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Toddler Beds

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Sleep > Toddler Beds


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Comfortable toddler mattress

May 2012

I was very concerned about SIDS and put my baby on the hardest crib mattress I could find. It's hard as a rock. Now that he's a toddler and well past the age that it's a concern, I want to get him something softer. It seems like no one makes a specific 'toddler' crib-sized mattress aimed at this age group, although there are combination mattresses with one hard side and one softer side. I'd love to get some recommendations for softer crib-sized mattresses for a toddler. Thanks!


I really liked the mattress we got at Costco -- the brand is LA Baby and there are a few different versions to choose from on the Costco website. Ours is two-sided, but the toddler side seems cushy enough for our 2.5 year old. We've used it in a crib and in a toddler bed.

Toddler Beds - do they work?

Jan 2006

Can someone explain toddler beds to me? My son is 2.5 years old, and I plan to keep him in the crib as long as possible. Those toddler beds are so cute and take up less space, so I imagine that when he's ready to leave the crib, I'll get one of those. What I don't understand is how those rails really help them stay in. My son, as with many kids, sleeps ALL OVER the crib, in crazy directions, and moving a lot. The toddler bed rails only reach about 1/3 the length of the mattress, if that. Realistically, I think they would only provide a barrier for his head and shoulders, and that is if he were to sleep in a traditional sleeping position. Do these work for wiggly kids? Just curious.


A friend loaned us a toddler bed and our daughter has been in it since a week after her second birthday, when, to our shock, she climbed out of her crib. The downsided of toddler beds are that they're an extra expense, they don't last that long (depending on your child's age and size), and they're not really necessary--you can get a big kid bed and put those net rails on the side and/or put pillows or an old mattress on the floor. On the other hand, they are cute and take up little space. So if you can get one on BPN for cheap....

The rails have been fine. Our daughter has rolled out one time in six months (very early on), but part of the point of the toddler bed is that it's such a short drop it's no big deal.A few tears and she was right back to bed And she somehow figured out very quickly in her sleep that she shouldn't do it again. If you're worried, put pillows on the floor. She loves her bed, though. toddler mom


If your toddler still enjoys his crib and is already 2 1/2, I'd suggest waiting to make the switch and just go straight into a regular sized bed. Toddler bed mattresses are the same size as crib mattresses, so they outgrow them very quickly. Our son went from crib to regular sized twin at age three, with a full- length railing I purchased at OneStepAhead.com. He's an ''all over the place'' sleeper, like your son and still uses the railing two years later - and needs it. (The other side is up against a wall so no spills off of that side.) -Skipped the Toddler Bed Sales Pitch
You asked about toddler beds, with their short 1/3 length railings and their ability to keep kids in bed.

My kids both slept in toddler beds as a transition from the crib. They both fell out of the toddler beds a couple of times. Toddler beds are low to the ground, and the experience of falling out shocked them more than hurt them, and taught them how to sleep within the boundaries of the bed. This was a good thing, because they now have twin beds that they never fall out of.

They could have slept in toddler beds until about age 6, size- wise, but since we moved to a larger home, we had room for twin beds so we moved up. This also helps with visiting guests, who can sleep in a twin bed but not a toddler bed. (My kids think it's a huge treat to sleep on the pullout couch - my guests, not so much!)

When we first moved the kids to twin beds, we used 'bunky boards' rather than box springs to keep the twin bed lower to climb into & less high to fall out of. Now they have box springs and are doing fine.

But I'd still have toddler beds for both of them if we still lived in the smaller house.

Hope this helps. mama


We had a toddler bed for one day, my also wiggly son fell right out of it immediately, but we decided it wasn't for us for several reasons.

There's a 50 pound weight limit and it's very small, so my husband and I would never be able to lie down with him

It didn't grow with him (although I've seen some at Ikea that have sides that fold down to make it longer) so we'd just have to chuck it for a bigger one at some point, anyway.

We got rid of it and went for a full size bed, instead. Jill


No. We put our son in one after he was 3. Luckily it is really low to the ground, so we just lay a big fluffy comforter on the floor next to him, and tuck the blankets around him really tightly. Sometimes he still falls out. I think he's getting better at not doing it though. Eventually he will learn to sense where the edge of the bed is, just like we do.

