Falling out of bed

I could do that easily enough. For some reason the mattress I have likes to slide around on the box springs. The sizes don’t match and the bed frame is larger than the mattress leaving this nice gap between the edges and the walls at both head and side. Just the right size down which to lose books, pillows or forgotten PT clothes.

But I really didn’t want to have to discuss crawling under the bed to retrieve books. No, the issue is bunk beds. A way to rack and stack a large number of soldiers in a space to small to have individual beds or cots.

Sometimes we have them in permanent quarters, such as the barracks buildings here, the Alaskas on Marmal or the MODs at Kandahar. Even more frequently, it is a way to shove large numbers in an RSOI tent.

Few, if any, voluntarily take the upper bunk. The bottom is just so much easier. And, if the place is not full – you might just get to put your gear on the top bunk or string up a poncho liner to provide the illusion of privacy.

All of this leads to my original point. You put enough people in bunk beds and someone is going to fall. It might be getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Rolling over and falling out is not all that common in adults but it could happen. Whether or not you get hurt is going to depend on the floor composition and the geometry of the space on the side that you fall. You might be lucky; then again you might not.

As you have probably guessed, we have had some soldiers fall out of the top bunk over the last year and not do well. Skull fracture = not doing well. Now, cracking your skull is not a good thing, but wanting to put bed rails on 35k bunks might not be all that smart either. I am attempting to hold off knee jerk reactions.

First, I want to know how many people actually have fallen out of bed, how many got injured and what kind of injuries. Then we look at the people to see if they were at increased risk (already injured, on medications, etc). I just keep thinking that kids past the age of 10 usually stop falling out of bed. If they do, there is usually an underlying reason. You would think someone might just wake up as they fall.

And for most of us, the head is not the heaviest part of the body. If it was me, I would have a sore butt for a long time given that my head is empty.

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8 Responses to Falling out of bed

  1. Kathryn says:

    now if a soldier is having nightmares (imagine they might be common?) then s/he might also be a very restless sleeper. (Just a weird suggestion from the totally unqualified you might like to consider!)

  2. Holly says:

    Problem is that most dont sleep well for the entire time they are deployed. Restless normally wakes you up. This is a fairly young crew with intact nervous systems; falling may not be surprising, but landing on ones head is…. (usually your arm snaps as you use it to try and break your fall….

  3. Diane says:

    What, no side rails????? Easy to make and easy to fit 🙂

  4. Holly says:

    18-25 year olds with side rails? Yah, right. You work with soldiers, exactly how many of them would tolerate side rails? Of course, if they pull their mattress to the floor they can deal with the mice, but they won’t have far to fall (also evil grin)

  5. Mark says:

    I read something way back when about why folks(kids included) do not fall out of bed after a certain age. Something like a built in gyroscope in the brain. You may want to research it.
    I have had a few minor ankle injuries getting out of the top bunk.

  6. Steve says:

    In reply to you questions…
    1: I ALWAYS preferred and took the upper rack
    2: It has the distinct advantage of not having someone sit or toss crap on your freshly made rack.
    3: Much easier to make, no hitting of your gourd on the upper rack.
    4: Yes, they are called RACKS in the Navy.
    5: No, never fell out of the upper, even when intoxicated.

    Only a few disadvantages I ever found…
    1: If your lower rack mate felt like bugging you, he’d kick the upper
    2: Transient barracks, Rota, Spain, racks were 5 high, felt like mountain climbing, but otherwise, no problem, besides, it was too high for them to check at inspections. (and just by luck got the TOP rack)
    3: Other than the bulkheads (walls), no place to hang your pix, lower rack had that advantage of putting them on the bottom of the top (my) rack

    The only exception to the above was on the ship, didn’t have a choice, but fortunately, I had the middle coffin…perfect height…that lower one would have been a killer…inches above the deck.

  7. Bob says:

    Probably the highest ratio of people falling is going to be Americans. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/mor_fal_inv_bed-mortality-fall-involving-bed

  8. Mark says:

    I don’t remember any TM, FM, classes, safety briefings, risk assessments on how to safely get out of the top bunk on to the floor. I could see a DOA TF tasked to come up with solutions. Should take 2-3 years with lots of folks and 20 mil to come up with answers.

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