Bunk beds are a great way to maximize space and kids love bunk beds. It gives them the opportunity to share, explore and have adventures all while they are getting ready to sleep. Bunk beds transform the dreaded bedtime into "fun-time." But before all of the fun begins you want to make sure the bunk bed you are purchasing is safe for your little adventurers!
The first thing you need to make sure is that the product you intend to buy complies with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
A key feature that will not steer you wrong is purchasing a bunk bed that has a solid wood construction. Better yet, solid hardwood construction, something like Maple, or oak. The harder the wood, the stronger the bunk will be and the longer it will last you. Generally speaking, a bunk bed that is constructed of solid hardwoods will be higher in price than a product that uses compound materials or veneers. However, your compound material wood will have a lower weight capacity and will not be as durable as a solid wood constructed bunk. The trade-off is quality and longevity. You pay a little more now but you have the piece of mind that it will not break on you within the year (especially with active kids).
Weight capacity is very important (especially with active kids). Kids like to play on their bunk bed, and play usually means being on the same bed together, rough-housing, or jumping around. Again, the sturdier the bed the higher weight capacity it will have. The weight capacity for a twin sized bunk is about 300 lbs and 400 lbs for a full size. There are however companies such as MaxTrix Kids Furniture which certify their bunk beds up to 800 lbs of pressure weight. This is again due to the fact that they use 100% solid Maple, Birch and Aspen.
When choosing your bunk make sure there are no gaps or openings larger than 9" or smaller than 3.5". The height between the top of the mattress and the top of the guard rail must be at lest 5." For the top bunk it is important that protrusions are no higher than 5" on the bed post to counter strangulation risks. Also, make sure the paints and the finishes that are used do not contain any lead, and are non-toxic. Make sure you avoid any product that uses Phthalates in their plastic.