Thursday, August 16th, 2007
A Tale of Four Beds and a Bed Rail
Here is the part of the blog where I recount the dry details of my life in case it’s helpful for someone somewhere for some odd reason.
Our 3-year-old daughter transitioned to her fourth bed last night.
At birth, she slept in an Amby Baby Motion Bed.
At 8 months, she graduated to a twin mattress placed directly on her floor. We never bought or needed a crib.
At 18 months, my wife got a hankerin’ for her daughter to move into a “big girl bed.” That meant a twin bed with a headboard. We would forgo a toddler bed because it’s a waste of money when your kid is just going to grow into a twin bed anyway.
I fought her tooth-and-nail because, hey, the kid is fine with the mattress on the floor. No! No! No!
At 2 years, a friend offered us her grown son’s twin bed. It was free, so we took a look. Pushing the mattress snugly against its footboard created a good 10-inch gap between the mattress and the headboard. That’s right, a nice big drop to the floor inviting injury or death. Centering the mattress in the middle of the bed didn’t help. Thanks, but no thanks.
At 2.5 years, another friend offered to sell us her (disassembled) twin bed cheap, and my wife bit. You bought what, honey?
This bed turned out to have a 6-inch gap between mattress and headboard. Our best guess is that the gap affords space for draping a bulky comforter. It’s a useless feature for us because my daughter doesn’t use a comforter or even a top/flat sheet. We just drape a blanket over her that she can pull up when she’s cold.
So, with my wife forging ahead with her dream bed, we had to make a couple modifications.
First, we didn’t want our daughter slipping into the hole, so we slid the mattress forward, and stuffed two rolled up blankets into the hole at the foot of the bed.
Second, we knew that stuffing blankets into a bottomless hole wouldn’t work, so an additional fix was needed. We replaced the wood slats that support the mattress with a foolproof solution.
We measured the dimensions of the bed, then visited Ace Hardware and bought a three-quarter-inch thick board measuring 75″x40″. The store cut the board into three slabs that fit the contour of the bed frame. Three slabs were necessary so they fit in our car. The cost was $30, the same price we paid for the bed.
Not only did we eliminate the hole, but those boards can support a whole team of monkeys jumping on the bed.
At 3.2 years, and a baby on the way, we began thinking about bunk beds. Sure, the top bunk isn’t safe until 6-years-of-age, but hey, a bunk bed is in our future no matter what.
I’m a big garage saler, so my plan was to keep an eye out for a great bunk bed at an unbeatable price over the next few years. No rush.
Within a few weeks, Freecycle popped up an offer for a free bed. Freecycle is a mailing list where people give away stuff they don’t want. You connect with a person and go pick up their item at their home. A lot of the offers are for junk, but once in a while gems appear.
A family moving into a new house had a new bunk bed and wanted to unload their old one. It turned out to be an IKEA Gutvik in great condition. We had to remove some butterfly stickers and secure a minor crack with wood glue, but otherwise, hey, our search was over.
Plus, our bed has a backstory. It ranked number 9 on a list of the 101 Dumbest Moments in Business. When the Swedish IKEA sold its bunk bed in Germany, customers there noticed that Gutvik, in their language, sounded like “good f**k.” Oops.
One issue with the bed is that our daughter wants to sleep in the top bunk three years too soon. So, we turned the bed around, positioning the built-in ladder against the wall. A rambunctious kid could still try climbing the rails on the footboard, but our daughter isn’t a climber and would get scared at the thought.
The twin mattress fits snugly in the Gutvik, so we don’t know what was up with the two previous bed frames.
With both twin beds we’ve used a Dex Universal Safe Sleeper Bed Rail. Its winning feature is a rail that folds down to ease changing of bed sheets.
The unit is secured with two bars that slide on top of a platform bed or above a box frame. A tethered disc can run across the mattress and serve as counter-pressure to assure the rail doesn’t fall out.
We noticed last night a safety notice on the Dex stating it is not supposed to be used on bunk beds or day beds, but we were unable to imagine any scenario where the rail could be a hazard.
Meanwhile, the product box touts the Dex as “the only bed rail that works with all beds… even platform beds… guaranteed!” Hmm, maybe I’ll contact the manufacturer and keep theorizing about how the rail could be hazardous. It seems very secure.
In the meantime, we’ll be using the top bunk to store gear for the next baby.
- Bunk bed safety fact sheet from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.