On the plus side, I think it really matured his sleep habits to be in a big-boy bed rather than a crib. Now he knows he's responsible for waking up at 6 not 4:30, and if he gets up earlier than that, he can manage his own time by playing or reading until it's a reasonable hour. He was not able to do that in the crib - which was really frustrating to us. jen


On the toddler bed inquiry, we found a nice, inexpensive toddler bed at Ikea, the Vikare extendable bed which we found a pretty good rail for (at Ikea as well). The bed can fold up at the top and bottom, with a separate little mattress, so that the bed can ''grow'' as the child grows. It's great because when it's folded it has cushion at the head and foot of the bed which is perfect for wiggly kids. The rail we found for it is about 3/4 length for the folded up version of the bed. It's been great. Our son still moves about a lot in bed and we haven't had any problems at all. It's worth checking out! patricia
I can't comment on toddler beds, but I can comment on wiggly kids. My daughter was all over the place in her crib, which she stayed in until 2 1/4 years. She transitioned into a big bed (a queen) while we were staying at our summer house because the pack and play didn't seem to give her enough room to do the gymanstics that she was used to at night. Upon returning home, we put her in a twin (a pretty high one at that) and were VERY nervous as she'd only been in a 'big bed' for a few weeks at that point and still very wiggly. She fell off the bed (on to pillow that I'd put on the floor) once, but never again. She is now pretty calm in bed. Kids just seem to know that in a crib you can move around without problem, but change their sleep pattern in a normal bed. -been there.
Our daughter was perfectly happy in the crib until age 3; it's not necessary to switch to a toddler bed until they start crawling/jumping out. You're right-the rails on the beds don't really prevent active sleepers from falling out. We have a large ''body pillow'' on the floor next to her bed just in case- she's fallen out a couple of times but was none the worse for wear. We just try to have her start out sleeping as close to the wall side as possible and tuck in the blankets so that her wiggling is restricted a bit (but she's still comfortable). Surprisingly, she's perfectly happy to stay in her bed and has never gotten out of the bed without asking us first. However, I understand that the transition is usually challenging and so as long as your son is comfortable in his crib and not escaping, you might not want to fix what ain't broken yet. Julie
we moved our son to a toddler bed like the one you describe at 2 1/2 and it worked pretty well. The space savings is definitely worth it! He slept all over the place too, and did indeed fall out a few times but never got hurt and ususally didn't even wake up--they are so low to the floor. If you are concerned you can place rugs or even pillows on the floor, but I bet after a while he will adjust just fine and you won't need the extra cushioning. Tracy
You can get a long bed guardrail that will go close to the length of a twin or full size mattress at most child equipment stores or on-line. We too have a child that moved all over the crib when sleeping, sometimes rotating 180 degrees in the night so her head was on the opposite end of the crib in the morning. We ended up purchasing a full size bed for her so that she can sleep either the length or width of the bed with enough space. Because it's a full, we felt the guardrail wasn't needed but I know many people who have put them on a full size mattress. Most people I know who have used toddler beds have not used them for long, since eventually the child needs to be in a bigger bed anyway. If you're worried about distance from the floor, you can always use the mattress and boxspring without a bedframe so the potential falling distance is smaller. In two years, our daughter has rolled out of her full size bed only once. mom of a moving sleeper
Hm. Well, toddler beds certainly aren't as secure as a crib, but they're only about a foot off of the ground so your wiggly child wont really fall out of the bed, it's more like oozing out of the bed. Both my kids sleep in toddler beds and the serene one stays put, but the wiggly one has to be scooped back into bed from the floor about once or twice a month. She sleeps right through it and it has not yet been a problem for us. Molly G

Toddler Bed vs. Twin Bed

June 2004

Hi Everyone, Would you give me advice on transitioning from crib to bed? Lily is 2 1/2 now. We are considering getting an inexpensive fun toddler bed (with fun characters or fun design) for Lily. We wonder the kid's bed might be too high for her even though we can install rail. When she sleeps, she moves a lot. She can end up at the bottom of the bed. Besides, when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she might be a little disoriented and get off the bed on the wrong side which does not have the rail guard. If we get her a toddler bed, how long will she be able to sleep in it? Any experience or wisdom to share. Appreciate it very much. Teresa


