21 Ways to Prevent Bunk Beds from Tipping Over


Bunk beds are a great way to utilize small bedroom spaces for multiple kids, and kids seem to love them! But what parents may not love is the injury risk that comes with owning bunk beds. There is one primary question parents, and first-time bunk bed owners usually ask – how do they prevent the bunk beds from tipping over?

So, how do you prevent bunk beds from tipping over? There are 21 easy ways to prevent a bunk bed from tipping over, which are:

  1. Do not build your own bunk bed.
  2. Attach the bunk bed’s frame to the wall.
  3. Secure the ladder to the bed frame.
  4. Attach the proper guardrails.
  5. Check all the attachments.
  6. Buy the proper mattress size.
  7. Place the bunk bed in the corner of the room.
  8. Establish a “no horseplaying” rule.
  9. Check the weight capacities.
  10. Only allow older children on the bunk bed.
  11. Have a nightlight nearby.
  12. Stay up to date on recalls.
  13. Never hang any loose items over the bunk bed.
  14. Give the top bunk owner plenty of headspaces.
  15. Keep the humidity levels at a minimum.
  16. Add extra support slabs to the top mattress.
  17. Create support beams for the bedframe.
  18. Add angle braces to the legs.
  19. Make sure you have lateral force support.
  20. Tighten all screws and bolts every six months.
  21. Replace stripped screws and bolts as needed.

Be sure to learn how to utilize these 21 tips and safety guidelines to help prevent any bunk bed from tipping over!

21 Ways to Prevent Bunk Beds from Tipping Over

Signs That It Is Time to Replace Your Bunk Bed

Although there is a risk of a bunk bed tipping over, a parent can take a few proactive measures to ensure this does not happen. This is mainly done by adding support to the bunk bed but can also come as other upkeeping tasks.

There are four main ways to prevent a bunk bed from tipping over. They are done through:

  • Construction – The building of the bunk beds.
  • Safety – Rules and general guidelines that should always be followed.
  • Add-ons – Any extra materials or methods that add to the integrity of the bunk bed.
  • Upkeeping – The bi-yearly overview and check-ins for all the bunk bed parts.

By following the tips listed below for each category, you can help ensure the safety of your children by preventing a bunk bed from tipping over.

Construction

The first step in preventing a bunk bed from tipping over is to ensure that the bunk bed is sturdy and has a durable bed frame. This can be done through a few measures that are easy enough for any beginner to follow.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, here are the six best ways to prevent bunk beds from tipping over:

  1. Do not build your own bunk bed – Unless you have extensive experience in building, it is highly recommended that you purchase bunk beds from a reputable dealer rather than building them yourself. This extends out to DIY kits of bunk beds, as some of these designs may not be up to the current safety guidelines.
  2. Attach the bunk bed’s frame to the wall – In the same manner that you would screw the back of a dresser into the wall to prevent it from falling over, you can do the same for the bunk bed’s frame. Be sure to use screws or nails long enough to go through the entire frame width and a minimum of two inches into the wall.
    1. It should be noted that this will help add some structure to the bunk bed, but it will not stop the entire thing from tipping over if there is excessive horseplay.
  3. Secure the ladder to the bed frame – With the bed frame attached to the wall, you should secure the ladder to the bed frame. This should keep the ladder from swaying as children climb up and down it. This swaying motion can lead to tipping over if the child continuously grabs it to stay still. 
  4. Attach the proper guardrails – Most store-bought bunk beds should come with guardrails as an attachment. Be sure to use them for both mattresses (top and bottom). The guardrails should also meet the minimum requirements:
    1. Gaps of no more than 3.5” to prevent strangulation.
    2. Extends a minimum of 5” above the mattress to help prevent rolling off during sleep.
    3. Guardrails on both sides of the mattress (right and left).
  5. Check all the attachments – Some bunk beds will come with guardrails on the north- and south-facing sides. These guardrails sometimes have too large a gap between them where small children can get their arms or hands stuck. Some older bunk bed models may still use basic hooks to keep them in place. Removing these old hooks and replacing them with bolts or screws for added support is best.
  6. Buy the proper mattress size – For the most part, bunk beds come in three sizes: twin, extra-long, and full. Regardless of the frame size that the bunk bed may claim it is, be sure to measure the exact size of the mattress you need. Far too often, there is a gap between the mattress and the actual frame, leading to children getting their arms stuck or even fractured if they do so in their sleep. You want the mattress to be tight against the perimeter of the bed frame with no gaps on the sides or near the headboard or footboard. 

