bunk bed ladder. This idea is very popular with children. Adding colorful cushions to the floor will not only ensure safety but it will also make the room look more lively and cozy.
We hope that you enjoyed this article on bunk bed ladder safety and that you will be able to enjoy your bunk beds without any worries. Taking safety measures before doing or using anything is never a bad idea. Make sure you check out our favorite bunk beds and loft beds and our guide to bunk bed mattresses!