Buying children's room furniture: The DGM's comprehensive guide
The children's room is one of the most important rooms in the house and is the environment that should give your offspring safety and security. And in order to achieve this, the right furnishings are of paramount importance. Not only should it be functional and look nice, but it should also not pose a safety risk for the little ones. In the following article by the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel e.V. (German Furniture Quality Association), you can find out what you should look for when buying furniture for a child's room, what the most important safety features are and which furniture is ideal for which age:
What is children's room furniture and what do you have to look out for when buying it?
Children's room furniture differs in many ways from furniture for other rooms. The main criteria that furniture for children must fulfil include functionality, quality, resilience and safety. In addition, it should of course have a real feel-good character, be beautiful to look at and simply invite you to stay all around. So it quickly becomes clear that you should always proceed carefully when buying children's room furniture in order to find the ideal furniture for your little darlings. The following factors are among the most important selection criteria:
- Safety: Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to furniture for the children's room. Furniture is safe for children if it has no sharp corners and edges and is stable and tip-proof.
- Ergonomics: Furniture for the children's room must meet all the requirements of children's still growing bodies. Since these change quickly, beds that can be adjusted in length and height-adjustable tables and chairs are ideal. Such furniture grows with your child.
- Material: High-quality furniture - made of solid wood, for example - may have a higher purchase price, but is the more worthwhile investment in the long term. It is highly resilient and can withstand vigorous play. If the wood of the furniture is treated, you should make sure that it has been tested for harmful substances before buying.
- Functionality: There is no question that the furniture in a children's room must be practical and offer plenty of storage space. For this reason, the loft bed is still a bestseller among children's room furniture. While children like to sleep in it, the space under the bed can be used as additional storage space. Moreover, it can also be transformed into a pirate island or knight's castle where your offspring can experience the most amazing adventures.
- Design: Last but not least, the look of the furniture plays an important role. A lot of furniture, especially for smaller children, is colourful, just the way the little ones like it best. However, this preference for garish colours usually disappears with increasing age, which is why the offspring suddenly want different furniture after a certain age. It is therefore advisable to choose furniture that grows with the child and higher-priced furniture in more neutral colours. You can still set colourful accents with decorative elements.
Children's furniture manufacturer
This furniture absolutely belongs in a children's room
Certain furniture should simply be found in every child's room. What this is depends largely on the age of your child. Basically, however, there should be a bed, a wardrobe and a bench or other seat that is appropriate for the age of the child. In any case, the individual pieces of furniture should be multifunctional, because this is not only practical, but also invites play. A bench chest, for example, is ideal as a seat and storage space and is also a great hiding place. This is why loft beds are so popular, because they offer endless possibilities to let the child's play instinct run free.
Of course, children's room furniture must also be adapted to the child's current height. Ergonomically shaped furniture is highly recommended because it prevents posture problems later on.
When buying children's room furniture, you should pay attention to quality and safety. You are on the safe side with brand-name manufacturers. (Picture above: hülsta-Minimo)
The right light also plays a very important role in a child's room. Make sure that the children's room is bright enough so that your child can play, draw and do handicrafts without any problems. Lamps should always be free-standing and never covered with fabric. Bedside lamps for small children carry a high risk of burns. Choose light bulbs that are not so strong because they do not get so hot.
Over time, the demands on children's bedroom furniture also change
As the needs of the child change, so do the demands on the nursery furniture. If a cot, changing unit and wardrobe are still sufficient for a baby, this changes rapidly as the child grows older. When the child starts school, it is time for a desk and a desk chair at the latest. In addition, older children also need more storage space for clothes and toys, so additional chests and cupboards are also needed.
From solid wood children's rooms to designer children's rooms - this is what manufacturers of children's room furniture have to offer
Furniture for children's rooms, like that for other rooms, is available in a wide variety of styles. Manufacturers of children's room furniture entice you with attractive creations and the range extends from the classic solid wood room to the Princess Lillifee or Star Wars dream to the noble designer room. Basically, you should consider the following points when choosing furniture:
Your child is still growing and therefore his or her needs will also change. Furniture that perfectly meets his current requirements and does not grow with him will probably have to be replaced soon. This is especially important to consider with expensive designer pieces.
