How to Get Up to the Top Bunk of a Bunk Bed

Two Methods:Using the Approved Climbing StyleTrying Unapproved Climbing Styles

Bunk beds are great to use, especially in a small room, because they allow you to choose where and how to sleep. Climbing up to the top bunk can be a chore, however, if you don’t know what you are doing. You should first set up your bunk bed in a safe and sensible location. Then, you can use a ladder or stairs to climb up to the top. Other methods of climbing or jumping to the top bunk exist, but are more dangerous. Attempt these methods at your own risk.

Method 1
Using the Approved Climbing Style

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    Choose an appropriate location for your bed. There are bunk beds of many sizes, shapes, and styles, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find one that fits your room. You should place the bunk bed in a corner of the room, with walls against two sides. In addition, you should keep the bed away from any ceiling fans or hanging light fixtures. Following these tips will make the bunk bed safer.[1]
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    Keep the area around the bed clear. Crawling over a mess on the floor or around the bunk bed can make climbing to the top dangerous. You don’t want to trip over anything on your way up! Be sure to keep toys, furniture, books, clothes, etc. cleared away from the bunk bed.[2]
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    Install a ladder. The typically approved method for getting to the top bunk is to use a ladder. Standard models of bunk beds will include a ladder or approved equivalent. Follow all instructions for installation and use. Know that using a ladder incorrectly, or a unapproved method for getting to the top bunk can cause injury or death.[3]
    • Make sure that the bunk bed ladder is bolted down according to the manufacturer’s instructions before you attempt to climb up.[4]
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    Place guardrails on your bed. All approved bunk beds should have guardrails around the top bunk. The exact construction of these guardrails will vary depending on the manufacturer of your bunk bed. General guidelines suggest that the guardrails should be no less than five inches higher than the bunk’s mattress.[5]
    • If your guardrails have slats, make sure that any openings between them are not so wide that you could become trapped.
    • There should be an opening at the ladder or stairs that will vary between 22 and 25 inches wide, depending upon your (or your child’s) age.
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    Use the ladder. Place your feet one at a time on each successive rung of the ladder, and move upwards toward the top bunk. As you reach the top, put your hands on the bed. Once your feet reach the top of your ladder, you should end up in a crawling position. All you have to do then is crawl into bed.
    • To climb down the ladder, swing your feet onto the top rung. Make sure that you are facing the rungs. Then, move down the rungs of the ladder, moving one foot at a time.
    • Move slowly and be careful not to catch your foot on a rung as you go up or down.[6]
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    Install stairs if you want more versatility. Some bunk beds can have stairs as a method for getting up to the top bunk. These will take up more floor space than a ladder, but can make climbing up and down easier. Use them as you would any other stairs until you reach the top stair, which should meet the top bunk. Then, all you have to do is crawl into bed.[7]
    • Stairs can offer more decorative options. For instance, drawers can be hidden in each stair for extra storage.
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    Add a rail to the ladder or stairs. You can make it easier to climb up your bunk bed’s ladder or stairs if you install a hand rail. These may be included with or offered as an option with some models. Once installed, the rail will give you something extra to hold onto as you climb up and down.[8]
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    Install a nightlight. Climbing up and down from a top bunk is one of the primary dangers associated with bunk beds. It can be especially hard to see what you are doing in the dark. Installing a nightlight near the bunk bed’s ladder, however, can make it much easier to see.[9]
    • Consider installing a night light that automatically turns on and off, so you won’t ever forget to turn it on.

Method 2
Trying Unapproved Climbing Styles

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    Know the risks. Playing on a bunk bed’s ladder or stairs, climbing onto the top bunk using unapproved methods, and jumping down from the top bunk are all dangerous activities. Be very cautious and attempt these alternative methods at your own risk.[10]
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    Climb over the sides. If you are tall enough and strong enough, you can scramble to the top bunk by going over the sides of the bed. Step onto the bottom bunk, and then pull and push yourself up to the top bunk using your arms and legs. Just remember that this is dangerous and that it can be painful if you fall.[11]
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    Jump to the top bunk. Some people are able to get to the top bunk by standing a few feet away from the bed, running over to it, and vaulting over the rails. This is a very challenging technique, however. It is also very dangerous. Keep in mind that it will be painful if you miss the bed or fall off before you are safely in the bunk. [12][13]
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    Use other furniture for leverage. Generally, it is recommended that you keep the area around a bunk bed clear. However, a less safe method for getting to the top bunk involves stepping onto another piece of furniture (such as a desk, dresser, or bookshelf) before or while climbing up to the bunk. You can push off of its surface to make it easier to launch yourself into the bed.[14]
    • Remember that you or the piece of furniture can fall while you are trying to climb up. To help prevent this, make sure that your furniture is bolted to the wall.
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    Use a wall and window for support. If there is a windowsill near your bunk bed, you can step into it before climbing to the top bunk. Using the wall for support, launch yourself from the windowsill to the ladder or rails of the bunk bed, and pull yourself into the top bunk.[15]


  • When making the bed pull the sheets, blankets, quilt, etc, over the edges of the top bunk mattress while you are standing on the floor. It is much easier than trying to sit on it and make the bed!
  • If a child has a bed-wetting issue, it is recommended he or she sleeps on the bottom, to make it easier to get to the toilet quickly. Bottom bunk sheets can also be changed more quickly at night.


  • It is not recommended that children under six years old sleep on a top bunk, since they may lack the coordination and strength to climb up and down safely.[16]
  • Check your bunk bed periodically to make sure that all parts are safely bolted together and that the bed is not damaged.[17]

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Categories: Personal Space