Monday, May 18, 2020

How to ensure you keep on the right side of bed regulations

The Medical Bed Standard 60601-2-52 is in place for the protection of users, as a design framework for manufacturers and increasingly as a guide to external bodies such as the Care Quality Commission.


The challenge for care homes owners is making sure the combination of electric profiling bed, foam or dynamic mattress and side rails is correct against the standard. Which can be a challenge, as beds and side rails are often purchased separately to mattresses.

Renray Healthcare manufacture beds, mattresses and side rails, and our knowledge of side rail heights, entrapment issues, mattress / bed combinations, and the need for extra height side rails and their compliance is second to none.


Choose a bed that is independently tested to IEC 60601-2-52, this ensures the bed complies with the standard.

Giving you peace of mind at the start.

Bed manufacturers are allowed to self-certify their adherence to this standard and have been known to interpret this extensive document differently from one another, so independent testing verifies the bed has been validated to the standard. BE AWARE CE marking does not mean that the bed has gone through an independent test house. 

Bed and mattress combinations. 22cm is important to prevent users from rolling over the top of the side rail.
The bed and mattress should provide 22cm clearance between the top surface of an uncompressed mattress and the top of the side rail. When choosing a bed and mattress make sure the combination complies to gaps and clearances, by using a guide such as the one below or a measuring device.

Bed rail rulers are available to order click here to request yours 

Beds with a dynamic or air mattress combination. Do you need extra height sides? Check the depth of the mattress and measure the clearance above the mattress to the top of the side rails is over 22cm. If it is not you could use Renray's pioneering approach towards dynamic mattresses, low profile cell depth delivering outstanding clinical results, whilst ensuring it complies with the standard height side rails - negating the expense of side rail height extensions.

If you have an old style deep cell mattress, you will likely need to use extra height side rail extensions to ensure 22cm clearance, when using these please consider the increased entrapment, egress and falls risks.

Not too small, not too soft.....but just right. A mattress that is too small or too soft can present entrapment issues for the user, because the correct gaps are not being met. Every bed has a user manual supplied from the manufacturer which specifies the size of mattress suitable for the bed. The prescribed mattress size has been tested to ensure a combination fit to comply to the bed standards - so using the mattress dimensions is critical to comply. If the edge of a mattress is too soft it can fail on a bed that is compliant and means that the user is at risk, having a firm enough mattress or a supportive edge can also be important.

Mind your fingers! Side rails move and can often have finger traps between the rails or at the ends where they pivot when raised or lowered. To fully comply with the standard there should be a 2.5cm gap between each rail when the sides are lowered, some manufacturers put a warning label next to any entrapment risk to identify it to users. Usually this label is noticed after someone has trapped a finger, so check before you buy and save painful injuries for your staff and residents.

And mind your toes! Foot and toe traps used to be a common problem, so the latest standard has addressed these issues and specify clearances between the bed and the ground when moving, this includes the side rails in their lowest position.

Did you read the label? While warning labels are legitimate and useful, too many labels can be confusing and are often used to compensate for design flaws. Labels are often difficult to read or simply ignored which increases the risk of injury. Ideally a bed should be simple and intuitive to use, so look for beds with as few warning labels as possible.


If you have an issue around compliance with beds, mattresses, side rails, side rail pads or any other questions then contact our compliance experts for more information.

We can usually advise on any compliance issue.

More tips and advice on beds, mattresses, furniture and furnishings from our experts coming soon.


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