Even if your child is the biggest fan of a certain cartoon today, he or she may not be tomorrow. This means that the complete decoration of his room on a certain theme may soon be out again and your child may soon want something new. Sometimes children can no longer stand what they love today.
We therefore recommend that you go for high-quality but simple furniture that grows with your child. Solid wood furniture that is adjustable in size and meets all safety recommendations has always proven to be an excellent choice. These are timeless, very resilient and convince with high quality. At Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel e.V. you will find information and manufacturers on children's room furniture.
Safety first - the most important safety features of children's room furniture.
Furniture in children's rooms must be one thing above all: safe. Therefore, when buying children's room furniture, you should pay particular attention to the following features:
- All pieces of furniture must stand stably and securely so that they cannot topple over or be knocked over.
- This is especially true for the changing unit, which should also have the highest possible side protection edges.
- The bars of the cot must be far enough apart so that your child cannot get trapped.
- There must be no gaps between the bed frame and the mattress.
- All furniture must have rounded corners. If necessary, you must put protective caps on the corners of the furniture.
- Furniture doors and drawers must have safety catches.
- Drawers must have a pull-out safety device.
- It is best to secure the furniture to the wall to prevent it from tipping over.
- All furniture should have surfaces that are as smooth and easy to clean as possible.
- When buying furniture, look for test seals and make sure that it has been tested for harmful substances.
You can find more information on the topic of childproof furniture on the website of the Federal Working Group for Child Safety (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Mehr Sicherheit für Kinder e.V.) at www.kindersicherheit.de.
The right furnishings for children
Living with children requires some special features when it comes to furnishing: Children need space to run around and love colours. They try out everything, so special attention must be paid to safety and freedom from injury:
Health and well-being:
- Keep in mind that your child needs plenty of room to move. Consider changing rooms, as the child's room is often the smallest room in the house (even though the child spends most of its time in its room).
- Although children love colours, you should not overdo it when decorating. Too much of a mix of colours and patterns overstimulates and makes the room look cramped. Leave the ceiling white and paint the walls a light, friendly colour - furniture, blinds, curtains and toys add enough colour to the room.
- Since children play on the floor most of the time, you should avoid a cold, hard covering such as tiles or stone. A wooden or cork floor sealed with water-based varnish, a low-pile carpet or carpet tiles that are not glued down are recommended. These can be easily replaced if they become soiled. Since the number of allergy-suffering children is increasing, floor coverings that can be easily cleaned are advantageous. Also make sure that the floor is not harmful to health. The "GuT" label (Association for Environmentally Friendly Carpeting) is a good guide. For laminate flooring, look for the RAL quality mark! When buying cork flooring, make sure that the cork is completely sealed with water-based varnish.
- If you choose softwoods for children's furniture, make sure that your child is not allergic to them. Softwoods contain terpenes, which not all people can tolerate.
- Children's furniture must comply with the strictest legal regulations of all types of furniture. If you choose furniture with the RAL quality mark (the "Golden" M), you can be sure that all safety, health and quality measures have been reliably implemented and tested.
Tips for highchairs:
- Try out the seat with your child as it is the height that counts and not the age!
- The backrest should be shaped to support the back.
- Make sure your child has a footrest!
- Check regularly that your child can still sit well, as a chair that is too small can be constricting and easier to tip over.
- Safety belts can prevent your child from climbing out of the seat and falling. However, do not let it out of your sight! A high chair is not a storage place for children.
Tips on changing facilities:
- Changing facilities for children should be between 85 and 92 cm high (depending on the height of the parents), the work surface 65 cm deep and 75 cm wide and the changing surface 75 cm deep and 55 cm wide.
- A safety device against rolling over or a barrier on the left and right and on the back ensures safety.
- There must be no easily detachable parts in the area of the wrapping surface, no open tube ends and no catching points for fingers, limbs and head.
- All corners and edges must be rounded and there should be no objects on which the child can pinch or crush itself. This also applies to the space up to approx. 55 cm above the changing table!
- In the case of foldable changing facilities, a locking device that is out of the child's reach must ensure that the changing mat cannot suddenly fold up. Also make sure that the folding process itself can be carried out without risk of injury. Folding mechanisms for changing tables with baby baths must not be easy to operate, i.e. they must be childproof.
- For baby changing tables that comply with DIN EN 12221, there must be instructions for use in the national language.
