Falling out of bed is common for young children, especially those who have recently switched from a crib to a bed. Without the crib slats to hold them in bed, children might roll right off the edge of a regular mattress. Most falls from a toddler or twin bed won’t result in serious injury. A child falling from a top bunk bed runs the risk for a more severe injury. Simple safety strategies reduce the chances of your child falling out of bed from any height.
Buy a bed that fits your child’s size, age and maturity level. For example, a bunk bed isn’t safe for a preschooler, who is more likely to roll out and get injured. For young children, a toddler bed that is low and has built-in side rails provides a safer sleeping environment and reduces the risk of falls.
Tighten the bed frame so the bed doesn’t wobble. A wobbly bed could result in a fall as your child climbs into the bed or as she plays in the bed during the day. Check the stability of the bed every few months to make sure the screws don’t loosen.
Add side rails to the bed, making sure they are installed properly and fit snugly against the mattress to prevent entrapment. Most stores that sell beds and bedding materials have side rails available that you can add to any bed.
Position the bed away from windows, shelves and other objects in the room that might encourage your child to climb or reach while in the bed. For example, if the bookshelf is near the bed, he might reach for a book while lying in bed. If he reaches too far, he could fall out of bed.
Set up your child’s mattress on the floor if he has a tendency to fall out of the bed. Give your child a chance to get used to the less restrictive sleeping environment before moving the mattress onto a bed frame.
Purchase a bed frame that is low to the floor. Skip the box spring if possible and choose a low-profile mattress, which is thinner than normal. Not only will the fall be less serious if she does roll out, the lower mattress makes it easier to get in and out of bed, which might prevent falls during those times.
Place pillows or bean bag chairs next to the bed. If the mattress is low enough, they might help your child stay in bed. If the bed is high, the pillows and bean bags can break your child’s fall to prevent serious injury.
Discourage your child from playing in her bed. Moving around and playing in the bed increases her risk of falling out and getting injured.