Best Beds for Your Toddler

Learn what to look for when shopping for a toddler bed and see our top picks for the best toddler beds of 2019.

By Jayna Nickert

There’s going to come a day when, and sooner than you think, when your sweet newborn will have outgrown their crib and will be ready for the transition to a big kid bed of their own. This is a big moment for both your child and you! So we want to help you make this transition as seamless as possible.

When looking for the best bed for your toddler, there is a lot to take into account. Keep in mind that this is a very active time for your child as they learn to walk, run, jump and climb! Therefore, your top priority in finding the perfect bed for your toddler should be the safety and support. While you’ll want a bed they can get a good night’s sleep in, they’ll also need the freedom to climb in and out of bed with ease. After all, they’ll probably be more than one midnight potty trip or escape to mom and dad’s room.

We’ve already covered the best dual-sided mattresses for cribs that easily transition from newborn to toddler years (check it out here), so in this guide we will dive into what to consider when transitioning between the crib and big kid bed.

The Best Toddler Beds

Now that we've covered the most important factors to consider when choosing a toddler bed, let's dive into our top picks for the best toddler beds.

The Harmony 3-in-1 crib to toddler mattress is our top pick for a convertible crib bed. This bed easily converts from a crib to a toddler bed as your baby grows older. It eventually grows into a full bed with a headboard and footboard. This bed has a sophisticated style with sturdy construction using white solid wood paired with natural fabric, a timeless aesthetic that will evolve with your child’s tastes. The fabric used in the construction of this bed is stain, spill, odor, and bacteria resistant. This is a good option for cost savings since your baby will be able to stay with this bed through his or her teenage years. The only thing that will need to be upgraded is the mattress at age six or so. This bed can be purchased from Crate & Barrel Kids for $799.

If you want to make transitioning into a toddler bed fun for your child, this bed model is safe, affordable, and comes in a variety of themes from Disney princess toddler beds to sports team themed designs. These beds have a sturdy frame constructed of metal and plastic. They are JPMA, CPSC, and ASTM certified and are suitable for a standard size crib mattress. These mattresses are sold from Delta Children for $59.99 and are also available at numerous other retailers, such as  Walmart and Amazon.


Babyletto Ziggy Toddler Bed (Best Value Bed)

Our search for the best toddler also includes this eco-friendly option from Babyletto made from sustainable New Zealand pine wood. Completely non-toxic, this bed meets CPSC and ASTM standards for safety. The mid-century design of this bed makes for a practical, stylish, and timeless. Not to mention safe with the inclusion of bedrails. The Ziggy toddler bed fits a standard crib mattress and is top rated by consumers for quality and affordability. This bed can be found on Amazon for $119.

Last but least we have included Little Tikes fun, Jeep Wrangler toddler bed. Not only will every boy fall in love with the idea of sleeping in a car, this bed is also highly practical as it converts into a twin bed for longer use. The “Jeep” comes fully equipped with running boards that make great child steps, ASTM safety standard approval, and has a weight limit of 200 lbs so that parents can sit on it for bedtime story reading. This bed offers room for storage underneath and the spare tire doubles as a bookshelf. There are even LED lights in the roll bar that rotate a full 360 degrees. If you show your toddler this bed, we are positive they’ll never want to leave. It can be purchased from Walmart for $299.99.


Transitioning From the Crib to the Big Kid Bed: What, When, How?

While there is no official age that a child should transition from their crib to a toddler bed, it typically takes place between 18 months to 4-years-old. This is largely influenced by factors such as whether or not your toddler has been escaping from the crib, there is another baby on the way, you’ve been potty training, or if your toddler is an early riser. Maybe all of the above prompted the transition into a toddler bed.

If you have a toddler mattress in your crib, this can easily be transferred into your toddler bed if you wish. As a matter of fact,  there are some cribs that have the ability to transform into a toddler bed. Some do require a conversion kit, but oftentimes simply removing a side is all that it takes. Just keep in mind, going from a crib to a twin size bed is not advised for a number of safety reasons.

Toddler beds typically range from 31 to 56 inches in size. Most toddler beds will be too small for your child by age six, so this should be factored into the decision on which toddler bed to purchase, as some are adjustable enough to convert into larger size beds.

What to Look for in Beds for Toddlers

In addition to the practical considerations mentioned above, there are some key elements to be aware of when searching for a toddler bed. You will want to consider the materials used to construct the bed, the firmness and support provides level, the safety features you value, and the style that you (and your toddler) desire.