Safety

No matter how many support systems you add, the best way to prevent a bunk bed from tipping over will always be to teach the kids that they should not be playing on or around the bunk bed.

While bunk beds are popular amongst children, they can quickly become a safety hazard if not accurately assessed. There are a few common injuries that can occur with a bunk bed over than it tipping over, such as:

  • Suffocation
  • Concussions
  • Lacerations (cuts and scratches)
  • Skull fractures

To help reduce the risk of injury, here are nine tips from Nationwide Children you should follow:

  1. Place the bunk bed in the corner of the room – To help add some support to the structure, be sure to place it in the corner. That way, it will have two walls on its sides to lean up against.
  2. Establish a “no horseplaying” rule – A bunk bed tips over primarily from excessive rocking because children play on or around the bed frame. Prevent this by creating an official “no horseplaying” rule for the bunk bed.
  3. Check the weight capacities – Although the bunk bed might handle your children’s weight, siblings or friends may add too much weight to the bed frame and cause a tipping issue. Ensure the bunk bed’s weight capacity and adhere to its guidelines.
  4. Only allow older children on the bunk bed – Most injuries around bunk beds happen to children younger than six. To help keep everyone safe, no one under six should be sleeping in bunk beds.
  5. Have a nightlight nearby – To help prevent the kids from slipping off the ladder in the middle of the night, try having a nightlight near the bunk bed. The closer the light can shine to the ladder, the better.
  6. Stay current on recalls – A bunk bed can only be as safe as the foundation. Be sure to stay current on any recalls that may have occurred before purchasing your bunk bed. It is also good to keep looking for updates even after building it. You can find official recalls on products on the Federal Recalls website.  
  7. Never hang any loose items over the bunk bed – Loose sleeves, belts, scarves, or ropes should never be slung over a bunk bed. They can quickly become a risk for suffocation as children can wrap themselves up in them as they sleep. 
  8. Give the top bunk owner plenty of headspaces – Be sure to check that whoever has the top bunk has enough room between the top of their head and the ceiling. The easiest way to check for this is to have them sit straight up and measure the distance between the top of their head and the ceiling. 
  1. If possible, they should be able to put their entire arm up and not touch the ceiling. However, if space is limited, at least six inches should be between the top of their head and the ceiling.
  2. Keep the humidity levels at a minimum – If your bunk bed’s frame is made of wooden materials, there is a good chance that extra humidity levels can cause swelling. This can weaken the integrity of the structure over time. Keeping a dehumidifier/humidifier (depending on your environment) running in the room can help reduce this risk.

Add-ons

Although bunk beds can tip over, there are a few add-ons that you can attach to a bunk bed’s frame to give it even more support. Though these add-ons are unnecessary on every bunk bed, they reduce the risk of tipping over. 

