Bed rails are a useful tool that can help keep seniors safe, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued a warning that some models of bed rails pose a safety risk for older adults.
Ten models of adult portable bed rails made have been deemed unsafe by the CPSC. At least three people have died from being trapped by the bed rails, causing them to suffocate. The bed rails named in the warning were made and sold by Mobility Transfer Systems from 1992 to 2021 and by Metal Tubing USA Inc. in 2021 and 2022. Priced between $30 and $170, they could be purchased through a variety of online retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, MTSMedicalSupply, VitalityMedical and Alimed.
While the companies have not recalled the bed rails, the CPSC recommends that if you have one of the bed rails, immediately stop using it, disassemble it and dispose of it.
The following model numbers are included in the warning. You can find the model number on a label on the grip handle of the bed rail:
- Freedom Grip (model 501)
- Freedom Grip Plus (model 502)
- Freedom Grip Travel (model 505)
- Reversible Slant Rail (model 600)
- Transfer Handle (model 2025)
- Easy Adjustable (model 2500)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail, single-sided (model 5075)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail – Extra Tall, single-sided (model 5075T)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail, double-sided (model 5085)
- 30-Inch Security Bed Rail – Extra Tall, double-sided (model 5085T)
Bed rail safety
If you need to replace your bed rail because of the safety warning or you’re considering purchasing a bed rail for yourself or your loved one, it’s important to know how to use bed rails safely.
When assessing the need for a bed rail, keep your senior’s specific care needs in mind. While your loved one may be at risk for falling without a bed rail, a bed rail might not be the best solution if they’re likely to try to climb over the bed rail to get out of bed or are at a higher risk for suffocation. If you have concerns about whether a bed rail is the best option for your loved one, check with their doctor.
Bed rails need to be installed correctly to ensure they are safe for an older adult. Ensure the mattress is the proper size for the rail, and reduce any gaps between the mattress and the rail as much as possible. One way to do this is to use a mattress with raised foam edges.
Some people can feel trapped with bed rails all around their bed, so consider keeping one side low enough to offer some protection without creating a caged-in sensation. Lowering the foot rail is often enough to keep your loved one safe while meeting their need for a feeling of freedom.
Bed rail solutions
Options abound when it comes to bed rails, so be sure you understand your senior’s needs. Some bed rails work as transfer systems while others are designed simply to prevent falls while in bed.
Some bed rails work as transfer systems while others are designed simply to prevent falls while in bed.
Check out these bed rails to find one that works for you or your loved one.
This versatile bed rail works as both a standing assist grab bar and a bed rail. It extends from 20 to 30 inches, which means it can be moved out of the way for easy entry and exit from the bed.
This stylish bed rail looks as if it belongs with your furniture. Its wood grain design allows it to blend in with the room and avoid a sterile, institutional feel. It can also be lowered out of the way when not in use.
This adjustable bed rail is perfect if you need to adjust the height of the rail. With two options for height adjustment, this may be the perfect choice if you or your loved one have a non-standard-height bed. You can easily adjust both the legs and the height of the handle, and it comes with an organizer pouch, making it a useful place to store things within easy reach.
Remember that no matter which bed rail you choose, safety is paramount, so be sure to check your current bed rail to make sure it’s not included in the latest CPSC warning.