Hi, I was just looking at my 3.5 year old daughter last night and thought she was getting too long for her toddler mattress. She isn't especially tall for her age. Just my experience. thinking about the twin bed
Why we just did this 3 weeks ago with our 26 month old! I always thought the concept of a toddler bed was a waste of money (we didn't have them when we were kids). Instead, for our daughter, we bought rails for both sides of the bed we were going to put my daughter in (since the bed was not flush against the wall), to minimize her falling out. So far, so good. The first night I laid in bed with her rubbing her back for about a half hour while she scratched the mesh net the entire time (then I gave up and put her back in her crib). The next night, my husand laid in bed w/her for about 45 mins. doing the same. That's all it took! After that she went to sleep alone in her (as we keep calling it) ''big girl'' bed. Also, my sis-in-law has been having a real tough time trying to get her 4 year old out of his toddler bed and into a regular bed. So I say don't waste the money on a toddler bed! barbara
With a regular twin bed it is easier for you to lie down with your child and read stories and cuddle. This makes the big bed even more attractive than the crib. You can get fun characters on the sheets, comforter, pillows, etc. (BTW, when our daughter moved to a twin bed at 2 1/2, we forgot to get the rail so we just put chairs with their backs against the bed to prevent her from falling out. It turns out she never even needed them as she somehow knew where the edge was, just as grownups do. You can also put cushions or pillows around the bed until you are sure she won't fall off.) Good luck!
For what it's worth, we moved our 2 year old into a regular twin mattress on the floor. He kind of fell out on his first night in it - but it was no big deal. The transition was easy and he loves it. Good luck! anon
We moved our now almost 3-year-old into a twin bed in January. I definitely am glad we skipped the toddler bed. The toddler bed is not bigger than a crib, and our daughter is very tall and was simply too big for a toddler bed. It would have been one more thing to buy (and eventually get rid of), and I hear that finding bedding for toddler beds is difficult. We have a twin bed against the wall with an average-size bed rail and it has been great. She has to climb to get into it, but if that is a concern you can put the mattress on the floor until your child is taller. I would say get a twin bed and place it against a wall, get an extra-long bed rail (I've seen them online), and if you need to, put something soft on the floor at the end of the bed. Liz O.
You might want to consider just a twin sized mattress on the floor. That's what we did for my son. I was also concerned about the chances of his falling out of a big bed. I didn't want to get a toddler bed because I figured that he would grow out of it so quickly. With a twin mattress, you can always buy the bed frame for it later. Ruth

Extendable toddler bed?

March 2004

I want to move my son from the crib to a bed and I am wondering if the extendable beds which have 3 sizes (start as a toddler bed, go to a medium size and extend to a regular twin size) are really of good quality. It would be convenient for us, because my son's bedroom is very small and we could use it there in the smallest size; by the time we need the twin size we will have hopefully moved to a bigger house. However, I've seen many people selling these beds in the marketplace newsletter and I am wondering if it is because they are not sturdy or good quality enough for a more grown-up child. If that's the case, I'd rather buy a twin size now and have the bedroom a bit more full, than to have to end up buying 2 beds down the line. Any advice from people who have bought this extendable beds would be very much appreciated(I believe they are sold at Ikea, I am not sure if they are sold at any other place, and i, that's the case, if they are of better quality than the Ikea brand). Bed searcher


I bought the Ikea model to which you seem to be referring, and I think it is just great. For six months we had it in its smallest configuration (starting when my daughter was 2 years 2 months), until just a few weeks ago (she'll be three next month). It was just the right cozy size for her when she made the transfer into her own ''big girl bed'' (she was moving from my own queen size bed, not a crib, so we wanted her to feel the bed was just for her -- ''big girl''-sized!) I was worried at first about her falling out -- but the bed is relatively low to the ground, so it's not a far drop. I propped some pillows next to the bed for the first few weeks, and after one little tumble -- no harm done -- onto those pillows, she never fell out again. We put lots of pillows on top of the bed, and a canopy with fun, whimsical sheer panels draped on the wall above it (all available extremely reasonably at Ikea as well) and she was just thrilled when she saw it. (They have motifs that are just as fun for boys as for girls, by the way). She showed it off to everyone who came to the house! Now that we've lengthened the bed to its intermediate configuration, I can lie down in it fully extended with her (I am 5'4''), Daddy is more comfortable cozying up with her when it's his turn to put her to bed, and she feels cool because ''she's getting so big Mommy had to make her bed grow.'' It's very handy, feels perfectly comfortable, and the quality seems quite decent -- solid wood head and footboard, and slats to support the mattress. I'd definitely recommend the product! daly
We too have this bed, and it was wonderful for my daughter for a year or so. My only caution-- we purchased the Ikea mattress that went with it, and it outgassed for several months in the other room while we tried to get it safe enough for her to sleep on it. Mattresses have the most foul chemicals--and I assume that Ikea is worse than usual due to the price point. This mattress continuted to stink for about 3 months, at which point we threw it away, unused, and purchased an all cotton futon, which worked well with that bed as you could still fold up the tail and head and expand as needed. Nancy

Where to buy a toddler bed?

