Think Twice About Using Bed Rails
Don’t be misled by advertisements anymore; there is no such thing as a safe, portable bed rail. These rails, sometimes called ‘assist bars’ are advocated by physicians and families who think they will make the bed safer, when in reality the bed becomes more dangerous.
The bed rails are unsafe because of the increased risk of strangulation, entrapment, or positional asphyxiation. These can occur if the person should shift or roll over and become trapped between the bed and rail. The FDA and CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) had over 700 reported deaths from the use of bed rails. Advertisements need to stop claiming that these rails make the bed “safer.”
The advertisements can be particularly misleading with regard to the elderly. Bed rails do not deter anyone from trying to get out of bed, and do not prevent falls. Also, if an elderly person does fall out of bed, the presence of the rail makes the fall more dangerous, because it changes the trajectory of the fall. Low bed height and cushioned mats safely decrease the risk of injury if a fall should occur from bed. We need to get the word out that bed rails are not safe and should not be used.