Tips on cots / children's beds:
- The bed should have a GS mark and a quality mark.
- The bed must not have any protruding parts or cracks where ribbons or cords can get caught.
- Accessories such as nests, canopies and bedding must not obstruct the baby's breathing under any circumstances.
- All corners or edges must be rounded.
- A mobile bed may have either two castors or, if there are four castors, two of them must be lockable.
- To prevent the child from getting trapped or slipping through, the bars should be at least 4.5 cm and at most 6.5 cm apart. They should be removable on one side so that the child - when it is big enough to do so - can leave the bed on its own. The passage must then be at least 20 cm wide.
- To ensure that the mattress is sufficiently ventilated, the mattress topper should not simply consist of a continuous panel. Instead, use a height-adjustable slatted frame with three to four adjustment options. In the uppermost position, there must be at least 30 cm distance to the upper edge of the bars so that the child cannot fall out.
- Cots that can be easily converted when your child gets older are practical.
What you should look out for when buying a mattress for the little ones:
- The mattress should adapt to the spine. Those that are medium soft in the surface area are recommended.
- Removable and machine-washable mattress covers are particularly hygienic (especially if your child suffers from house dust allergies). Mattress pads are also useful as long as they are not so soft that the baby's nose sinks too deeply into them.
- Especially for centrally heated rooms, make sure that the baby does not suffer from heat accumulation.
Tips on bunk beds:
- Bunk beds are highly recommended because they save two square metres of space. The children can use this space for playing.
- According to German law, bunk beds must comply with DIN EN 747. The upper and lower beds must be firmly connected to each other. In the upper bed, a safety device (railing) must protect your child from falling and the ladder should be firmly connected to the bed.
- Children under six years of age should not sleep in the upper bed
- Target dimensions of bunk beds for children:
- Distance from the top of the mattress to the top edge of the fall protection at least 16 cm.
- Interruption of one long side for climbing between 30 and 40 cm
- Clear distance between two safety elements (e.g. two boards of the fall protection) between 6 and 7.5 cm
- Clear distance between bed bottoms at least 75 cm
- Distance between the tops of successive steps between 20 and 30 cm
- Tread width of steps at least 30 cm
- Usable step depth at least 9 cm
- Accuracy of the distance between the treads +/- 2 mm
- Spaces between the bed bottom and side and end sections 2.5 cm
These dimensions are important so that your child cannot get trapped, fall down or otherwise injure itself!
Desk and chair - the workplace for children:
Basically, the same requirements apply to children as to adults. In addition, however, a few more points should be taken into account:
- Chair and desk should be adjusted to the size of your child every now and then. For an optimal sitting position, the thighs should form a horizontal line and the lower legs a vertical line while the soles of the feet are flat on the floor. With an upright posture, the forearms rest horizontally on the tabletop.
- Stepless height adjustment is recommended so that the furniture can grow with the child without any problems.
- Desk chairs must be stable and tilt-resistant even at the highest seat position.
- The backrest should support the pelvis without restricting the child's freedom of movement, even when the child is sitting in a forward-leaning position.
What you should look for in wardrobe furniture for children:
- Cupboards, chests of drawers etc. should be convertible to meet the different needs of children. Systems made of individual elements are particularly suitable.
- Round or soft furniture handles, rounded corners and edges protect against injuries.
- Stability must be ensured even when drawers are full and pulled out: Is there an anti-tip device?
- Expect your child to climb onto the cupboard once in a while. It should also be able to withstand this load.
- Is the cupboard furniture move-friendly, i.e. stable, easy to dismantle and reassemble?
- The work surface should be large enough to hold books and exercise books, but also a computer screen, speakers and a mouse. A pull-out keyboard shelf and a tiltable monitor panel make writing on the PC easier. Integrated cable ducts prevent cable chaos and avoid tripping hazards in the footwell.
- If the desk and work chair bear the GS mark, you can assume that all necessary criteria such as safety, stability, durability, etc. have been tested.
This safety check-up gives you the assurance that your nursery is safe.
With the help of our safety check-up, you can check the safety of your children's room. It is best to do this at regular intervals.
- Check all furniture for detachable small parts that your child could swallow.
- Also look for sharp, protruding objects on the furniture.
- Test the stability of the furniture and check if it tips over easily.
- Also check all screws on the furniture and tighten them if necessary.
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