In January 2015, a young man staying in a fraternity house at Georgia Tech fell from his loft bed. A seven-foot drop left him with a fractured skull and the need for immediate brain surgery. It took the man months to heal from his injuries and to relearn the basic skills necessary to live. And one group thinks that a simple solution would have prevented this tragedy – bed rails.
The average consumer bunk beds and loft beds sold for home use come with guard rails to prevent sleepers from rolling off during the night. However, college campuses do not have such a requirement, meaning that college students and their guests are at risk of injuries such as traumatic brain injury, broken bones and in extreme cases, even death.
The group Rail Against the Danger, or RAD, formed by the injured man’s mother, has dedicated itself to raising awareness of the issue following her son’s injury. Implementing rails would be a cheap, simple fix that could spare students and their families the pain and suffering that this family went through.
Two teams of engineering students from the university took on the challenge of designing a bed rail specifically for college students. And their solutions provide much-needed utility for students living in these often-cramped rooms. By adding storage space into the bed rails along with modular designs allowing customization, not only do the rails help prevent injury, they also serve a necessary purpose for students. Hooks, whiteboards and even electrical outlets have been added to these experimental guardrails, which the students hope will be picked up by furniture manufacturers.