How to Keep Toddlers From Climbing the Ladder to the Top Bunk

Bunk beds can be advantageous in a shared children’s bedroom, especially when you want to save crucial floor space. With a toddler in the house, a bunk bed may present a real and significant climbing danger 1. To keep your toddler safe from a potentially serious injury, you’ll need to devise a way to keep the child off the ladder to the top bunk.

Make a house rule that only one child is allowed on the top bunk at any time. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that no children under age 6 should ever use the top bunk of a bunk bed. With this guideline in mind, the house rules governing your bunk bed should also include that no children under age 6 should ever climb the bunk bed ladder.

Supervise your toddler closely whenever she’s in the bedroom to keep her off the ladder. If your toddler seems interested in the ladder and makes a move to try to climb it, intervene immediately. Tell your toddler, “No ladder. Big owie!” Maintain consistency with the ladder, always supervising and always intervening if your toddler tries to climb it.

Install a protective barrier on the ladder to ensure your toddler doesn’t climb it. This adjustable mechanism installs easily right over the ladder, covering the rungs and preventing your toddler from accessing them to climb. You can remove the barrier when an older child needs to climb the ladder.

Remove the ladder from the bunk bed if it detaches easily 1. Place the ladder where your toddler cannot access it and replace it on the bunk bed when an older child needs to climb the ladder to the top bunk.

Place a gate in the doorway to the bedroom to keep your toddler out of the bedroom unless you are there to supervise her play.


An active and curious toddler needs attentive supervision during every waking moment, advises professor Peggy Tompkins, with the Oklahoma City Community College. Allowing your toddler to wander unsupervised into the bedroom with an unrestricted ladder on the bunk bed is likely to end in some sort of fall. Even when you consistently instruct your toddler to stay off the ladder, she doesn’t understand the danger and doesn’t have the self-control to obey you yet.

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