What is a Safety Bed?

Hospital Beds, Institutional Beds, Safety beds or Adaptive Beds all share a common goal of keeping the user safe from falling out or injuring themselves as a result of being in bed. The term "safety bed" is overused and a firm definition is hard to to find. We feel for a bed to be considered a safety bed it must address a few very specific issues.


Fall Protection
Built into the structure of the bed should be some physical barrier to minimize the likelihood that the patient can fall out of bed.  In many patients this protection has to apply while the patient is awake and moving around, not just while sleeping.

Protection from Entanglement / Entrapment:
Built into the design of the bed is a reduction of gaps and openings to minimize the likelihood of the patient becoming stuck in the frame or between mattress and frame. 

Built into the design and structure of the bed are elements to assist in keeping the patient inside the bed while awake.  While somewhat controversial, many patients are unable to safely exit a bed and/or are not safe to be allowed unsupervised mobility as they are a danger to themselves or others.


Little Known Facts:

  • While fall protection is important in a safety bed, Entrapment is the greatest danger to the medically feeble and disabled.

  • Based on studies done by the FDA if a patient is trapped or entangled in one or more of the 7 Zones as outlined in their treatise, 77% of the time the person will be injured and 59% of the time the patient will die.

  • Many traditional hospital beds are totally unsafe for pediatric, adolescent and disabled youth because these patients' smaller size and other medical conditions require specialized protection.

  • Physical protection should only be part of the consideration when selecting safety products.  Psychological and developmental impacts carry serious long term implications and should be part of the bed selection.  Finally, do not overlook the well being of the care givers who need to work in and around these products.  

  • Safety Beds CAN be attractive!

Beds By George Safety Beds satisfy the FDA standards for anti-entrapment.

The FDA's Seven Potential Zones of Entrapment: 

This guidance describes seven zones in the hospital bed system where there is a potential for patient entrapment. Entrapment may occur in flat or articulated bed positions, with the rails fully raised or in intermediate positions. Descriptions of the seven entrapment zones appear below. 

Zone Description

1. Within the Rail

2. Under the Rail, Between the Rail Supports or Next to a Single Rail Support

3. Between the Rail and the Mattress

4. Under the Rail, at the Ends of the Rail

5. Between Split Bed Rails

6. Between the End of the Rail and the Side Edge of the Head or Foot Board

 7. Between the Head or Foot Board and the Mattress End


“Hospital Bed System Dimensional & Assessment Guidance to Reduce Entrapment - Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff” (published March 2006) illustrations courtesy of the FDA

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