Buyers Guide – Cotside Bumpers & Bed Rail Protection Products

The objective of this Buyers Guide is to highlight some the key factors to consider when purchasing Cotside Bumpers and Bed Rail Protection products.
We have attempted to answer all the Frequently Asked Questions in a clear and concise style exploring design features, commonly used materials and key points to bear in mind when specifying purchases.

It must be noted that this is a complex subject featuring a wide range of products and catering for individuals with specific medical and handling conditions. It is therefore important to consult specialists in this field such as Occupational Therapists and Moving and Handling experts for guidance before making a purchase. This guide is not intended to replace this specialist help.

Why Use Cotside Bumpers and Bed Rail Protection Products?

Cotside bumpers are designed to provide padding to the side rails of beds with rails and extra protection to the headboards or footboard of a bed.

The aim of these protects is to soften the impact from any sudden movements by the user and to prevent knocks or other injuries whilst in bed.

Many cotside bumpers have a dual function in that they effectively enclose the rails and the gaps at the side of the bed, thus helping to reduce the risk of user entrapment.

What are the main product design features?

1) Rail padding and entrapment minimisation

Cotside bumpers and rail protection products are designed to enclose a wide range of bed rail styles, heights and lengths. The types of rails they cater for typically include;

  • Trombone style metal rails – 3 and 4 rail.
  • Wooden rails – 2 and 3 rail (including designs with a 3 rail extension)
  • Flat top metal rails – including rail systems with scissor action closing feature.

Cotside bumpers are also available for extended height rails.

2) Connected bumpers

Entrapment can be a common problem in beds with side rails. One method of minimising this problem is to use a connected cotside bumper. These products feature a highly permeable base sheet which connects the two bumpers to form a safety net to prevent the occupant’s limbs pushing between the cot sides and the mattress. The bed mattress then sits over the connecting base sheet.

3) Connected bumpers for profiling beds

Producing cotside bumpers for variable posture beds that are adjusted to change the shape or profile of the bed, offers particular challenges.

In order to cater for the mechanical movements of the bed the connected polyester base sheet is designed with lateral slits which allow the base sheet to run below the bed and away from any moving parts. Connected bumpers help minimise the risk of user entrapment.

4) Head and foot bumpers

Typically sold as singles these padded bumpers simply wrap around the head/foot boards of the bed and are secured with straps and hook and loop fastenings.

For non-standard head or foot boards products can often be custom made to a specific specification.

5) Patient Visibility

There are a number of cotside protection products available that offer a “see-through” window to allow both the bed occupant to see out and medical staff to monitor a patient’s condition through the bumper.

Either a net based material or perforated clear PV C is often used to create the clear window in the bumper. These clear windows can help minimise the feeling of patient claustrophobia.

On profiling beds that feature full length wooden rails a net window is positioned between the top and bottom rail which are themselves individually padded. This design allows the net to concertina to save space when the side rails are lowered and as these bumpers are fitted to the rails, when lowered the padding does not touch the floor.

What materials are used to produce bed side protection products?

There are a number of different materials and constructions that are used to produce cotside bumpers. The main ones are highlighted below:

Wipe Clean PVC – Durable PVC outer typically encasing 20mm CMP foam (Combustion Modified Polyether). Wipe clean mild detergent.

PU Fabric – facilitates vapour transmission –wipe clean with mild detergent

Outer Polyester fabric Inner Fibre Filled Polyester – Air permeable machine washable up to 74 degrees C and therefore ideal for infection control.

Deep Pile Polyester – This air permeable machine washable material is provide deep comfort and is ideal for pressure care and injury prevention.

Typically most bed protection products are secured by hook and loop fastenings (although there may be instances where zip fastening can be offered).

Key measurements to consider when specifying cotside bumpers

The illustrations below can as a guide to purchasing the right size bumpers for your bed side rails.

Trombone Style rails where bumper is required between humps

Trombone Style rails where bumper is fitted between humps in extended mode

Trombone Style Rails where bumper is required to enclose humps to avoid potential patient entrapment issues. Bumper ends are typically enclosed on this style

Trombone Style Rails where bumper is required to enclose humps in extended mode to avoid potential patient entrapment – ends are typically enclosed on this style

Bumpers designed to fit wooden side rail designs. The overall width and depth from the top of the top rail to the bottom of the bottom rail are critical dimensions.

Extra high bumpers are designed to fit wooden side rail designs with 3rd rail extension that increases overall rail height

Please note that the above images represent a small selection of the popular bumper styles. Other bumper styles are available to suit other rail and bed designs.

If requirements are non-standard designs it is beneficial to send photos of the bed style plus details of the make/model of bed to the supplier.

What are Fall Protection Products?

Fall protection products are typically used to alleviate patient falls from beds.

There two popular products in the category;

Side Wedges – Side wedges are used to prevent patients from rolling out of bed and help reduce entrapment problems between bed rails and mattress.

Fall-out mats – These foam filled mats are design to cushion any falls. They can be strategically placed alongside the bed and are useful if no side rails are fitted.

We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions are feedback on this Buyers Guide please contact Home and Medical on 0800 035 3588

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