As stated before, you should not build your own bunk bed; however, you are encouraged to add extra support beams to an already established bed frame. From a subreddit dedicated to woodworking and homemade crafts, builders from around the world give these pieces of advice when it comes to adding support to a bunk bed:

  1. Add extra support slabs to the top mattress – Not only is tipping over a concern for parents with rambunctious children, but there is also a risk of the top bunk falling from too much jumping. To help prevent that and the risk of tipping from the unbalanced weight, add extra wooden slabs underneath the top mattress for added support. 
  2. Create support beams for the bedframe – Running from the horizontal to the vertical supports. You can add triangular support beams to reduce the risk of tipping over the bunk bed. 
  3. Add angle braces to the legs – At a 45-degree angle, add some plywood braces (in a triangle fashion) to the legs of the bunk bed. You want them to connect the bottom of the mattress frame to the vertical legs of the bed frame itself. 
  4. Make sure you have lateral force support – In the most basic sense, these cross beams form an “X” shape between two support pieces. It will help prevent wobbling and add more support to the bunk bed. Connect two pieces of wood from one corner of the top bunk’s frame to the opposite corner of the bottom bunk’s frame in an “X” formation. If you do not have access to lumber, you can use rope or bungee cords for a quick fix; however, be sure they are incredibly taut to reduce the risk of suffocation from a child rolling into it while they sleep. 

As an extra add-on for bunk beds, consider this convenient shelving unit:

Furniture of America Metal Bunk Bed Side Ladder Bookshelf, Silver and Black Finish

Furniture of America Metal Bunk Bed Side Ladder...
  • Materials: Metal; Finish: Black; Compatible with Furniture of America bunk beds
  • Six (6) steps ladder that can be used to store and display underneath
  • Designed to save space while provide an easy access to our lines of loft & bunk beds

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It is a shelving system that connects to the bunk bed; however, it is an excellent investment if you are looking to open up some space around the room without having to risk the bunk bed tipping over. The shelves are sturdy enough to stand independently and support the bunk bed.

Upkeep

While you can take as many preventative steps as possible to make the bunk bed and surrounding area safer, it can only go as far as how sturdy the bunk bed’s screws are. To prevent a bunk bed from tipping over or causing any other injury, the bedframe needs to be sturdy with strong enough screws and bolts. 

According to Lanh Ma, a home repair expert from Hunker, here are the two best habits to get into for upkeeping a bunk bed:

  1. Tighten all screws and bolts every six months – Bolts, screws, and even nails should be retightened and checked for any looseness once every six months. For added security, try to replace all these once every two years or as needed based on activity levels.
    1. Note: If your children play on or around the bunk bed (despite your warnings), you may need to increase this habit to once every three months.
  2. Replace stripped screws and bolts as needed – During one of these inspections, if you find a stripped screw or bolt, replace it immediately! A stripped screw or bolt cannot secure itself to another piece of wood and will cause shakiness. 

Can Bunk Beds Tip Over?

Yes, bunk beds can tip over if not secured or built correctly. This is especially true for bunk beds that are for small children as they tend to bounce around. Ironically enough, most bunk beds that tip over can occur when the children are fully grown adults. 

Consider Before Buying Bunk Beds

However, according to Consumer Reports, over half (50.9%) of bunk bed injuries come from school housing with bunk beds for young adults (ages 18 to 21). This means that bunk beds can (and do) tip over, even if small children are not romping around on them. 

Some of the most common reasons why a bunk bed may tip over from being misused are:

  • Someone is jumping off the top bunk to the floor.
  • Someone is trying to hang off the edge of the top bunk.
  • Uneven weight on one side of the bunk bed, especially if the bunk bed is not positioned in the corner of the room.
  • Someone is rolling over the edge while they sleep.
  • Pulling on the ladder with too much force.

As for the integrity of the bunk bed itself, a bunk bed with a weak support system is far more likely to tip over than a sturdy bunk bed. One of the quickest ways to test if a bunk bed has a higher likelihood of tipping over is to shake the bed frame lightly. If it starts to wobble, it needs more support before someone can safely sleep in it. If it stays sturdy, then you should be okay with it.

What is the Chance of a Bunk Bed Tipping Over?

The danger from a bunk bed that tips over can be severe, especially with smaller children who may not have the strength to push a mattress off themselves. Although the horror stories of children getting severely injured from bunk beds may be a cautionary tale, it does not happen as often as you think. 

