The short answer is yes – pull out sofa beds are generally safe for both children as well as senior citizens. Unless the sofa bed’s label/manual specifies that it’s not to be used by children under 5 years of age, or a company recalls their pull out sleeper sofas for safety concerns, or if the sofa’s pull out mechanism is hopelessly broken, there’s really no reason to be worried. Whether you find one in a hotel, a relative’s home, or in an Airbnb location, pull out sofa beds aka sleeper sofas are usually safe for adults, children, and seniors to sleep in.
With all that being said, there are some concerns about sofa beds that you should know about. For instance…
Never Ever Co-Sleep With a Baby on a Sofa
When you’re regularly using a pull out sofa bed, you might treat that bed as you would a normal mattress, even when it’s in sofa mode. The problem with this is that while a spacious mattress is the safest surface for parent-baby co-sleeping, a couch or sofa is not. When you co-sleep with a baby on a pull out sofa bed that’s in sofa or couch mode, there is a very real risk of SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome due to suffocation.
In fact, in a study that looked at almost 8,000 sleep-related infant deaths, ⅛ of those deaths happened on a sofa, of which 90% happened when the baby was co-sleeping with their parent.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that sofa beds are automatically unsafe for babies. When the sofa is engaged in pull out mattress mode, and when you don’t have too many pillows, stuffed toys, or other potentially suffocating objects on the mattress, it can be a perfectly safe surface for infant co-sleeping.
Additionally, as with any surface that’s not particularly designed for baby and infant safety, you should never leave your baby alone on a pull out sofa, even when it’s in mattress mode. There is still the risk that the pull out mechanism is defective, and it could suddenly shift in unpredictable ways.
The Pull Out Mechanism May Be Dangerous to Babies, But Not to Kids and Seniors
While a defective or broken pull out mechanism may possibly be lethal to fragile babies under 1 or 2 years of age, it’s not a threat to either kids or seniors. At least one parent, uncle, or aunt has a story about kids jumping on a pull out sofa bed with the intent to force it back halfway into couch mode. If your kids do this, the sofa will probably just give and devour the children in its cushions, most likely resulting in giggles instead of injuries (and possibly a broken sleeper sofa). Kids will be kids, and one way or another, they will be attracted to the interesting pull out mechanism that their regular beds at home don’t have.
Likewise, senior citizens are unlikely to be hurt if a sleeper sofa’s pull out mechanism suddenly gives – unless of course they have severe back problems. But in most cases, when the pull out mechanism breaks, it won’t result in any grievous injuries. You’re more likely to hurt by an old spring mattress riddled with rusty springs ready to stick out at any time than a defective sofa bed.
Stabilize An Old Pull Out Sleeper Sofa Using Weights
If you’re worried about the pull out mechanism suddenly breaking in the middle of the night, you can use weights to stabilize the legs or the actual frame of the bed. Dumbbells, kettle bells, chairs, benches, or anything with significant weight can work as back-up supports that can temporarily stabilize a sofa bed’s broken mechanisms.
Likewise, replacing the mattress on an old sofa bed with a new one is a good way to add stability by properly spreading the weight that the frame needs to carry. If you know your way around knots, a couple feet of paracord can be used to hold old and creaky bed mechanisms together. Any of these temporary fixes can prevent the bed from suddenly breaking and interrupting the sleep of whoever’s using it.
So there you have it: Whether you’re making improvements to your bedroom or just travelling to a new location, pull out sofa beds aka sleeper beds are a safe sleeping option for grandma and the kids. However, for babies under 2 or 1 year old, there are some risks that you need to consider.
April 12, 2017