I previously reported about a safety issue with a risk of collapsing ladders on the Pulaski Build-A-Bear loft bed sold by Jordan’s Furniture and other retailers. I’m sorry to say that I’ve encountered another safety issue with this same bed.
The guard rail for the loft bed, whose purpose is to keep children from falling out of the bed, looks like this:
As you can see, three vertical posts connected to the bed support two horizontal rails.
Given the safety-critical nature of the guard rail, one would expect the vertical posts to be fastened quite strongly to the bed frame. Unfortunately, they are not.
The strongest way to secure the posts would be to put at least two thick wood screws through each one directly into the frame. Unfortunately, that’s not how they are secured. Rather, a metal bracket is screwed separately into the posts and frame:
Two screws on the top arm of the bracket go through the post, and two screws on the bottom arm of the bracket go through the frame.
This design is inherently problematic. The use of metal brackets leaves the rail vulnerable to the same metal fatigue issues I encountered in the ladder brackets. Furthermore, because the brackets allow the rail to be wobbled back and forth, the screws can eventually worm their way out of the wood. This is exactly what happened to one of the three brackets on our bed:
Fortunately, we noticed it and put in new screws, but the fact that this was able to occur at all is problematic. Safety-critical components like ladders and guard rails simply must be built strongly enough to prevent things like this from happening.
I can understand why Pulaski used metal brackets in this context: they make it easier to assemble the bed. However, the right way to use metal brackets here would have been for the two bottom screws, the ones that go through the bed frame, to be long enough to go all the way through the frame and into the post on the other side. For ease of installation, pilot holes could have been drilled in the post opposite the bottom bracket holes.
This change would have almost certainly prevented the screws on our bed from coming out, since it would have made the rail much more secure and less prone to wobbling. Furthermore, it would have doubled the number of screws securing the rail to the frame, such that even if the screws did come out, it would be far less dangerous.
It is quite distressing to see a manufacturer of children’s furniture skimping on safety.
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