These popular dorm-room beds can be more dangerous than you might think.
It’s that time of year again — parents across the country are packing up the family car and dropping their older teenagers at college. It’s an exciting time, and with everything that goes into moving a teen into a college dorm, there’s one potential college-room danger that frequently gets overlooked: bunk beds and lofted beds.
Every year, 71,000 people under the age of 21 go to the ER because of lofted bed injuries, needing treatment for everything from cuts and lacerations, to broken bones, to serious head and neck injuries. Many dorm rooms and bedrooms at fraternity and sorority houses rely on bunk beds or lofted beds to make the most out of limited housing space, and there are a few simple things that can be done to keep someone sleeping in one of these elevated beds safer.
The number one way to decrease the risk of an accidental fall from an elevated bed is to install a guardrail on the upper bed. You’d be surprised at how many dorm room bunk beds aren’t fitted with a rail, but with a small investment and a little elbow grease, an installed bedrail can help keep your student safe from accidental falls. It’s also a good idea to place a thick rug alongside the bed, in case there ever is a fall. And remind your student to be careful whenever they are climbing down from the top bunk — some injuries happen when a person purposefully jumps down from a bunk bed but lands in a way that causes injury.
On college campuses, about one fifth of these high-bed injuries happen when the student has been drinking alcohol. Remind your young adult of the importance of not not misusing alcohol, and the necessity of using extra caution — including when climbing into or out of an elevated bed — any time they have been drinking.
Bunk beds and lofted beds are staples of college housing, and they are not something likely to go away any time soon, no matter how many injuries they cause. Fortunately, it takes just a little bit of attention to help your student more safely occupy the top bunk. And if you follow our tips you can breathe a sigh of relief that one more potential danger has been eliminated from your teen’s college experience!