March 2003

Any stores in the area that have a good selection of toddler beds? I've seen the prior posts which deal more w/ kid furniture and not toddler beds. anon


We looked around at the larger furniture stores: Macy's, Ethan Allen, etc. and found the quality on the cheap side (pine and veneers) and the price quite high ($1000.00 and up). There is a store on Shattuck at Blake (?) called Berkeley Kids' Room, but they too are expensive for what you get. We eventually went where the quality matched the price, IKEA. They had a very solid pine toddler bed that expands to a twin size for approx. $150.00. They have other choices as well. anon
check out IKEA--they have several. anon
An excellent place to find toddler beds is at Berkeley Kids Room at 2474 Shattuck Ave downtown. Be sure to check out their upstairs - great designs and terrific service. Cassandra

Bedding for a toddler bed

Feb 2003

Where does one buy inexpensive yet tasteful bedding for toddler beds? Used is fine. elisabeth


One place for toddler bedding is Carousel Designs, Ltd. on the web: www.carouseldesigns.com/. It's a good place for toddler pillows and cases, and top sheets for toddler beds. Their quilts and comforters are pricey, tho, and I did not buy one because I'm lucky enough to have a seamstress for a best friend and godmother to my daughter.

For blankets that will fit well on a toddler bed, we use standard throw blankets. My father just got our daughter a down throw for Christmas that I love. Down throws aren't even very expensive!

For used, just go to a used baby/children's shop such as Once Upon a Child (one in Newark that I know of). Oh yeah, 2 other good resources for childrens bedroom stuff and bedding are Sears' Room for Kids catalog and Lillian Vernon's Lilly's Kids catalog (www.lillianvernon.com). Have fun! Jennifer


Toddler Bed Mattresses

October 2001

We recently bought a foam mattress from Ikea for a toddler bed that expands to twin size as your baby grows. I let it air out outside for a day and it has a cover and of course the sheets. The last couple of weeks the comments regarding the foam and possibly inhaling chemicals is beginning to scare me. Can anyone recommend a solution, maybe another mattress pad or a feather bed over the foam? Or should we get rid of it? Thanks for any advice on this one... Alexis


I think that plastic (polythene, not PVC) zippered mattress covers can protect against the outgassing of both foam and conventional baby mattresses, the latter being treated with flame retardant chemicals on which some fungi feed. The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (Aug/Sept 2000) article entitled "Victory over crib Death" by Dr. Lendon Smith made a compelling case for using Babesafe mattress covers (email criblife AT hotmail.com to obtain more info) and no moisture resistant bedding otherwise Nori
2001

Do toddlers have special needs in a mattress?

Our son is ready to escape the confines of his crib, so my husband and I have been searching for a toddler bed. (We like the idea that toddler beds are the right scale for our son's size.) Ikea sells a few styles that can be extended as the child grows, ultimately to the length of a standard twin. There is an obvious convenience factor here, but the system requires a simple, though thick, foam mattress. When our son is older, we can sub in a standard mattress for better support, but our crib mattress will not fit in the meantime.

Our son is old enough that SIDS is no longer a concern, but, considering his small size, does he need the support of a firm mattress? (The money savings is not worth future orthopedic care.) Someone out there must have purchased one of these beds -- did your child find it comfortable? Thanks in advance. Loralee


We are now entering this situation with our 22 month old boy. We hope to use his crib mattress on a IKEA type toddler bed, or at the very least put his mattress on the floor. I wanted to mention what I've read about using foam mattress(or any foam product for that matter): foam off-gasses formaldahyde. I read this when I was pregnant, and we specifically chose a baby crib mattress that had little to no foam in it. Can anyone else comment on the safety of foam - especially in mattresses. I do know that mattress(any type) should be "aired" out before use b/c of the off-gassing it produces. MM
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