An example of an unsafe bunk-bed.

An example of an unsafe bunk-bed.

Last year 101 young children (aged 4 or under) were admitted to hospital after falling from their bed or bunk. At least 21 of them fell from a bunk.

Falls are the greatest risk – but there are other dangers with bunks. A child could even be strangled by their clothing getting caught on a corner post or their head caught between a bunk’s guard rails.
The voluntary standard AS/NZS 4220:2010 specifies the safety requirements for bunk-beds. The most important are secure guard rails, no gaps that could trap a child’s head and no protrusions that could snag their clothing.

However, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ recent checks of a range of bunk-beds in stores found that of those tested none fully met the standard. The Ministry has been in touch with the manufacturers and suppliers – and if they don’t do a better job of complying, it’ll look at making the standard compulsory.

Recent Australian research reveals that kids aged 3 and under have had the greatest increase in injuries involving bunk-beds – which shows that allowing young kids to play on or around bunk-beds is a major factor in child safety.

Our advice

  • If you’re buying a bunk, ask if it complies with the standard.
  • Don’t put a child in a top bunk until it’s old enough to cope. The ministry’s advice is that children under 9 shouldn’t be allowed on bunk beds.
  • The top bunk is for sleeping only – most falls happen when children are playing.
More information


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