Should You Buy A Toddler Bed?

As your baby grows they’ll eventually need a bigger place to sleep. However, once they’ve outgrown their crib, do you opt for a slightly larger toddler bed, or do you go straight for a twin or full-size kids bed?

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Deciding between either option can be a tricky. Of course if you’ve already purchased a convertible crib, then turning it into a toddler bed is a no brainer. However, what should you do if you need to make a decision on buying a new bed in the next few days or weeks?

The short answer is it depends on your circumstances, particularly on the room layout. If your baby’s nursery is fairly small and it only just fits a crib, then a larger single bed might not be an option unless you drastically alter the design, or move your baby to a different room. So a toddler bed might be a sensible choice at this time. However, if your baby’s nursery is quite big, of if you’re thinking of changing the room layout completely or moving your baby to a larger room, then you might be able to go straight for a twin or full-size bed.

Let’s take a look at this topic in more detail so you can make an informed decision.

What is a toddler bed?

A toddler bed is designed for toddlers who have outgrown their crib but are too small for a regular sized one. Toddler beds have low side rails either side of where the child puts their head on the pillow, but they are not fully closed off like a crib. Furthermore, toddler beds tend to be very low to the floor to make it easy for a child to get in and out.

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What age is a toddler bed suitable for?

Children can start using a toddler bed from anywhere between 18-30 months. All children are different and some will be ready sooner than others.

What age should you move from a toddler bed to a single bed?

It depends on the size of the bed, and the size of your toddler! Toddler beds have weight limits, usually around 22kg (48lbs) and they might not be wide enough for your child when they get older. Your child should be fine in a toddler bed until they are 5 or even 6, but you might want to transition to a bigger bed before then. Your child might tell you they are uncomfortable and need something bigger. Starting school is a good reference point as most children should be out of a toddler bed by then.

How do you know if your toddler is ready for a toddler bed?

Here are some of the telltale signs that your toddler has outgrown their crib and they need something a little bigger.

You’ve started potty training

If you’re started this process with your little one, you don’t really want them to be trapped in a crib needing to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. A toddler bed will make it a lot easier for them to pop to the potty when they need to go.

They can pull themselves over the crib rail

If the crib mattress is on the lowest setting and your toddler can climb out of the crib and over the rail, then you need something bigger. The maximum height your toddler should be in a crib is around 35 inches.

They don’t fit in the crib anymore

If you toddler can touch the ends of the crib with their head and feet, then it’s time to say goodbye to this piece of nursery furniture.

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Are toddler beds safe?

Toddler beds are perfectly safe, providing your child is the right size for it and they haven’t transitioned to one too early. Furthermore, if you’re in the US, the toddler bed should be JPMA certified and conform to ASTM and CPSC safety standards. For other countries, check your national safety standards and regulations.

You should make sure the toddler bed has some guard rails near the top of the bed to stop your toddler from falling out. It also pays to ensure the area to the side of the bed is clear of any toys and other objects. If your child does fall out during the night, you want it to be on something soft, like carpet or a rug, not some LEGO pieces!

Furthermore, don’t let your child have a pillow unless they’re older than 2 and it’s best to avoid placing the bed directly under a window. Finally, make sure the mattress fits perfectly in the bed frame so there are no gaps anywhere.

Are they safe against the wall?

You can put a toddler bed against a wall but it should be the headboard only. Doing this prevents your child getting trapped between the sides of the bed and the wall.

Toddler bed vs Twin bed

If you’re in two minds about buying a toddler bed, or going to a twin bed, here are some of the differences and pros and cons of either option.

What’s the difference?

The main difference is the size. A standard toddler bed mattress is 27.5” x  52” where as a twin bed mattress is wider and longer, 38” x 75”. This means your child can use a twin bed for a lot longer. Twin beds support more weight as well.

Can a toddler go straight to a twin bed?

A toddler can do this straight away after their crib, but you should invest in some temporary guard rails until they are completely comfortable sleeping in a twin bed, and they’re beyond the stage when they can fall out.

Pros and cons of a toddler bed

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using a toddler bed.

Pros

  • Size. A toddler bed takes up about the same space as a crib, so it’s easy to take down the crib and put up a toddler bed without rearranging anything in your baby’s nursery.
  • Safety. Toddler beds are designed with safety in mind. The guard rails near the headboard reduce the chances of your child from falling on to the floor during the night. The low height of toddler beds also prevents any serious injury if your child does fall out.
  • Keep the same mattress. Although you’ll need to buy a new bed frame, you can still use the same mattress and bedding from the crib. This saves you some money.

Cons

  • Not a long term purchase. Your toddler might love moving from the crib to a small bed, but after couple of years, they’ll outgrow it.
  • Not as durable. The maximum weight limit of a toddler bed isn’t much, usually around 50lbs. This means if your toddler starts jumping up and down on it, the frame could easily break, especially if your buy a cheaper product.

Pros and cons of a twin bed

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of a twin bed.

Pros

  • Cheaper option (in the long run). If you can resist the urge to buy a toddler bed and transition straight to a twin, you’ll save money and you’ll get many years of use. Yes, you’ll have to buy a new mattress, but overall it’s a cheaper option.
  • More comfortable. If your toddler starts adding soft toys and other items on top of a toddler bed, it can become cramped very quickly.
  • Less sleep transitions. It takes time for children to get used to a new sleeping environment. By purchasing just a twin bed after the crib, it’ll be easier for your toddler to adapt than having to do it twice via a toddler bed.

Cons

  • Not as safe as a toddler bed. Twin beds can be a bit higher off the floorso your toddler can hurt themselves easier if they fall out. You might want to consider some guard rails temporarily which you can attach to the bed.
  • Takes up more space. Twin bed frames are larger which might be an issue if you live in a small apartment, of if your baby’s nursery is quite small.

Are toddler beds worth it?

Hopefully, this article has answered some of the key points for you. If you have the budget and space is an issue in your home, then a toddler bed makes sense. However, if you’re looking at this long term, then it makes sense to go straight for a twin option. Looking at various forum threads, it’s certainly a contentious issue as some parents believe toddler beds are a waste of money, where as others who are a lot more safety conscious feel they are a worthwhile purchase.

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