Bed Under a Window
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Bed Under a Window
I grew up in the Bay Area, and my whole life I've been told never to place a bed under a window (or put a glass framed picture over a bed) because of the danger of breaking glass landing on you while you're sleeping in an earthquake. Now we're about to move to a new house, and the new kids' room has lots of windows. I can't figure out how to put my kids' beds in their room without putting one of the beds under the window. Is there really a danger of a window breaking and glass falling on the bed during an earthquake, or is my understanding incorrect? If it is a legitimate concern, has anyone come up with a way to solve the problem? anon
Children's beds under windows do require some caution.
Earthquake is one consideration but kids jumping on beds and breaking the window is
another (and if a high window falling is another consideration). I recommend having
the window changed to safety tempered glass which requires 450lbs per square foot to
break. When safety tempered glass does break, it breaks in smaller pebbles which cause
less injury. Tempered glass is identified by this hard to read with label on the
corner of the the glass (the label is called the bug) and you will either see the word
tempered or ''CFR 1201 II''. A less expensive option is to have a safety film applied
to the glass so if it does break, it will likely hold together. If the window is brand
new, check with the manufacturer to be sure you are not voiding any warrenties with
the window when applying this safety film. If the window is up high, be carful about
falling hazards as well.
Some windows near children's beds are modified so they only open four inches.
Remember, we want at least on window in the bedroom (maybe not the one near the bed)
to open for fire egress. Congratulations on your new place. Cheers Jay.
Try tempered glass. It is code now to have this glass anywhere that the glass comes
down to the floor, like a big tall window, or a shower door, but I would see if you
could order tempered glass for regular windows too. It will still break, but will not
I also used to avoid beds under windows, but now in our master bedroom the bed is
right next to a sliding glass door because we had to make room for a co-sleeper.
My solution was to put up very heavy drapes -- thick 1950s barkcloth plus heavy
blackout material as lining should at least contain the glass, I hope. My easy-going
mother who was at the epicenter in 1989 says just to pull the covers over your head
during an earthquake! Honestly from her experience, windows flex with the house, and
the greater danger is heavy objects (mirrors, shelves of books, the Crockpot on the
top cupboard shelf, the piano, the brick fireplace) falling on you.
To the person wondering about the wisdom of putting a bed under a window in spite of
earthquake danger. I have an earthquake consulting service.
Yes, it is true that you should avoid putting a bed under a window. If there is no
other option, you can greatly reduce the risk by installing a good window treatment:
drapes or heavy blinds. Just make sure that you draw the thing over the window every
time someone is going to be in the bed. An additional help would be to install
shatter-resistant film on the windows.
we also had to put the crib under a window. We got a big piece of plexiglass and
screwed it to the window frame, covering the glass. TAP plastics can cut the plexi to
size for you.
Are you really waiting for a majority of readers, who haven't seen your kids' bedroom,
to guarantee that in the event of an earthquake, glass won't fall on one child's bed?
I don't understand your question. I'd say get a bunk bed for one side of the room.
Problem solved. Better safe than sorry.
Many years ago, I had no choice in my son's room, but to put his bed under a window.
What I did was go to ''Tap Plastics'' and get a window film. If I remember correctly,
they had both shaded films and totally clear ones. I chose a slightly shaded film as
the window faced east. Anyway, I applied it according to directions and it is still
there-mostly undetectable. Supposedly, if the window breaks in an earthquake, the
glass all sticks together like ''safety glass''. Hopes this helps.
Yes, broken glass is definitely a risk in an earthquake. If a bed must be under a
window, you can reduce the risk in several ways:
Put up well-secured window coverings and close them when anyone is in the bed.
Shutters probably give the most protection, but blinds and even curtains are better
Apply safety film (available at Tap Plastics in El Cerrito) to the windows. It is not
the same as the tinted solar film, it actually holds the window together even if it
breaks (also increases protection against vandals).
These are probably good ideas even if the bed is not right under the window, since
walking across shattered gass in bare feet is no fun!
Yes - it's a legitimate issue. Can the beds at least be arranged so the glass is
above the foot of the bed, not the head?
We had the same problem at our house. I considered different schemes, such as shades
that attached at the bottom to contain the breaking glass, and found that the cheapest
and easiest option is to get safety glass film from TAP plastics. It is a plastic
film that turns regular glass into safety glass. I purchased the supplies and made a
good effort to install the film. The problem with it is that I could not get it to
lie completely smoothly on the glass.... there were small bubbles that I could not get
rid of. Maybe someone more talented than I could install it perfectly. Eventually, I
ended up replacing the windows (which were quite old and need of serious attention
anyways) with new ones that I had made with safety glass. I still have a big roll of
the safety glass film which you are welcome to have for free and you could give it a
We tend to get lazy because earthquakes hit so rarely, but glass does
break during earthquakes and protection is important.
Applying a plastic film to the glass can make it much safer.
You may need to hire a professional to apply it.
In addition to the safety film to prevent glass from falling in, I
recommend keeping kids who jump on the bed from going OUT the window
with what we used: an old fashioned, heavy duty, infant door on the
window-- the spring-loaded kind people used to use to keep kids from
going up or down stairs, or out of rooms.
this page was last updated: Sep 12, 2009
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