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Bunk Bed Buying and Safety Tips

Mar 1, 2008
Bunk beds are a great way to create additional sleeping space, especially for kids. Bunks have been a favorite for generations and make very economical use of bedroom space. Before buying that new or used set of bunk beds, there are several things to consider besides the price and style.

Bunk beds are constructed out of a variety of materials. The design of the frame, support, and mattress systems varies by manufacturer and style. There are some variations of the traditional bunk bed that offer similar space saving and space making options. Loft beds provide an elevated sleeping space leaving the space under the bed available for things such as a desk, small sofa, or futon.

As for the humble bunk bed, the basic concept is to place one bed atop another. Those of us how have been in the military, or summer camp, may remember the bunk bed as being pretty much a utilitarian device. A four post steel frame, squeaky springs, and a mattress. For those folks who shared a room with a sibling, a bunk bed may have been a source of controversy over who would sleep in which bunk.

There are some definite advantages to bunk beds especially for growing families. Many styles of bunk beds are designed to be separated into two beds. This is great when the time comes for kids to have their own room, or when one gets really tired of fighting over the top bunk. A quality bunk bed never really dies. Bunk beds are very often passed on to successive generations.

Finishes and Safety Rails

The basic bunk bed is made up of a frame, a support system, and the mattresses. Frames can be found made from wood or metal. Whether the bed is made from metal or wood, some type of finish is applied. Most metal framed beds are painted or powder coated, while wood beds have typically been stained and varnished. Even though lead based paints and finishes were banned since nineteen seventy eight, it is possible that finishes, applied to older beds, could contain lead.

If you have any doubt about the age of the bed or the finish, it may be wise to forgo the bargain price and purchase a new bunk bed. Lead paint can pose a serious health threat to children.

Some older design bunk beds did not have adequate safety rail systems for the top bunk. This is of particular importance if the bed was to be used by children. The safety rails of many older bunk beds were too easily removed by children. Most modern bunk bed designs feature safety rails that are attached to the frame and not easily removed. If the bunk bed is intended for use by children, never remove or modify the safety rails.

A mistake that some bunk bed owners make is to buy a mattress that is too thick for the bed. The height of many pillow top or plush top mattresses, often 12 inches or more, may exceed the height of the safety rails. Better to use a standard mattress, which usually ranges in from eight to ten inches in height.

Mattress Supports

The link spring system consists of a set of metal rails with several strong metal supports and a series of metal links spaced approximately four inches apart that provide some flexibility and lots of support. As an alternative, wooden slats are often used between the side frames or the side frame may have rails that are used to support a Bunkie board. A Bunkie board acts as a foundation for mattress similar to a box spring or box foundation.

Whatever type of mattress support system the bed has, make sure that it is sturdy enough to support the weight of the mattress and the sleeper. Avoid altering the support system as this may cause the frame or supports to fail.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store FineWebStores.com.
Shop for Bunk Beds for your home or kids room. Please visit FineWebStores.com today.
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