I've written a few posts about the bed that my dad is making for Emma, but here's the latest update.
My parents have a bunk bed system now set up in their garage that my dad is working on 'renovating'. Essentially, it is a pre-made regular bunk bed which consists of two 'stackable' twin beds. The head and foot boards already had 'rails' that mostly enclosed that space so that Emma won't be able to climb out the ends. What my dad is doing to modify it is creating a 'lift' under the upper bunk so the opening of the bottom bunk is high enough for an adult to sit on the lower bunk. He's also altering that 'lifted' portion of the head and foot boards to match the original style but provide that additional safety for a certain little girl.
Then, he's making a 'side rail' for the side of the bed that will be up against the wall. This is just to keep Emma from falling between the mattress and the wall. It will be the entire length of the bed and ai think it will be 'removable' so that we can change sheets and such without it being in the way. Not all that sure on that part yet. And here's the part I'm still a bit iffy on understanding, they're making a doohicky for the open side of the bunk. It has something with canvas pockets which hold lengths of wood- 1x3's or something similar- inside the pockets that go the length of the bed. Then there's a mesh that holds each of these boards together, and slots on the side of the bed for them to 'lock in' to. The idea is that the boards hold up the mesh and give it stability, and as many as are needed can be put up (or taken down) to make the side-height what we need at that time. I think.
We did talk with the Department of Children and Families to make sure it was an acceptable solution to our needs... to which they wouldn't give us a very straight answer. We talked to someone that is a previous employee, and she said that if they have a problem with it, they would work with us to fix the problem as long as there were no other issues in the home. We also intend to get a note from our pediatrician that says that Emma requires a special needs bed which will keep her from climbing or crawling out of it for her safety.
I haven't actually seen the bed yet at all... but I will at least post some pictures when it's done! The cost of this bed should be under $800 I think instead of the $6-9,000 that we found special needs beds for. It's starting out on a $500 bunk bed frame that is VERY STURDY. The additional supplies I think will be less than $300 (and lots of man- and woman power, thanks Mom and Dad!).