According to Science Daily, there are an average of 36,000 injuries related to bunk beds each year; however, most, if not all, of these injuries could have been avoided. Most injuries involving a bunk bed were scrapes and bruises from children jumping off the top bunk onto the floor. Again, this means that these minor injuries caused around a bunk bed could have been easily avoided with a proper explanation of the risks to the children.

The numbers should also be taken with a grain of salt as the “36,000” average number was found from a study over 16 years and included ages 0-21. These numbers were also collected between 1990 and 2005; since then, more safety guidelines have been placed for bunk beds. For example, the minimum height of the guardrails for bunk beds has been increased to the five-inch mark since 2005. 

General Rules for Bunk Bed Safety

Many ways to prevent a bunk bed from tipping over and causing serious injury. These can come from the actual building of the bunk bed to how the users are taught safety around the bunk bed. However, a few rules should be followed before you start building or placing a bunk bed in a room. 

According to Home Guides, here are some of the general rules when it comes to placing a bunk bed: 

  • Never place a bunk bed under a ceiling fan.
  • Never place the bunk bed near a window.
  • Avoid bunk beds that have corner posts on the headboard or footboard.

By following these three simple rules, you can help prevent most major injuries from occurring around the bunk bed. 

Recommended Bunk Beds

Although there are plenty of ways to increase the safety of a bunk bed and reduce the risk of it tipping over, you still need a sturdy bunk bed frame for the foundation. No improvements can be made to protect users from tipping over.

Here are five recommended bunk beds for different age groups to help search for the perfect bunk bed that will reduce the risk of tipping over. Although you can buy a bunk bed based on age, it is recommended that you purchase bunk beds based on the user’s size and mattress needs.

Bunk Beds for Small Children

In the case of bunk beds, “small children” means any child that is at least six years old. Any child under six years old should not be sleeping in a bunk bed, even if accompanied by an adult. These recommended bunk beds are great buys because they are easy to assemble and meet the current safety guidelines. 

Bunk Beds That Will Not Easily Tip Over 5 Recommendations:

Storkcraft Caribou Solid Hardwood Twin Bunk Bed, Gray Twin Bunk Beds for Kids with Ladder and Safety Rail

On Sale
Storkcraft Caribou Solid Hardwood Twin Bunk Bed with...
  • [Adjustable Size-F/Q/K]-..5" H, with adjustable widths of 54" (Full), 60" (Queen), and 76" (King).Item Dimensions : 41.97"L x 79.13"W x 64.7"H.Maximum weight recommendation:120 pounds
  • FULL LENGTH SAFETY RAILS AND LADDER: Complete with full length safety rails on the top bunk, and equipped with a strong and sturdy 5 step ladder for easy access to the top bunk.Wipe all parts with a...
  • CONVERTS INTO 2 SEPARATE BEDS: The perfect sleepover companion, this convertible bunk bed can easily be transformed into 2 separate twin size beds for maximum versatility

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Max & Lily Twin over Twin Low Bunk Bed, White

Max & Lily Low Bunk Bed, Twin-Over-Twin Wood Bed Frame...
  • Superior Quality: Solid, knot free, New Zealand pine wood bed frame. Durable, non-toxic, low VOC finish.Item Dimensions : 81.5"L x 54.25"W x 50"H.Maximum weight recommendation:400 pounds
  • Superior Quality: Our kids low bunk beds are crafted with solid, knot-free wood and non-toxic, low-VOC finishes; Solid wood twin bed frames are extra durable with a style that pairs with every room...
  • Sturdy & Stable: Twin low bunk bed is capable of supporting up to 400 lbs. per sleeping surface; Heavy-duty bunk beds feature strong plywood slats with a metal support bar and secure metal-on-metal...

