Danger Zones in the Bed

February 15, 2019
Bed Safety infographic

Download a printable poster here.

According to the FDA, from 1985 to 2013 there were just over 900 reported incidents of patient entrapment in a hospital bed. Of those reported incidents, 531—or nearly 60%—resulted in death, most of whom were “frail, elderly, or confused” patients who were unable to dislodge themselves, with the majority of patients residing at long-term care facilities.1

Bed entrapment is defined by the FDA as a patient being “caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled”2 in openings under, within, or between bed rails or in gaps between the mattress and side rails or head/footboards—areas more commonly referred to as danger zones. Additionally, fragile or vulnerable populations are at an increased risk of sustaining other serious bed-related traumas such as skin tears, cuts, scrapes, bruises, or even pressure injuries as a result of contact with hard edges of side rails or bed frames. Some may even develop feelings of isolation or become agitated if bed rails appear restrictive or confining, causing unanticipated movement or thrashing. Without proper modifications in place, patients are at a continued risk of incurring serious, if not fatal, injuries.

Five Simple Steps to Improved Bed Safety

A few simple measures can be taken to provide a safer bed environment for patients and help reduce severe or even fatal danger zone and other bed-related injuries:

  1. Use a properly sized mattress to reduce gaps between the bed and head/footboards.
  2. Add bed bolsters or gap stuffers to fill dangerous openings between the mattress and side rails or head/footboards while helping to protect fragile or sensitive skin from harmful bruising and tears due to hard surfaces.
  3. Insert body positioning wedges to promote proper bed positioning, help prevent rolling or turning, and protect skin.
  4. Install properly sized safety rails to aid in turning and repositioning, help patients get into and out of bed easier, provide a feeling of comfort and security, and reduce the risk of falls.
  5. And finally, monitor patients frequently—especially those at high risk—to understand why they leave their bed (hunger, thirst, using the bathroom, restlessness) so you can proactively address their needs and minimize potential injuries.2

Useful Solutions from AliMed

  • Bed Bolsters and Gap Stuffers reduce the risk of danger zone injuries and help protect against hard surfaces. Clear models with see-through design limit agitation and feelings of isolation in restless or confused patients while Antimicrobial options offer greater infection control. Available in short or long styles to accommodate any gap length.
  • Body Positioning Wedges help maintain turning schedules to reduce the risk of pressure injuries. Available in three models: Uncovered is economical and disposable for single-patient use; Upholstered is water-resistant, bacteriostatic, and wipeable for multi-patient use; and Tuff-Coat™ is waterproof and antimicrobial-treated for total disinfection.
  • Safety Rails promote easier, safer bed mobility and greater independence. AliRail™ Bed Rail features a wide base for greater stability and unique M-shaped design with a nonslip grip, providing bed rail level protection without feelings of restraint. Transfer Handle® Hospital Model has a narrow 4" gap that meets federal guidelines for entrapment.3

Find more AliMed products for bed positioning and safety.




AliMed, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of medical supply products, and is not a medical authority. The contents contained in this article, including text, graphics, imagery, and other materials, are for informational and educational purposes only. AliMed does not provide or intend to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and the information contained here should not be treated as such. If you have questions about a specific medical condition or specific personal use of a medical device, always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

This blog was created with the assistance of artificial intelligence. Although every effort has been made to present information that is accurate and true to the best of our knowledge, this content may contain omissions or errors. AliMed does not regularly update information or resources for this content and does not guarantee, make any warranties, and accepts no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information presented.