Materials

When it comes to construction, the most common materials used in toddler bed frames are metal and wood. Wood is by far the most popular given the durability and support it provides. Metal frames, on the other hand, are very easy to maintain and are often offered at a lower price point. In some cases, there are models made with a blend of wood and metal. In fact, some of the most sturdy bed frames are those constructed with a combination of metal and heavy-duty wood.

Regardless of the material used, it’s important the bed is made out of materials that will last and stand up to toddler reuse. Additionally, the more natural the materials the fewer toxins your child will be exposed to, so keep this in mind.

Comfort

When picking the best toddler bed for your child, it’s important to consider the comfort level it provides. The best toddler beds have spacious fronts with high sides to help prevent the risk of falling, while simultaneously bringing the comfort and responsiveness needed to when tossing and turning is experienced. The firmness of the mattress is also important. Your toddler will likely prefer a softer, less firm mattress than what is ideal for an infant. Where infants need firm, solid, non-flex surfaces to prevent SIDS this isn’t as much of an issue for older children.

Safety

Perhaps the most important factor is safety when searching for a toddler bed. Toddler beds should follow ASTM international and U.S. CPSC safety standards for the construction of the bed in order to ensure you have a safe model. Toddler beds are also mandated to be certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) to ensure they meet federal safety standards. In addition, a GREENGUARD Gold Certified label will indicate if a bed is toxin-free.

In addition to necessary safety certifications, toddler beds should have side rails on them (sort of like a toddler daybed that looks a bit like a crib still with an open side, or like a twin bed, only shorter, with rails on both sides). If the guardrails on a bed are adjustable, ensure small fingers will not be able to get caught in any small spaces. Long guardrails are important safety features for toddlers who move around often in the night. Also, ensure there are no loose screws or small pieces that could be put into the toddler’s mouth and become a choking hazard.

Also be sure the bed is a comfortable height from the ground so your toddler can climb in and out without the risk of injury.

Style

There are numerous styles available for toddler beds. Some of the more popular toddler bed styles include:

  • Tent Beds
  • Car Beds
  • Sleigh Beds
  • Travel Beds
  • Sleepover Cots
  • Loft Beds
  • Storage Beds
  • Convertible Cribs
  • Cartoon Themed Beds
  • Princess Day Beds

One of the best ways to make the transition from a crib to a big kid bed is to get your toddler excited about the change! Involve them in the design of their new room and bed. Allow them to help you pick out their mattress and blankets. You may even reward them with a new stuffed animal for making it through an entire night in their own bed.

Sleep Safety for Toddlers

For best safety practices for your toddler, it’s ideal to move him or her into a toddler or twin bed at 35 inches tall, or by age 3. Younger toddlers, 18 months old to three, may not be quite ready to transition, and that is just fine.

It’s safe for your toddler to sleep with a small pillow, thin blanket, or small stuffed animal by this age. However, large stuffed animals and soft toys may be dangerous. Other hazards include objects with strings, electrical cords, window blind cords, mobiles, curtains, etc. Be sure to routinely check your toddler’s bed for foreign objects brought in as well. Items such as electronics or anything with sharp edges could be dangerous.

As your child prepares for the transition from the crib to toddler bed, it’s important to prevent them from climbing or crawling out of the crib. As they learn to walk and bounce, this becomes more common. Some precautions to prevent climbing include lowering the mattress setting and keeping the crib free of any objects that could be stood on. For instance, crib bumpers or stuffed animals. It’s also best to allow your toddler to sleep in a position that’s most comfortable. It’s now safe for your toddler to sleep on the back, stomach, or side.

Tips for Keeping Your Toddler in The Big Kid Bed

It may be difficult to keep your toddler in the big kid bed at first, but it’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that you try. To help transition your toddler to a new bed and stay there, it helps to have a consistent bedtime routine in place. This may include a bedtime story, a glass of water, potty run, etc.. Once your child is in bed and ready to sleep, it can also help to sit there for a moment while your child winds down for support. It’s also helpful to keep any comfort items that were in the crib with them in the toddler bed such as stuffed animals, blankets, etc. If your child gets out of bed frequently during the night for more than just using the potty, it’s important to immediately return him or her to bed, yet, remain friendly, firm, and consistent.

Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed can be challenging for little humans, but with a bit of time and patience from their parents (and the best toddler bed), it can be done. Should you decide you’d like to learn more about which mattress is right for your child throughout these transitions we invite you to check out our guide to the best mattresses for kids and the best bunk beds.


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