Are Toddler Beds Worth It?

Toddler beds are a great way to help your child transition from the crib to their bed.  

They’re also an excellent option for kids who refuse to sleep in their room or nap during the day. 

Or if your little one is starting to get too big for their crib. Maybe you’ve even caught them making their best impression of Spiderman while climbing over the rails.  

This can’t be safe. So, where are they going to sleep now? Should you buy a twin size bed? Should you just put a baby mattress on the floor? Is there such a thing as a toddler-sized bed? 

You end up googling “toddler bed”, and you see endless possibilities that cost anywhere from $50 up to a couple of hundred dollars. 

It seems like a good idea. But is a toddler bed worth it?

Some parents were smart enough to consider this dilemma in advance and added a convertible crib to their baby registry. 

But, if you spent that excruciatingly long day carefully choosing the most useless baby items ever (a wipe warmer, a bottle sanitiser, four pairs of baby Nikes), you must now figure out if you will order the adorable little toddler bed you saw online.

Or spend three hours dealing with furniture salespeople to pick out a bed that will, hopefully, last until she is off to college (or Olympic gymnast training school.)

You might be looking into which route to go for different reasons. For example, you might have a crib that doesn’t convert to a daybed and have to buy something new from the get-go. 

Or maybe you have a second child on the way who is going to take over that crib, convertible or otherwise, and it’s time to move baby #1 to a big boy or girl bed to prepare for the new family member.

Your choice, then, is between a toddler bed or a twin bed? (Other options, keep in mind, include a double bed if you have space and want your child to have the extra room; or a bunk bed, which many parents have for a single child so they can use one bunk for toys or sleepovers.)

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What to Consider First

First, remember that the process of transitioning into a new bed is unique for every child. Some kids are ready as early as 18 months, and some don’t want to take that step until they are a few years old.

In some cases, it has to do with emotional development. A child might not be mentally ready yet to let go of the crib. 

Consider how he feels, and only switch when he’s ready. Prepare him by letting him know he gets to go in a big boy bed, with his own choice of sheets, stuffed animal friends, and more!

In other cases, it’s more a physical need: if the child is very tall for their age, you might not have a choice but to switch. 

If the child can easily climb out of the crib or his chest reaches the top of the rail when he stands up, it’s time to switch even with the mattress at the lowest setting. 

And you want to do so before he has the chance to crawl out in the middle of the night and get up to some mischief.

So, the question is: should you opt for a toddler bed at all or go straight to a regular one?

What Is a Toddler Bed?

A toddler bed is precisely what its name implies; it’s a bed that’s designed specifically for toddlers. They use the same sized mattress as you would use in a baby crib. And they are specifically designed to sit lower to the ground. 

They are designed this way to make it easier for your child to get in safely or get out without any problems.  

Additionally, being lower to the ground ensures that your child won’t hurt themselves if they fall out of it.

Parents end up buying them because there comes an age when their baby can (and will) try to escape their crib.  

This typically happens between one and two years old. It’s not hard to imagine why a toddler climbing over the rails of their crib is dangerous.  

All it takes is one slip, and your toddler can fall towards the floor. With a toddler bed, the danger of falling is minimised.


What Age Is a Toddler Bed For?

There isn’t any set time when you have to replace your baby’s crib with a regular (or toddler bed). This highly depends on your child.  

Some children try to escape their crib as soon as they can stand. At the same time, some seem to stay content in their crib for a long time. Some children prefer to sleep in their cribs.  

And, it seems like there’s an equal amount who hate it. So, you’ll have to judge for yourself when it is the best time to transition your toddler into new sleeping arrangements.

But, most children make the switch to a toddler bed sometime between one and a half to three years of age.  

You might be better off waiting until your toddler is three years old since most toddlers won’t be ready for their bed until then.

Toddler Bed Vs Mattress on the Floor

It might just be me trying to find ways to save money.  

But, we don’t see any difference between buying a toddler bed and just placing the baby mattress from your crib on the floor.  

Sure, having a mattress sitting on the floor might not be the most attractive option. But, if being close to the floor is safer for your toddler, being on the floor is as safe as you can get.

So, if you’re the kind of person who prefers form over function, consider skipping the toddler bed altogether and place your baby mattress directly on the floor. 

Not only will you save money, but you’ll also provide your child with a safer environment for them to sleep.

What’s the Difference Between a Toddler Bed and a Single Bed?

A bed is a bed. Well, yes, but there are some differences between a toddler bed and a regular single bed. 

A toddler bed uses the same sized mattress as you would use in a crib. So, it typically has the same footprint as a crib.  

They are usually lower to the ground so that it’s easier for your toddler to enter and exit them safely. But, as with everything in life, some exceptions break these rules.

A single (or twin sized) bed uses a regular-sized mattress that is big enough for an adult to sleep in.  

And, they are matched with bed frames that are designed for adults to use. This means that they are taller, and they lack safety features like bed rails.

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Toddler Bed Vs Twin Sized Bed

If you’re going to spend anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars on a toddler bed… why not take that money and purchase a twin-sized bed instead? 

It will probably cost the same amount of money. The toddler bed will probably last until your child outgrows it when they are approximately five years old.  

The twin-sized bed can technically last until your child is an adult. But, most mattresses only last for approximately ten years.  

Still, ten years of use is excellent, considering it will only cost a few hundred dollars. Even though a twin-sized bed will last a lot longer, they do have their issues. The main problem is that your toddler can roll off it reasonably quickly.  

Luckily, this issue can easily be solved by using aftermarket bed rails.

Pros for Getting a Toddler Bed


Easier Transition

Getting a toddler bed might be an easier transition for a child since it’s more similar in size to a crib, and they often come in cute and fun modern designs that appeal to children. 

A toddler bed might also be cozier for kids: they don’t feel like they’re lying in the centre of what seems like a massive bed. Remember, to a small child, a twin bed seems enormous.

Takes up Less Room

If you’re strapped for space, a toddler bed won’t take up as much space in the room, leaving more room for play and to get around. 

That said, some regular-sized beds come with storage drawers underneath, which can come in handy as extra storage space for toys, clothing, or other items. 

But if your child is still in diapers, a toddler bed might be a better option since you’d still need a changing table in the room.

Since they use the same size mattress as a crib, they take up less space. This means that you can easily fit them in any room where the area is at a premium. This also means that there will be more floor space to play with since the bed is so small.

You Can Still Use Your Crib Mattress and Bedding

You can get some more mileage out of that crib mattress and bedding you spent hundreds of dollars on just a few years ago by moving it over to a toddler bed. 

This also provides some familiarity for the child, who is already used to the colour and patterns.

It might not seem as drastic a change to them. You can also get fun kids bedding that fits a small single bed featuring their favourite movie or TV characters or themes like dinosaurs, aeroplanes, or safaris.

Use Them as Chairs

Some toddler beds can neatly double as chairs, maximising the space and allowing the child to sit upright and play, equating the bed to fun awake time.

Less Worry About Falls

Maybe one of your biggest concerns, when you move your toddler to a full-sized bed is falling. Especially if he tends to move around a lot in his sleep, and you’re sure he’d fall out at some point every night. 

To solve this, you may get bed rails to position on either side of the regular-sized bed and put a soft floor mat beside the bed so if he did fall, it wouldn’t be onto the hard floor. 

Toddler beds can alleviate these issues since they don’t sit too far from the ground, and some have built-in rails or raised sides to ensure your child doesn’t go tumbling out.

They Are Designed Specifically for Toddlers.  

This means that all of their dimensions match the abilities of your little one.  

They are low enough to the ground that your child won’t struggle to get in or out of it. And, they usually have safety features like bed rails that are built-in.  

So, your child will be less likely to fall out of their bed. But, they are lower to the ground if they do fall out. So, the danger of them dropping is minimised.

They Are Easier to Clean.  

If you’ve changed the sheets on a crib, you know how easy it is to change the sheets on a toddler bed. There’s no difference. 

Now compare that to changing the sheets on a full-size mattress. There’s a big difference. A small bed is just way easier to clean.

They Will Spark Your Child’s Imagination. 

What’s great about them is that they come in so many different themes. They can be cars, planes, boats, castles, and so much more.

Can you think of a better way to foster your child’s imagination?

Cons for Getting a Toddler Bed

They Won’t Last as Long.

Toddlers grow pretty quickly, and before you know it, your little one might start feeling like a giant inside a toddler bed or desire to feel more “grown-up” with a full-sized bed. 

This, of course, depends on each child. Nonetheless, you won’t get as much life out of a toddler bed as you would a regular one unless you plan to pass it on to a younger sibling eventually.

Added Cost

Buying a toddler bed is an additional, potentially unanticipated cost that you can avoid if you switch straight to a regular bed. 

If you’re not on a budget or have another child coming and plan to conceive again, it might be worth it, though, since the bed will be passed on to siblings.

Parents Can’t Cuddle Up!

Mom and dad probably can’t fit comfortably on a toddler bed with the child. This means there’s no snuggle time, or the child will more often hop over to your bed when they want to cuddle up.

Yet Another Transition

It might be fun to redo the nursery, but you might want to limit the number of times you need to take apart a bed frame and switch the child to another set of sleeping quarters.

Twin/Full-Size Bed Pros:

  • It should last your child until (and likely throughout) adulthood.
  • You will solve your problem with one purchase instead of two (toddler bed, then a regular bed).
  • It can be delivered and put together by professionals.
  • Your child will only have to transition once.
  • There will be room for you to lie down with your child to read or when they’re sick.

Twin/Full-Size Bed Cons:

  • The pushy salespeople will likely convince you into buying an entire bedroom set to match the new bed. It will be a more significant investment because you will have to buy the bed plus the mattress and box spring.
  • The mattress might be ruined during the nighttime potty training/bedwetting eras.
  • If you allow your toddler to helping pick out the bed, you may end up with something they will likely outgrow (bunk bed/canopy bed/race car bed).

So Is a Regular Bed or a Toddler Bed the Better Investment?

The answer is “it depends.” Do you have multiple kids and plan to have more? If so, that could factor into your decision. 

You might need to keep the crib mattress in the crib to accommodate an upcoming baby, which would mean buying a second mattress for a toddler bed. 

But with multiple kids, you might be OK with that since you can transition the new baby into the toddler bed once the older child moves on to a regular one.

Consider costs, as well as your time and desire to switch beds more than once. If you’re all for efficiency, just go straight to the regular bed, and help your child make the transition.

Look at your child’s mentality. Do they seem ready to transition in the first place? If so, and they are actively asking, they might be prepared for a regular bed. 

If you feel like you need to ease them into the transition, a toddler bed might be a welcome small step to sleeping without bars.

Also, if they are up crying multiple times a night, a regular bed might be more accessible because you can cuddle with them for a bit until they fall back to sleep and return to their bed. 

Otherwise, they will be crawling into your bed, leaving that toddler bed unoccupied.

Finally, look at the size of both the room and budget. 

If this will be the child’s room for the foreseeable future, or you have plans to move to a larger home, a regular-sized bed might be the most prudent investment.

Are They a Waste of Time?

Saying that a toddler bed is a waste of time might be taking it too far. They have their fair share of positive benefits.  

We’re not going to lie; if your parents bought you a fire red racecar bed when you were a toddler, you would have thought you won the lottery.  

But they can be pretty expensive. And, you’ll probably only get about 2-3 years of use out of it before your toddler outgrows them. 

So, if you can get one dirt cheap, sure, why not. But, if you’re going to pay the total price for a toddler bed, you might consider skipping them altogether and opt for a twin-sized bed. 

This way, your toddler can use their new bed for at least ten years before the mattress would have to be replaced.

Whatever you decide, make sure your child is aware of the change that’s to come and that you prepare them for the transition from crib to bed.

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