Choosing the Bed Option that is the best Fit for your Toddler

As your toddler grows and begins to pull himself up and eventually starts climbing, it may be time for your child to transition from the crib to a bed. If your child can lift his leg over or pull his body forward enough where he might fall out, it is time to start thinking about beds.

There are many crib models that convert into a toddler-sized bed. However, if your crib does not convert, then you’ll need to buy a toddler or twin sized bed. A toddler-sized bed is a small frame that can fit a crib mattress and the bed sits low to the ground. If your toddler is older and/or very tall for his age, you might want to go straight to a regular twin sized bed since the toddler bed won’t last long.

Here’s what you need to know:

Convertible cribs

If the crib you’ve been using converts to a toddler bed, this helps make the decision of what type of bed to use much easier. All you need to do is follow the manufacturer instructions and make the adaptations to your existing crib into a safe toddler-sized bed that you child won’t hurt himself trying to escape.

The pros of a convertible crib is your toddler is already familiar with it and may have an easy transition since it won’t be much different than what he’s been used to.

Toddler beds

There are a variety of toddler beds on the market. Some are themed (i.e. a sports car or a princess castle), while others are standard-looking frames which may be wooden or plastic.  Usually the frames are low to the ground and have some type of built in bed rails to keep your toddler from rolling out.

An advantage of toddler beds is that children sometimes take easier to them because they are less intimidating since they are “kid” sized. The drawback is they often do not last very long if a toddler is older or large for his age; you may have to do another transition to a regular bed sooner than later.

If you decide to go with a toddler bed, be sure to check the gaps between the mattress and the frame; not unlike you would with a crib to ensure there are no hazards of getting stuck in between. Also, look to see if the product has been certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to ensure the bed meets safety standards.

Not all toddler beds are created equal. Also, avoid using older ones from thrift stores or second hand, as these may not meet current standards and/or have become weakened over time.

Twin beds

If your child stayed in the crib for a longer period of time, or is just large for his age, you might want to go straight from crib to a twin bed. You can either set the bed up on a frame, or you can place the bed on the floor. 

For a bed frame, be sure and choose a kid-friendly one that does not have any sharp points or cuts in the wood that could lead to entrapment. Additionally, check to see if the frames fit properly to avoid any potential entrapment hazards.

If the bed is against a wall, you’ll only need one rail; mesh railing works well. If you need two rails, some brands sell bed rails that “lock” together through a belt and buckle that goes underneath the mattress.

If you think the bed may be too high for your toddler to get in and out of, some parents opt to place the mattress and box spring on the floor and wait until later to assemble the bed on a frame.

Transitioning from crib to bed is a big change for both parents and child; you want to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Evaluate your options and see which one works best for your growing toddler.