Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human factors/ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards

Date:
April 15, 2011
Source:
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Summary:
Ryan was just four years old when he went to sleep on his bunk bed one night and never woke up. His mother found him strangled to death the next morning with his neck caught between the vertical post of his side ladder and mattress.

The death of a young boy whose head became wedged between the side ladder and mattress leads to a call for tighter standards.

Related Articles


Ryan was just four years old when he went to sleep on his bunk bed one night and never woke up. His mother found him strangled to death the next morning with his neck caught between the vertical post of his side ladder and mattress.

Ryan is not the only child to have strangled in the space between a bunk bed ladder and mattress. Since 1983, other incidents have been reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In the Forensic Ergonomics Special Issue of Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications, HF/E researcher Carol Pollack-Nelson, PhD, discusses how a thorough human factors/ergonomics analysis of bunk beds might have prevented Ryan's death.

Head and neck entrapments have occurred in many consumer products over the years, prompting millions of recalls and changes in standards and government legislation. The bunk bed industry tried to address the hazard by developing a standard that specifies spacing limitations intended to prevent such entrapment risks in bunk bed end panels. However, these specifications do not apply to the space between the ladder and the side of the bunk bed. As a result, the head and neck entrapment risk in this part of a bunk bed still exists and has never been addressed by any legislation -- until very recently.

"A child's sleep environment -- whether it is a crib, a toddler bed, or a bunk bed -- should be a safe haven," says Pollack-Nelson. "Parents should be able to put the child to sleep without concern that the child will be injured or killed in the bed itself. Head and neck entrapment should not be permitted in any components of a bed that is intended for use by children."

Pollack-Nelson included her HF/E research on head and neck entrapment in a July 2010 petition to the CPSC to encourage revisions in a mandatory bunk bed standard that could help to prevent deaths among children like Ryan. The CPSC published the petition, which is pending action and may see a decision before the end of 2011. In the meantime, the American Society for Testing and Materials Subcommittee for Bunk Beds met in March to address the petition and is taking action to revise the standard before the end of this year.

"I am very pleased that the industry is taking this hazard seriously by amending the voluntary standard," says Pollack-Nelson. "I am hopeful that changes to the standard will prevent other children from becoming entrapped in bunk bed side structures."

The expertise of forensic human factors/ergonomics professionals is vitally important in the development of industry standards to ensure that those standards promote safe designs. Similar case studies involving the role of forensic ergonomics in safety standards, civil litigation, and government legislation are featured in the upcoming special issue of EID, now online.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Pollack-Nelson. Fatality in the Side of a Bunk Bed. Ergonomics in Design: The Quarterly of Human Factors Applications, 2011; 19 (1): 9 DOI: 10.1177/1064804611400989

Cite This Page:

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Human factors/ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414151524.htm>.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. (2011, April 15). Human factors/ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414151524.htm
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. "Human factors/ergonomics research leads to improved bunk bed safety standards." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414151524.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins