Bed Under a Window

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Kid's bedroom has lots of windows

April 2006

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. 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 shatter. good luck

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. Quaking

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. Anonymous

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. -Marcia

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 than nothing. 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! R.K.

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? mike

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 try. Good luck! Roxanne

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. aa34d8010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____ 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. anon