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Things that Go Bump in the Night: How Dangerous are Bunk Beds?

Posted on May 10, 2023

Given recent massive bunk bed recalls and a lawsuit making news across the country over a near-fatal fall at a little league tournament, one might ask…just how dangerous are bunk beds?

Each year, there are an average of 36,000 bunk bed injuries to children in the U.S., according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Most of the injuries occur while children are sleeping or playing and are usually worse than injuries from traditional beds. Most common injuries involve the head and neck, and include cuts, bumps, bruises, and broken bones.

Children under age 6 represent half of bunk bed injuries. In addition, 18–21-year-olds have twice the number of injuries as teens, presumably because this group uses bunk beds more, at college and in the military. There are typically more boys injured than girls.

Bunk bed injuries have been consistent over the years, reported KidsinDanger.org. The organization shared statistics from a 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics study of bunk bed injuries treated in hospital ERs from 1990-2005. Researchers looked at patients under 21 years of age.

Of an average of 35,690 individuals treated each year, children under age 6 suffered the majority of injuries. They were also at the highest risk of death due to head entrapment and mattresses collapsing. The head and neck were the parts of the body most frequently injured. The most common injuries were lacerations (cuts), followed by contusions and abrasions (bruises), and fractures. Falls caused 74% of the injuries, although jumping and playing around the ladder also contributed. Bed malfunctions occurred as well.

Importantly, noted Nationwide Children’s Hospital, camps and schools are not required to meet federal safety standards for bunk beds. If no guardrails are present, you may be able to request them from the camp/school.

Life-changing injuries can happen when products are unsafe. Talking to an attorney in Philadelphia who is experienced in product liability litigation may help you understand your legal options. Please contact us today to schedule a time to meet.