Bunk beds are not recommended unless space necessitates them. Recalls abound. Check the CPSC recall list to be sure you are not using an unsafe one.
- Don't let a child younger than 6 sleep or play on the top bed.
- Never allow horseplay on bunk beds - ever.
- Be sure there are top railings the length of both sides of the top bed. Mattresses should fit snugly. You don't want any space between the mattress and the frame on the top or bottom bed.
- Shake the assembled bed vigorously to make sure it is stable before allowing children in the beds.
- Save the manufacturer's guidelines for putting the bed together. You'll have to take it down and move the set eventually. You'll want to put it together correctly. Don't use replacement parts from anyone except the manufacturer.
For children who are not sharing a room, a doorknob cover on an older child's bedroom door helps protect that child's toys from a baby. It also allows that child to retreat from the baby and play in peace in his or her bedroom. Investing in an additional safety gate for the doorway of an older child's room works well too. By the time the younger one can climb over the gate, it's probably time to remove it anyway.
Don't entrust the care of a baby to even a responsible older young child without an adult available. It's an unfair responsibility to put on the shoulders of a child who can not possibly make a mature decision if a situation should arise.