For most projects we use baltic birch plywood, a very strong material that is certified by both the FSC (Forest Steward Council) and CARB (California Air Resources Board). This assures that the trees were legally harvested and that the bonding glue has no formaldehyde in it. We never use particle board, which is a much lower grade material that disintegrates over time. Our finishes are water-based, non-toxic, and safe for toys. The surfaces of our plywood are rolled with an acrylic based coating, it is UV cured and have no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). The edges are hand brushed with a natural wax oil that provides a smooth finish.
Why plywood instead of solid wood?
Solid wood has many limitations. Lumber boards rarely exceed 8" or 10" in width and they expand and contract with seasonal moisture changes. This phenomenon creates warpage, cracks and checks on the wood that are irreversible and hard to predict. In the "old days", older and larger trees were available and inexpensive. Plus there was more time to let the lumber dry. Today, trees are cut at a much younger age plus we have become aware of how damaging it is for the environment to destroy our natural forests. The FSC certification assure that the wood that we use comes from trees that are from managed plantations and renewable sources. Plywood instead is a very efficient way of using the tree. A plywood panel is a "sandwich" of many layers of thin wood, also called veneers. The tree logs are sliced into thin sheets very much like you sharpen a pencil in a rotary motion. All these layers of thin birch wood are glued under pressure creating a plywood sheet, typically 48" by 96". This is a very efficient way of using wood since little is wasted in the peeling of the timber. It also allows us to create pieces that are much wider than any single piece of lumber and since the layers are glued to each other alternating the grain direction, warpage and movement due to moisture changes do not happen.
The birch plywood we use is typically ¾” thick and is composed of 13 layers of the same material. We leave the edges exposed since birch is a very strong wood and the lines that show in the edges have a natural appeal.
Watch a video on how plywood is made:
Safety is a top priority at Casa Kids. Our furniture is manufactured entirely in our woodshop in Brooklyn, allowing us to control the process from start to finish. This guarantees that we oversee the materials that go into our projects, the safety and well-being of our workers and the quality of the furniture we produce. All of our products meet or exceed the U.S. mandatory and voluntary safety standards developed by the ASTM. Our philosophy regarding safety goes far beyond compliance with standards. Many of the safety-conscious design modifications we make come from the fact that we have been observing and receiving feedback from families for years. We know that kids climb in areas that aren’t always stairs, we know they like to yank on bookshelves - and we have shaped our designs to accommodate those wandering imaginations. We also round every edge and install rails that are higher than what regulation demands.
Bunk and Loft Beds
A bed is defined as a bunk or loft bed when its mattress foundation sits 30” or higher above the ground. Accidents and injuries associated with bunk beds are typically more severe than those associated with conventional beds for the simple reason that behavior that might be risky close to the ground is riskier on an elevated platform of any kind. Bunk bed injuries most commonly result from falls. To mitigate these risks, we encourage parents to be mindful of the dangers and to prevent their children from playing or wrestling on or jumping off the beds. Children younger than six should not be allowed on bunk beds and night lights are recommended to help children see ladders or stairs at night. Our beds are strong and safe, and exceed safety standards set by the ASTM, but parents should be vigilant in monitoring their children’s interaction with the furniture, particularly if younger siblings are sharing a room with an older child.
If you are considering a loft or bunk bed for your child, there are many standards that the bed you choose should meet. An elevated bed should always have rails on all four sides; the width of the upper entrance to the bed should never be more than 15”; there should be at least 5” of railing above the top of a mattress; and rail openings should be no more than 3 ¼” wide. All of our beds meet these standards.
We also take extra measures to ensure that our beds are as safe as they can be: we often install carpet on stairs to give kids more traction as they go up and down; we design stairs that are the appropriate height for kids’ shorter legs; our rails are significantly higher than required to mitigate the risk of falls; and we round the edges on all of our beds and components. The nautically-themed holes we incorporate into many of our beds are not simply a design element, they also provide extra handles for children to grip. When we install beds or design custom rooms, we always recommend that stairs be positioned in the corner of a room so that they are sandwiched between the head or footboard and wall for added safety. When this isn’t possible, we build guardrails. We know parents like to cuddle in bunks and lofts, too, so we build extremely strong mattress supports that can accommodate the weight of both parent and child.
We like to remind our customers that the screws on our bunk and loft beds may require tightening from time to time. We recommend that once a year (back to school time is an easy time to remember), parents check the screws at the headboard and footboard to make sure they are snug. If any tightening is required, it’s easy to do and we provide an allen key for this purpose. All of our screw hardware is metal into metal, rather than metal into wood, so that there is never any stripping over time.
If you have purchased one of our beds secondhand and the assembly instructions or any hardware is missing, please contact us so that we can assist you in making your new bed as safe as possible for your child.
For more information on bunk bed safety:
Tuck Folding Beds
The upper bed is for children 12 years of age and up.
VERY IMPORTANT: A child may become lodged within either the Tuck or Double Tuck designs if he or she is purposely enclosed within the bed. Tuck Beds should always be operated under adult supervision and never closed with a person or a pet in the bed.
In the instance that a child does become enclosed within the bed, the bed will not close entirely. When the bed is re-opened with a child inside, limbs may become lodged within moving parts. To prevent injury, the bed should only be opened partially (no more than a 45 degree angle), allowing the child to climb or be lifted out. The same could happen with a dog or a cat.
Choosing a crib for your baby can be one of the most fun aspects of expecting. It can also, however, be one of the most stressful, especially if you’re a first-time parent. You want to know that your baby is comfortable. You want to know that he or she is safe. A child will spend more time in his or her crib in the first few years of life than possibly anywhere else so it goes without saying that it’s an important decision.
In terms of safety, the most important elements to keep in mind when researching cribs are rail spacing, rail height and mattress size. The space between rails should never be more than 2 ⅜”, rails should extend to at least 27” above the top of the mattress and the mattress should fit snuggly against the crib’s edge. Rails should also always be fixed, never drop-side (it is no longer legal to manufacture drop-side cribs as there is a risk of detachment).
Our cribs meet or exceed all federal safety standards, but we also design our cribs with maximum functionality in mind. They sit as low to the ground as possible so that it’s easy for a parent to access their child. We don’t use corner posts so as to eliminate the possibility that a child’s clothing could become stuck on one. Our cribs are adjustable so that as a child grows and begins standing, the mattress can be dropped to a lower position to increase the lifespan of the crib. Some of our cribs can also be converted into toddler beds so that they stay with the families we service even longer.
We also like to remind our parents of actions they can take to keep their babies safe in their cribs. Most importantly, a baby should always be placed to sleep on his or her back. Since the practice of placing an infant on his or her stomach was linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in the mid 90s, SIDS rates have dropped by more than 50 percent. Parents should also avoid placing a crib next to a window, as drapes, curtains and blind cords pose risks.
All of the dressers we build are designed to be anchored to a wall to ensure that there is never any danger of tipping. Sometimes kids open drawers and use them as stairs to climb a dresser and, though we encourage parents to monitor their children and to discourage this behavior, anchoring ensures that even if it does happen, the dresser won’t tip over onto the child.