OBJECTIVE. Our goal was to comprehensively examine bunk bed–related injuries in the United States by using a nationally representative sample.
METHODS. Using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, cases of nonfatal bunk bed–related injuries treated in US emergency departments from 1990 through 2005 were selected by using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System bunk bed product code (0661). Cases concerning individuals ≤21 years old were included.
RESULTS. An estimated 572 580 children and adolescents aged ≤21 years were treated in US emergency departments for bunk bed–related injuries during the 16-year study period, yielding an average of 35 790 cases annually. An average of 42 per 100 000 population were treated annually. Bunk bed–related injuries occurred more frequently among males (60.6%). Lacerations were the most common type of injury (29.7%), followed by contusions and abrasions (24.0%) and fractures (19.9%). The body parts most frequently injured were the head and neck (27.3%) in all age groups. Falls were the most common mechanism of injury (72.5%). Of the cases for which locale of injury was recorded, 93.5% occurred at home. Approximately half of the bunk bed–related injuries that occurred at schools involved individuals aged 18 to 21 years (50.9%). An estimated 2.9% of injuries resulted in hospitalization or transfer to another hospital or required additional observation. The number of bunk bed–related injuries showed no significant trend from 1990 to 2005.
CONCLUSIONS. Bunk beds are a common source of injury among children and adolescents, and these injuries mostly involve the head and face. Given the continuing large numbers of bunk bed–related injuries at homes and in schools, increased efforts are needed to prevent bunk bed–related injuries among children and adolescents.