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Twin Over Twin Bunk Bed for Kids, Low Bunk Bed with Ladder and Safety Guard Rails

Harper & Bright Designs Twin Over Twin Bunk Bed for...
  • [Sturdy and Durable Bunk Beds for Kids] - Wood twin over twin bunk beds for toddlers is made of high-quality Solid pinewood + MDF + Plywood, features a sturdy construction for durability and high load...
  • [Space-Saving Low Bunk Bed for Kids] - Our Bunk Bed is suitable for those families who has low ceilings, and also fit those have small children, especially toddlers, our low bunk beds top bed it...
  • [Kids Bunk Bed with Ladder and Safety Guard Rails] - Our low bunk beds twin over twin is finish in layers for a smooth, flawless surface. This kids bunk bed with Built-In wide ladder which allows your...

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Donco Kids Deer Blind Bunk Loft Bed, Twin/Twin, Light Grey

Donco Kids 1370-TTLG Deer Blind Bunk Loft Bed,...
  • Crafted from pine wood
  • Product Dimensions :77.0 x 43.0 x 90.0 inches
  • Light Grey.Measurements are 77" length x 43" width x 90" height

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DHP Miles Twin Metal Bunk Bed, Kid’s Bedroom, Space-Saving Design, Blue, Twin/Twin

DHP Miles Metal Bunk Bed, Blue, Twin over Twin
  • Made with a Sturdy metal Construction | Includes secured metal slats, 12. 5-Inch full-length guardrails and a ladder integrated to the frame | Ladder can only be placed in one side
  • Product Dimensions :41.5 x 77.5 x 54.0 inches
  • Product dimensions – 77.5" L x 41.5” W x 54” H | Clearance left between beds – 37” | Mattress max height – 6”” | Weight limit (Upper/ Lower bed) – 200/250 lbs. | Distance between...

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bunk Beds for Teenagers

Teenagers can get lots of use from bunk beds since they clear up extra space in their room for desks and other furniture they have collected. However, teenagers are more likely to take higher risks and need a bunk bed to handle more daring actions. These recommended bunk beds are perfect for teenagers as they do not have a “child” design look and can still handle higher levels of activity.

For bunk beds that will not easily tip over for teenagers, here are the top five recommendations:

Bedz King Bunk Beds Twin over Full Mission Style with End Ladder and a Twin Trundle, Cappuccino

Full Over Full Bunk Bed for Kids Teens, Detachable Wood Full Bunk Bed Frame with Trundle

Bedz King Bunk Beds Twin over Full Mission Style with...
  • Twin over Full End Ladder Bunk Bed converts to 1 Twin Bed and 1 Full Bed, but the top bunk foot board will have the gap that is the entryway for the ladder
  • End ladder for easy access to the top bunk. You can choose to position the ladder on the right or the left, front or back of the bed.
  • Finish is child-safe, Bunk Bed is made from Solid Brazilian Pine from sustainable plantations - no particle board or mdf

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Harper and Bright Designs Twin-Over-Twin Trundle Bunk Bed with Storage Drawers (White)

Harper & Bright Designs Twin-Over-Twin Trundle Bunk Bed...
  • Your new space saver:Feature a pullout trundle bed with smoothly removable casters offering extra room for overnight guests and drawers offering large storage space.
  • Constructed with pine wood to last for a long time.
  • Solid stairs make accessing the top bunk safe and easy, especially for kids too little to climb ladders, while the top bed rail provides extra security and stability.

