KayserBetten GmbH & Co. KG

How to make a child-care bed really appropriate for a child

Learning through movement

The perception of depth, proprioception, of the children is stimulated when children can move around sufficiently in their bed. This is essential for the development of the brain and the facilitation of the nerve endings. But this is precisely where children with special needs face certain problems.

A healthy child can usually judge his own motor skills pretty well from the toddler age onwards, which means that usually there are no accidents when they jump around in the bed - the child does not fall out and does not get entangled in the rails.
 
A child care bed is always something special. In case of children with special needs, not only the motor skills may be restricted but spastic attacks and seizures make it impossible for the children to make specific movements. This increases the risk of injury.

Therefore it is necessary for a child care bed to meet these special requirements. For this purpose, the side rails of the bed should be available in different heights and models (rails or Plexiglas panels) to meet the individual needs and capabilities of the child.   The question of safety is always important for child care beds.   The medical products act governs the design according to the standard.  The manufacturer‘s commitment is needed to ensure good stability and operational reliability during daily use over many years.    Trying to save money, for example, while calculating the dimensions of the wood is definitely the wrong approach.

To ensure that our kids do not have to cope with allergies, natural materials should always be preferred over synthetic products in production as far as possible. Solid beech wood, coated with sweat and saliva-resistant paints, feels very soft and corresponds to the physiological sensation of our children. Smoothly-finished rods can help the child‘s efforts to grip and walk. This little excursion into the world of children shows quite clearly that: one cannot simply classify a bed as a place to sleep. It is much more a place for fantasies where you feel secure.
 
A child care bed, on the other hand, is something quite unique. Its design and fittings should ensure that it functions reliably, so the child‘s disability is compensated as much as possible and the daily work of the nurse becomes considerably easier. Motorised height adjustable sleeping platforms with different functions and the matching mattresses are therefore a must in every child care bed.

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The special importance of a bed from the perspective of a child

Playground, sleeping place and castle

The perception of depth, proprioception, of the children is stimulated when children can move around sufficiently in their bed. This is essential for the development of the brain and the facilitation of the nerve endings. But this is Beds have a special significance especially for children. They spend a lot of time in them throughout childhood. And not only for sleeping.  Children love to play, eat, listen to music or stories, read or even do gymnastics in their bed.  But the bed is also a „castle“ into which the child can withdraw if it is feeling sad or when it is sulking. It is also the favourite place for dreaming and cuddling.

For adults and children alike, the bed represents a very personal space. Entirely different features are important for children where their bed is concerned. For them the appearance of the bed is important. The look of the bed should
appeal to the child‘s eyes. They prefer beds with a coloured design which look interesting and whose shape and colour are inviting.
   
Not only the appearance but also the feel has to be right. Children explore their surroundings not only with the eyes but mainly with their hands.   They prefer beds that appeal to the visual and haptic perception. This is fun and stimulates the child‘s imagination.

Feeling good and experience . . .

Another important aspect for children is that they can feel good in their beds. Feeling good just does not mean soft bed linen and cuddly toys but also the use of agreeable materials for the bed. The use of smooth, well-shaped wood is as important here as a comfortable, soft mattress.   Such materials not only make you feel good but also help in haptic perception which we discussed before.   

Sometimes a goodnight story is not enough . . .

This is the same for children with special needs as for all other children. The main difference is that many of these children have trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night. It is not unusual for them to take a long time to fall asleep. Often parents need to take the time to lie next to their child till it falls asleep. Waking up frequently during the night is also not unusual for these children. Unfortunately for the parents, they often do not go back to sleep by themselves which means that the parents need to attend to their children once again.

Some children need extra care during the night, either to have their diapers changed or for the child to be repositioned. This means that every night the parents and their children spend a lot of time together in and around the bed. A reasonable size, to allow room for therapies or for just spending time in bed, is important here. In some cases oversized beds are necessary. The child care bed is of far greater importance than is the case for children without disabilities.

What should such a child care bed be able to do . . .

It is clear that a child care bed has to meet entirely different requirements compared to that of a „standard bed for children“. lt is not only used by the child to sleep but also by the parents as a support for their nursing activities. If a child suffers from sleeplessness and cannot fall asleep by itself, the bed should sometimes even provide space for a parent to sleep.

The child care bed is frequently also used in a different context - many therapists use the bed as a therapy bed. The child care bed should be designed such that it allow the child exactly as much freedom of movement as the child is able to make use of.