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Bunk Bed Buying Guide

March 29, 2017
Bunk Bed Buying Guide

Bunk beds are the ultimate space saving solution and lots of fun for kids!

When it comes to purchasing a bunk bed, there are a plethora of options that can be daunting. To help you make an informed decision we've created the ultimate guide to buying a bunk bed to help you sort through all of the information and find the perfect bunk bed for your children.

Are Bunk Beds safe?

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) has set strict standards for all bunk beds sold in Australia. This standard covers all aspects of construction and design – with a particular focus on the size of gaps and spaces, as it is easy for little heads, arms, and legs to get caught.

Each year about 400 kids are hospitalised due to bunk bed-related injuries - often because they have been badly put together or are being used incorrectly! Use the following Safety Checklist to ensure that you prevent your child from falling.

It is also important to explain to your child that it is essential to observe all safety rules when using a bunk bed.

Safety Checklist:

  • Ensure you get the right mattress for the raised/upper bed. There will often be an identifiable mark on the rail indicating the maximum mattress height allowed. This is to ensure that the effective height of the safety barrier is maintained to prevent children falling.
  • Although the suitable minimum age to use a bunk bed can vary greatly depending on a child's maturity and development, using the top bunk or a raised bed is not recommended for children under nine years old.
  • When putting a bunk bed together make sure the guardrails are securely installed on all four sides of the bed or top bunk and with the correct spacing for openings.
  • Check the connection points regularly to ensure they are securely in place and won’t collapse. The bunk bed should be able to hold the weight of both a child or an adult.
  • Gaps between 95mm and 230mm are not permitted anywhere on the bunk.
  • No opening (i.e ladder) should be over 400mm.
  • It’s important that the guardrail is showing at least 160mms above the mattress.
  • Guard rails should be fixed to all four sides of the upper bunk. The wall does not act as a guard rail - children can become trapped between the wall and the bed.
  • Look for a low-profile mattresses height. There should be an identifiable mark on the bed rail to indicate the maximum mattress height allowed to ensure the safety barrier is maintained to prevent children from falling.
  • The safest type of bunk bed is one which is in a safe room – no ceiling fans, curtain or blind cords nearby, no furniture which could be used to climb up and onto the bunk (always use a ladder).

Are Bunk Beds better than Trundle Beds?

Trundles are great for sleepovers, however, should not be a permanent or semi-permanent sleeping solution if two children are sharing a room.

Bunk Beds are a much better option for several reasons:

  • Trundles usually cannot fit a good mattress unlike bunk beds
  • Bunks take up less floor space than trundles
  • Bunk Beds give kids the feeling of protection and privacy

Types of Bunk Beds

It is time to think about which type of bunk bed is best suited to your kids!

Although the basic bunk bed is pretty iconic, there are many different options in terms of bed configuration that can include a larger bed, storage, trundles or loft designs where a desk can replace the bottom bunk.

All bunks have their advantages, however, the design and style of your bunk bed will greatly impact on how it fits into the space and how the room will function.

Standard Bunk Bed

A standard bunk bed (also known as a double bunk bed) comprises of one bed above the other and comes with a ladder to the top bunk.

These bunk beds can come in a variety of sizes including Single, King Single, Double or a combination.

A standard option can usually be separated to create 2 single beds and is a great solution for small holiday homes which needs to accommodate other family members or guests.

Great for: Lasting practical use

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Bunk Bed with Ladder

There are two types of ladders that can be found on bunk beds - Straight (also known as 'flush' ladders) and Angled.

Straight ladders are the most affordable option. It also takes up less floor space than an angled ladder.

However, an angled ladder is safer than a straight one. It should come with a built in hand rail.

If your floor space is too limited for a staircase, but you would like a safer option than a straight ladder, an angled ladder is a good compromise.

Great for: Bedrooms where floor space is too limited

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Bunk Bed with Staircase

A staircase is the safest option as it has wider steps to help avoid slipping and is more comfortable to climb. It also offers more storage space which is built into the side of the stairs which can make up for lost floor space.

Stairs also make it easier for adults to climb and make the bed!

Please note that if your child requires a staircase it might be worth considering if they are ready for a bunk bed.

Great for: Younger children less confident with climbing

Twin White Bunk Beds with Stairs

Low Bunk Beds

Also known as a Cabin bed, the bottom bunk sits at floor level so the total height of the bunk beds is lower than that of a standard bunk.

This is fantastic for children under 9 years old as the top mattress starts 800mm or less from the ground. This meets ACCC's standards.

Bedrooms with lower ceiling heights will also benefit from this design.

Great for: Children under 9 years old

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Loft Beds

A loft bed is just a raised bed, acting as a top bunk for sleeping.

Loft beds are a stylish, space saving solution. With the lower bunk removed, space below can be used for a desk, storage drawers, a cupboard, extra play area or even an extra bed!

However, loft beds can sometimes cost more due to the build, storage features or additional joinery.

Great for: Smaller bedrooms that struggle to fit important furniture items.

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L-Shaped Bunk Bed

An L-shaped Bunk bed positions the bottom bed at a right angle to the top one.

This can open up the space a bit which is great for children who might feel confined in a standard bunk bed or are uncomfortable with sleeping directly under their sibling.

Some of these designs come with built-in storage, and more recent models will allow you to move the bottom bunk in any way you like including back to the standard bunk bed configuration.

If your bedroom is smaller, you will need to consider the measurements of these bunk beds as they take up more floor space than other bunk bed designs.

Great for: Growing families where configurations of the bunk beds will need to change

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Bunk Bed with Desk

There are some stylish and practical designs which now have a built-in work station for the kids.

In a similar fashion to loft beds, the bottom bunk is replaced with a desk and storage solutions.

As it comes all in one piece, this design can be cheaper than purchasing both a desk and loft bed.

Great for: Kids who need a work station

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Trundle Bunk Beds

A trundle bed can be kept underneath a bunk bed to be used for guests. It is easy to hide away or be taken out when needed.

This can result in less storage space under the bed, however, for many bedrooms, this may not be an issue.

There are two basic designs for a trundle bed: pop-up and drawer trundles.

A pop-up trundle is made of metal and has wheels. It can be adjusted to the same height as the regular mattress on the lower bunk - which is both comforting for guests but can also transform the lower bunk into a king-sized bed!

Great for: Children who regularly have friends for sleepovers

Bunk Bed Couch

3-Sleeper Bunk Bed

Sometimes you need to create a configuration of your own!

Many stores such as House of Orange offer customisable designs to fit the space of your room.

We love this idea as you can incorporate your own storage needs, sizing and more.

Just be conscious that wait times can sometimes be long!

Great for: Rooms that need to sleep three or more kids

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Steps for Buying Bunk Beds Online

Now that you know which types of bunk beds are on the market, you are ready to purchase!

Buying a bunk bed online is simple. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Measure Your Space

  2. Determine the Features You Need

  3. Select Your Style

  4. Double Check that it meets the ACCC Safety Checklist

  5. Purchase online at Tinitrader from your favourite Australian local stockist!

Bunk bed safety is important. Make sure you double check that it ticks all of the boxes on the safety checklist to avoid disappointment went it reaches your home. If you have a question about a bunk bed's safety, ask us and we will help you!

All beds featured in this article are available to shop now from Tinitrader

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