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UNC Chapel Hill Buying Bed Rails For Bunks After Fatal Head Injury

Posted on Sep 28, 2010
The demand for bunk bed rails at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill has skyrocketed after a student’s mother fell from the top bunk of a dorm room bed and died of a traumatic brain injury.

According to the Associated Press, 49-year-old Donna Sykes was visiting her daughter Jesse at college and sleeping on the girl’s top bunk bed when she fell to the floor below and suffered a head injury. The first-year college student had recently transferred from a community college and who suffers from cerebral palsy. Her mother was staying in her daughter’s room to help her adjust to college life.

Since the fatal head injury accident, UNC is struggling with a new demand from students for safety rails for their bunk beds. About 1,100 students have requested bed rails for their bunks – but only some have received them. The 100 rails ordered for the new semester are already gone and Chapel Hill has already borrowed more from neighboring school North Carolina State University. The school says that buying rails for the 8,500 beds throughout campus would cost a quarter million dollars.

While it is still unclear why Sykes’ fall was fatal or how exactly the injury occurred, school officials are in agreement that bed rails should be provided for all students who want one and that the solution should come about as quickly as possible. While the school normally receive about 30 requests for bed rails each semester, the head injury accidents has put the safety feature in the spotlight.