The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Beyond bed rails: Students need information, not standard bed rails

Housing waited too long to tell students about a parent who died when falling out of a lofted bed. But we appreciate the attention UNC housing has paid to lofted bed safety since.
Still, outfitting every bed with bed rails is not a reasonable solution — it’s an over correction for previous silence on the issue.

UNC housing administrators have made strides in keeping students safe by publicizing the availability of bed rails and taking steps to meet the increased demand, and this communication should continue.

Director of Housing Larry Hicks said that demand actually increased before news of the death was made public. The increase, according to Hicks, was also probably due to the fact that a bed rail was present on a lofted bed in a model dorm room.

Prior to this year, the housing department only got 30-40 requests per year, and usually had at least twice as many bed rails as it needed.

The department has made a solid effort to make sure students get their requested bed rails. The department did run out of rails briefly, but borrowed some from NC State to fill the demand. Rails are now available by request.

A shipment of 200 new rails has already arrived and 800 more will be ordered. So housing has been keeping us informed about and ensuring the availability of bed rails.

But providing a bed rail with every bed seems a little bit overkill. Hicks said himself that only about half the beds are lofted, and even students with lofted beds might not want bed rails.

It doesn’t make sense to provide rails when most of them will go unused and just take up space in cramped dorm rooms.

It is a waste of money to have twice as many bed rails as will ever be wanted.

UNC housing should make sure students know their options, but rails with every bed could be an unnecessary expense.

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