I'll probably be making a lot of posts about this until we have a definite design and then of course the finished product eventually! But until then, here's the next thought that was brought to me... BUNK beds! Thanks Leah!
A regular, inexpensive ($255 at Wal-Mart online with free site-to-store shipping) bunk bed with a few adaptations could make a great special needs bed! Here's the stock photo from the website:
Now... here's my thought for it...
This is what I'm thinking at the moment... To the headboard and footboard, attach two horizontal rails to fill the 'escape gap'. Regular 2x4s stained to match (or close) should work. Then I really like the idea of drawers underneath, especially since my girls share a room! The 'top casing' of the drawers would also be the 'support' that the two drop-rails would sit on when locked in.
The rails, that part is harder to explain. I added a board with a LOT of supports attaching it to the foot of the bed and another at the head of the bed. A 2x6 is what I'm thinking there. A combination of corner and straight supports to connect it on both sides securely to the bed. Then the two 'hooks' that I drew in are the 'track' which isn't actually visible at the foot of the bed but I drew it there so it was visible. It wouldn't be cut out all the way through. The two grey 'drawers' across the front would be the entire length of the bed each. One on top of the other. They would be 'framed' and have a few bars and then have a fill of either plexiglass or mesh. That just depends on how easy it is to find a mesh and how easy it is to attach it securely.
Let me explain the rails a little more. Each of those two drop sides will be on a 'track'. The track will allow them to go all the way to the floor (in front of the drawers) so that when they are lowered the bed is easily accessible and changing the sheets, etc. is simple. The bottom 'rail' will lift then go into a groove where it would have to be lifted and pulled toward you to get it back out (not sure if there's a groove at the top and bottom or just top? I drew it with two tho). Then the top one would go up and push in along its track and 'drop in' to sit right on top of the bottom one. Each would then have 'latches' to secure them to the side so it can't be accidentally released from inside the crib.
Not sure if that makes sense or not...
Now we have a bunkbed with an 'inaccessible top' because there's no longer a ladder :) But one day... when my kids are ready to have the top bunk to play on or sleep on... We might just build something like this for the foot of it! Isn't that a neat idea? And so much safer for climbing back down!! (did you notice it's also a dresser?). All it would need to be able to be used this way is a 'cut out' of the footboard of the top bed. :)