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Walker Edison Furniture Company Modern Metal Pipe Twin Over Futon Bunk Kids Bed Bedroom Storage Guard Rail Ladder, Black

On Sale
Walker Edison Elodie Urban Industrial Twin over Futon...
  • Dimensions: 68” H x 55 ” D x 79” L, Twin bed: 14” H x 41.75” D x 79” L, Futon: 9.625” H x 55” D x 79” L
  • Product Dimensions :55.0 x 80.0 x 68.0 inches
  • Twin bed supports up to 200 Ibs. and futon supports up to 450 Ibs..Fits most twin size beds, 5”- 9” mattress thickness recommended

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dorel Living Brady Solid Wood Bunk Beds Twin Over Full with Ladder and Guard Rail, Black

On Sale
Dorel Living Brady Solid Wood Bunk Beds Twin Over Full...
  • Convertible bedroom furniture for your kids that easily converts to two stand-alone beds, 1 twin size and 1 full size.
  • Construction includes bed support slats, guardrails, and a ladder that can be installed in one location. Designed to accommodate a mattress without a box spring.
  • Top bed accommodates a twin mattress; bottom bed accommodates a full mattress. Only coil spring mattresses are to be used on both bunk levels; mattresses sold separately. Top bunk is designed for...

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bunk Beds for Young Adults

Whether they are moving back into your home or off to an unfurnished college dorm or apartment for the first time, you want to ensure that the bunk bed for a young adult can handle their needs. A US National Library of Medicine study found that young adults between 18-24 are in the second-highest age range with injuries from bunk beds.

For bunk beds perfect for young adults on their own for the first time, here are the top five recommendations:

Novogratz Maxwell Twin/Twin Metal Bunk Bed, Sturdy Metal Frame with Ladder and Safety Rails, Navy Blue

Novogratz 4146619N Maxwell Metal Bunk Bed, Twin
  • Sturdy metal frame Construction that includes metal slats and side rails for guaranteed stability and durability. It does not require additional foundation
  • Secured side ladder with connected bar to Ensure safety
  • Metal bunk bed includes safety rails on Top bunk

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DHP Studio Loft Bunk Bed Over Desk and Bookcase with Metal Frame, Gray, Twin

On Sale
DHP Studio Loft Bunk Bed Over Desk and Bookcase with...
  • MODERN VERSATILE STORAGE BED: Features 3 functional dresser drawers on each side, a clean boxy design, and a crisp white laminate finish to add practicality and style to your bedroom.Item Dimensions :...
  • Silver and black metal finish
  • Safety rails and multiple metal slats for safety, support and durability

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Twin Workstation Loft Bed Black

On Sale
Coaster Furniture Twin Workstation Loft Bed Black 2209
  • Finished in glossy black
  • Desk top finished in white
  • Fully length guardrails

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dorel Living Brady Solid Wood Bunk Beds Twin Over Full with Ladder and Guard Rail, Espresso

On Sale
Dorel Living Brady Solid Wood Bunk Beds Twin Over Full...
  • Convertible bedroom furniture for your kids that easily converts to two stand-alone beds, 1 twin size and 1 full size.
  • Construction includes bed support slats, guardrails, and a ladder that can be installed in one location. Designed to accommodate a mattress without a box spring.
  • Top bed accommodates a twin mattress; bottom bed accommodates a full mattress. Only coil spring mattresses are to be used on both bunk levels; mattresses sold separately. Top bunk is designed for...

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Walker Edison Furniture Company Classic Wood Twin Low Loft Bunk Kids Bed Bedroom with Guard Rail and Ladder Easy Assembly, White

On Sale
Walker Edison Della Classic Solid Wood Twin over Wood...
  • Dimensions: 46.25” H x 42” D x 79” L, Loft: 28” H x 41.5” D x 78.75” L, Twin bed supports up to 200 Ibs.
  • Made from responsibly-sourced solid pine wood
  • No box spring required, Bunkie board recommended; 5”- 9” mattress thickness recommended

Last update on 2023-06-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In Conclusion

Bunk beds can be a fantastic resource for children and anyone of any age! The main concern regarding bunk beds is whether they can tip over. Although a risk should be taken seriously, it can be easily avoided with proper care and understanding. 

If the bunk bed users understand that they can’t romp around on the bunk bed and you reinforce any support beams and safety features, there should be little to no risk of a bunk bed tipping over. 

Alex

Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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