One of the hardest times of the day for a parent of a child with special needs is at night. Keeping your child safe in such a way that everyone gets a restful night sleep is a challenge.
There are many special needs beds available, and yes you can often get insurance to pay for these items.
However, David and I wanted something different for Becca. Something really special. Something that did not scream “I’m a piece of medical equipment.”
We brainstormed. We looked around a beds and realized we could adapt our own. We thought about a basic 4 poster bed. At the time that style wasn’t very popular, and it seemed for most of them the post was rounded. That would make attaching any kind of railing more difficult.
We turned our attention to bunk beds. We found one that would be perfect. the headboard and foot board were fairly solid. The best thing behind the idea of a bunk bed was if the day came when Becca no longer needed her special bed we could revert it to a regular bunk bed, or even better in the style we chose, just a twin bed.
So David got to work designing railings. We decided to go with a piece on the back that is fixed. The front of the bed has doors that open. The design is like barn doors.
*edit* If you click on some of these pictures you can better see the note I put on them explaining some things in detail *edit*
Full shot of her bed
We put multiple latches on the bed,in an attempt to make it escape proof. In our case, Rebecca does not have very good fine motor control, and it is unlikely she intentionally unfastens the latch. However we put more than one on there to reduce the odds she would accidentally open them all.
David took boards that would fit around the horizontal slat that is the main support for each bed. Lucky for us the frame of the bed had bolt holes already for you to attach the railings that came with the bed. We used these to attach the frame for her railings.
I took a picture of the hinges so you could see that the bed has the 2×4 that attaches to the bed, a smaller frame built to hold the doors of the bed, and then two panels that are the doors.
We do not have a bed in the top bunk. Becca likes to stand up on bed and this allows her to stand and play in bed. However, there is no reason why you can not. Nothing is done to the bed to affect its use as a bunk bed.
This shows the back of the bed. Still railings, but it is a solid piece.
This picture is from when Becca first slept in her bed. At the time I had the padding I mentioned. I have since taken that down (it proved to be more trouble than it was worth the first time she got sick).
I’ve shared many of these pictures in special needs groups many times. I often get asked for more information. Therefore I thought it was only reasonable to create a blog detailing the information so that it would be in a format that is easy to share.
To this day Becca loves her bed. It is so nice knowing she has a safe place. I am sure many of you are familiar with that point you reach some days where your child just needs a place to go to decompress. A place all their own. For a child like Becca I can’t just send her to her room. I can’t leave her unattended. Now, when she reaches that melting point I can put her in her bed, turn on her music and quietly leave the room. 9 times out of 10, she plays in there for a short time and then falls fast asleep, just what she needed to do but was to stubborn to do otherwise.
When she wakes up in the middle of the night, as she often does, she is content to play in her bed. She has many stuffed animals, and we even have the crib toy from when she was a baby. She still loves the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium.
You can also see we’ve painted some decorations on her bed, as well as made use of those vinyl wall clings (her room is decorated with them and I took some of the extra and placed in her bed).
I hope this inspires another parent in search of the perfect bed for their precious child.