Bed rails are often used as a safety precaution to prevent individuals from falling out of bed. They can also provide support for those with limited mobility.
A bed rail that is too long can create a hazardous situation by preventing an individual from getting out of bed or becoming trapped between the rail and the bed.
There are a few things to consider when determining if a bed rail is too long.
First, check the height of the rail. It should be set so that there are no more than 4 inches between the mattress’s top and the rail’s bottom.
Also, check to see enough space for an individual to get in and out of bed easily. If there is not enough space, the rail is likely too long.
Shortening bed rails on a home bed
You might want to shorten the bed rails on a home bed for many reasons.
Maybe you have a small child who has outgrown their crib and needs to start sleeping in a bed, but the bed rails are too high for them to climb over.
Or maybe you have an elderly parent or grandparent starting to struggle with getting in and out of bed, and you want to make it easier for them.
Whatever the reason, shortening the bed rails is a relatively simple process that can be done in just a few steps.
Here are simple steps on how to shorten bed rails on a home bed:
- Remove the screws from the bed rail brackets. There should be two or four screws on each bracket.
- Cut the bed rail down to the desired length with a hacksaw or Sawzall. Be sure to measure twice and cut once, as it is difficult to make cuts shorter than intended.
- Reattach the brackets to the bed rail with the screws, and you’re done!
Shortening bed rails on a hospital bed
Hospital beds have bed rails that help keep the patient in the bed.
If a patient needs to be transported to another hospital area, the bed rails may need to be shortened so the patient may get out of bed.
Here is how to shorten bed rails on the hospital bed.
- Loosen the screws on the rail brackets at each end of the bed with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
- Move the rail brackets in or out as needed and tighten the screws once they are in place.
- Make sure there is no gap between the end of the mattress and the rail bracket before tightening the screws.
- Repeat these steps at each end of the bed rail.
Shortening the bed rails can make it easier for caregivers to perform tasks such as turning patients or cleaning the bed. Also, shortening the bed rails can make the bed more comfortable for patients to sleep in.
How to shorten bed rails using a saw or a cutting blade
Bed rails are often too long for a child’s bed. Depending on the material from which they are made, they can be shortened using a saw or a cutting blade.
If the rails are made of metal, they can be shortened with a saw.
If they are made of wood, they can be shortened with a blade designed for cutting wood.
In either case, care must be taken to avoid injury.
The first step is to measure the length that must be cut from the bed rail.
Then, mark the spot where the cut will be made. Be sure to use a marker that will not wash off when it gets wet.
Next, use the saw or blade to make the cut.
If using a saw, keep it perpendicular to the rail and use steady pressure while cutting.
If you are using a cutting blade, hold the blade perpendicular to the bed rail and make sure to keep your fingers away from the blade.
Once you have shortened the bed rails, test them out by getting in and out of bed.
Safety concerns when shortening bed rails
Shortening bed rails can be a convenient way to make your bed more accessible, but it’s important to take safety precautions.
First, ensure that the rails you are considering shortening are indeed adjustable.
Many bed rails are not, and attempting to shorten them could result in serious injury.
If the rails are adjustable, use caution when cutting them, making sure not to cut off any bolts or other pieces that may be needed to keep the rail in place.
Once the rail is shortened, be sure to test it for stability.
It should not wobble or move more than an inch in any direction. If it does, re-adjust it until it is stable.
Yet, always use the rail according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Do not attempt to use a shortened rail as a restraint system – this could be very dangerous.
When to not shorten bed rails
When bed rails are shortened, they may not provide the support to keep a person from falling out of bed.
Bed rails should only be shortened if they are too long for the bed and if the person can safely get in and out of bed without them.
If a person has difficulty getting in and out of bed or feels unsafe without the bed rails, the rails should not be shortened.
Shortening bed rails are not always necessary, but it can be helpful in certain situations.
For example, if you are caring for a patient at risk of falling out of bed, shortening the bed rails can help keep them safe.
Also, if the patient has limited mobility, shortening the bed rails can make it easier for them to get in and out of bed.
However, if you are unsure whether shortening the bed rails is the right decision for your patient, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional.