Your child may be sleeping through the night, but are you losing sleep worrying about how safe they are in their new big-kid bed? Are you transitioning your toddler to a new sleeping arrangement and are wondering how to keep them in one piece while they take that important step to greater independence?
It might seem like only yesterday that you were shopping for a crib, but bittersweet as it is, your baby won’t stay little forever. We all know kids have a knack for falling off, over, and into things, so as your little one gains independence, you’ll need to keep a step ahead of them.
Bed rails and bumpers are training wheels for the bed. The right one will make the transition from crib to bed seamless and ensure that the next thing that goes bump in the night is not them falling out of bed.
Baby Nursery FAQs
This is typically the time most kiddos switch to a bed, and those low rails are easy to scale in comparison to the taller ones on a crib. The main reason rails are necessary is because toddlers are such wild sleepers.
There are two basic bed rails: Integral - Incorporated into the bed design and are already fitted to the bed frame. Some are full length, while others are split. Third-party - are not specific to any model.
Bed rails should be used when your child is about two until age 5. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing bed rails. If they leave a gap or loosen during the night, your child could get trapped, so use the rails strictly according to the instructions and check them each night before use.
Bed rails, also known as side rails or cot sides, are widely used to reduce the risk of falls. Although not suitable for everyone, they can be very effective when used with the right bed, in the right way, for the right person.
Bed Rails are marketed as safety devices to reduce patients' risk of falling from bed. Their use is common internationally, with reported prevalence in hospitals ranging from 8 to 64% [1–5] and from 9 to 71% [6–13]. The commonest reason for bedrail use is fall prevention [1, 4, 6, 14].
Types of Bed Rails
There are three main styles of bed rails, all with their strengths and weaknesses.
- Convertible Bed Rails: These are the most similar to a crib. Convertible bed rails are metal or plastic railings you can connect to the side of your toddler's bed. But as opposed to a crib railing that fastens solidly in place, convertible bed rails can fold down.
- Foam Bumpers: Foam bumpers are a much more significant change from a crib than convertible bed rails. They are soft foam railings—basically firm pillows that run along the sides of your toddler's bed.
- Inflatable Bumpers: These are just what they sound like—bumpers that inflate with air and tuck under the bed's fitted sheet. But they are much less permanent solutions than foam bumpers, as they need to be regularly re-inflated if you intend to use them every night. Inflatable bumpers are great solutions for families who travel frequently and want reassurance that their toddler will be able to stay put in an unfamiliar bed.
Features to Consider When Buying a Toddler Bed Guard Rail
When it comes to picking a toddler bed guard rail, consider these features:
- Security and safety. Pampers Parents said that one of their top priorities when choosing was the security and safety of the guard rail. You'll want to make sure that the toddler bed guard rail can be firmly secured to the bed, that it's stable, and that it cannot be moved or adjusted by your child. Another safety consideration is ensuring that the rail can support your child's weight if your child rolls or leans onto it. The rail should also fit snugly against the mattress so that your child can't roll into the gap. Always follow the manufacturer's advice about how much of a gap between the bed rail and the headboard or footboard, or check with your child's healthcare provider for advice if the manufacturer doesn't provide information.
- Height and length. The bed rail needs to be the right length to fit securely on the bed and the right height to stop falls at night. If you have an especially thick mattress, double-check that the rail is high enough to prevent any falls.
- Comfort. For example, some Pampers Parents said they preferred to pick a cushioned guard rail if their toddler rolls against it while sleeping.
- Price. Guard rails come in various price points, and more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. Remember, too, that your child will need the rail for only a limited time; you may not want to break your budget on a product that you'll be using for a relatively short time.
- Adjustable. Some Pampers Parents emphasised choosing a toddler rail that could be adjusted to fit the size of the bed or that could be used when transitioning from a crib to a bed.
- Foldable. Some bed rails can be folded down. This is a convenient feature when you want to sit with your little one to read a bedtime story or have easier access when changing the sheets, for example.
- Ease of installation. Some bed rails are easier to install than others, with some needing two people for the initial setup, according to some Pampers Parents. This could be a deal-breaker for you if you don't have help at hand.
- Colour. Maybe you want the toddler bed rail to match the bed or fit in with the décor of your toddler's room. If so, look at what colours are available in the model you're considering.
- Portability. If you're planning to travel and need to take the guard rail with you, you may want to pick a guard rail you can transport easily.
The Best Bed Rails for the Side of Your Toddler's Bed
Installing a toddler bed rail can help keep your little one from rolling out of bed in the middle of the night. There are several styles of bed rails, including swing-down bed rails, fixed toddler bed rails, and bumper-style bed rails.
Each has its advantages. In this article, we'll review some of the best toddler bed rails and help you decide which style will work best for you and your little one.
Regalo Swing Down 54-Inch Bed Rail Guard
The Regalo Swing Down Bed Rail Guard is designed to work with larger-sized beds instead of toddler beds since the average length of a toddler bed is 54-inches. It swings down and out of the way when not in use, which makes it easier for your toddler to climb in and out of bed.
This bed rail for toddlers is 20″ tall and can be installed without any tools on a bed with a mattress and box spring. The manufacturer recommends this be used with twin-sized or queen-sized beds only because of its length.
Once up, the railing locks into place, so it withstands the weight of your child pressing against it while they are sleeping if they roll toward the edge of the bed.
For parents worried about keeping the frame clean, this has a washable machine fabric that stretches over the steel frame. The mesh design also allows good breathability throughout the whole bed.
Like the other Regalo bed rail, this comes with GapGuard technology that keeps the mattress and rail close to each other, preventing gaps and entrapment. Additionally, it is easy to install, and you do not need any tools.
Something to note is that this might not be a good choice if your child will climb over the railing instead of around it or folding it down. The top bar can bend if your toddler puts all their weight on it.
- It can be installed without a tool.
- Extra-long design to protect active sleepers
- Machine washable fabrics
- GapGuard technology to prevent entrapment
- Good breathability
- Swings down out of the way
- The top bar can bend if your child puts weight on it
- Only works with twin or queen beds
Hiccapop Toddler Bed Bumper
The Hiccapop Toddler Bed Bumper is made from CertiPUR-US foam tested and found to be free of harmful contaminants, including CFCs, phthalates, heavy metals, lead, flame retardants, and more.
The foam is then wrapped in a cover that is water-resistant and machine washable, which makes it significantly easier to clean than some other bed rails. It also resists absorbing liquid if your child has an accident.
Bed bumpers like these sit lower than traditional bed rails because they are modelled after the 'Passive Safety Protection' idea from the University of Standard. As your child rolls into the bumper at night, it teaches them to be aware of possible danger. Often, this is enough for their body to wake them up or allow them to readjust while sleeping.
Another nice feature is silicone beaded non-skid fabric, which helps hold the toddler bed bumper in place. This stops it from sliding around under the sheet. The entire bumper is 52″ long and 4.5″ tall. It is recommended for use in toddler, twin, full, queen, and king-sized beds and should not be used on loft beds or top bunks.
To make this work, you'll need a deep-fitted sheet set that fits the bed and can be tucked around the edges, ensuring security and that everything stays in place.
Even though there are grips, parents should note that some active sleepers might get them off the bed. For the best fit, you might need to choose a different sheet that helps hold it in place.
This bed bumper does sit significantly lower than a traditional bed rail. However, it has been rigorously tested and proven to sleep for most toddlers. For active sleepers, it's nice because the Hiccapop toddler bed rail is significantly softer than the traditional bed rail.
Parents worried about how this will work will appreciate that this comes with a lifetime guarantee, making it easier to return if it is not a good fit for your child.
- Made of CertiPUR-US foam free of chemicals
- Passive Safety Protection alerts your child to danger while they sleep
- Works with almost any bed
- Anti-skid grips to help hold in place
- Water-resistant and machine washable cover
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Might slip off the bed if the sheet does not fit well or your child is too active
TotCraft Toddler Bed Rail Guard
The TotCraft Toddler Bed Rail Guard is designed to work with any bed with a wooden base, box spring, or other slats. It tucks in between the slats and the mattress and is approved for use with cribs and several sizes of beds. Like the Regalo toddler bed rail, it folds down and out of the way.
For parents worried about staining, this comes in grey or white. Additionally, the fabric is easily removed from the bed frame and is machine washable, which means easy cleaning.
The wide range of compatibility comes from the types of hardware included. You'll choose how to install based on the style of bed frame your toddler bed has. It can be installed using screws, with the anchor system under wooden slats, or the included Velcro.
The different installation methods are addressed in an easy-to-follow video. This lets you feel confident that the rail has been installed safely.
This is shorter, which makes it good for toddler beds. If your child doesn't want to swing it down during the night, they'll easily be able to climb out the gaps on the sides instead. It is 35.5″ long and 19.5″ tall and made from metal rods and a mesh panel that are certified as being free from any harmful substances.
Something to note is that the 19.5″ measurement includes the part against the bed. If you have an especially deep mattress, then it is going to have less clearance. For example, a 15″ deep mattress is only going to make the bed rail sit 4.5″ above the mattress.
- Works with a wide range of bases
- Different hardware included
- Easy to install with the help of the video
- Shorter in length for toddler beds or so your child can climb around it
- Fabric is machine washable
- Comes in white or grey
- Height depends on the overall height of the mattress
- Swings down and outward so need a clear path
Regalo Swing Down Double Sided Bed Rail Guard
The Regalo Swing Down Double Sided Bed Rail Guard features a swing-down feature that makes it easier for your child to climb in and out of bed. It also makes changing their bed sheets a breeze.
This is a set of two toddler bed rails that are 43″ long and 20″ tall each. It is perfectly sized to keep your child from falling out of bed but still letting them move around the rails. It is designed for use with a twin or queen-sized bed that has a bed and box spring.
The rail itself is made from a steel frame and mesh panel. The mesh panel and fabric are white. However, the fabric does clean fairly easily.
One of the nice things about the Regalo bed rail is that it doesn't require any tools for installation. It is lightweight and easy to secure using the included anchor strap. Your child could even take it with them for sleepovers or when the family goes on vacation.
Since all you need is a mattress and box spring for this to work, there is a wide range of compatibility with beds of all sizes.
A nice safety feature comes with Regalo's GapGuard technology, which secures tight against the mattress and prevents gaps that could be dangerous to a sleeping toddler.
Something to note is that the bed rail swings outward to fold down and out of the way. This means you'll want to be sure all toys and other objects are away from the bed at night, so they don't get in the way of your child getting up.
- Lightweight design
- Incredibly easy to install
- Wide range of compatibility
- Swings down and out of the way
- GapGuard technology keeps your child safe
- Comes with two rails for each side of the bed
- Swings outward instead of straight down
- White mesh might stain
Hiccapop Convertible Crib Toddler Bed Rail Guard
The Hiccapop Convertible Crib Toddler Bed Rail Guard has the major advantage of having steel clamps that hook onto the bed frame, which is nice for parents looking for something sturdier than just an anchor system. It also has an anchor system that keeps the bed rail for toddlers securely in place and prevents gaps.
The crib rail frame is made from hardened steel, and the fabric is heavy duty and designed to resist tears and fraying. It can be installed in minutes and used for most major brands, excluding IKEA.
Like many others, it folds down, and out of the way, so you'll want to be sure there's a clear path at your child's bed at night. However, the convenience factor makes it easy for things like sitting on your child's bed to tell them a story or changing their sheets.
This bed frame is available in white or grey, which is a good choice if you are worried about staining. The mesh design allows good breathability through the bed as well. Since this is only 33″ wide and 16″ tall, it is perfect for letting your child climb out either side of the bed. They don't have to worry about folding the bed down themselves.
Another nice feature of this bed guard rail is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee for use. It's always nice to buy from a company that stands behind its products.
While the way this attaches to the bed frame makes it more secure than many other bed rails, something to note is that two steel bars run under the mattress. If your child has a thinner mattress, they might be uncomfortable sleeping on top of them.
- An added level of security because of how this attaches to the bed frame
- Folds down and out of the way
- Available in white or grey
- Fabrics are machine washable
- Good level of breathability
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Shorter size so your child can climb around either side of the railing
- Steel bars can be uncomfortable under thinner mattresses
Dream On Me Mesh Security Rail
The Dream On Me Mesh Security Rail is designed to work with a twin bed only, which ensures compatibility but limits the styles of bed you can use this for. It is 35″ long and 15″ high, which is perfect for giving your child enough room to climb in and out of their bed.
This does come in a wide range of colours, including purple, navy, blue, grey, white, and pink. This gives your child the opportunity to show off their style or pick from their favourite colours, which might make their transition to a big kid bed easier. The darker colours are also more resistant to getting dirty and staining.
Something to note, however, is that the mesh fabric on the inner panel is white. The manufacturer recommends spot cleaning this with a damp rag as needed for messes and staining.
This toddler bed guard rail comes completely assembled and ready to install, so you don't have to put the bars together or attach the fabric. The edges are rounded to prevent any injury as your child holds onto the rail to get in and out of bed. With the shorter size, your toddler can climb from either the top or bottom of the bed.
With stabiliser bars and a reinforced anchor system, this has a little more safety than those that only work using an anchor. Something to note is that the mattress must be a minimum of 10″ thick for this to work effectively because of how the fabric is positioned on the frame.
- Your child can climb out around either side of the rail
- The stabiliser bar adds an extra level of security
- Comes in a wide range of colours
- Comes completely assembled and ready to install
- Rounded edges to prevent injury
- Fabric is easy to wipe clean
- Only works with twin beds
- Mattress must be at least 10″ thick
Summer Single Fold Safety Bed Rail
The Summer Single Fold Safety Bed Rail is a taller option than others on this list, coming in at 21 inches tall. While that's only an inch or two taller than other models, that extra height makes a big difference for many kids.
This guard rail works by having two safety straps with a T-shaped anchor at the end. Each strap anchors to the opposite side of the bed to keep the rail in place. Because of the design, you'll need a box spring or platform bed to attach this rail. Because of the height, it works well for tall mattresses.
This rail folds down for the easy ins and outs. It also helps when changing the linens, although if you have to strip the bed down to the mattress, it still gets in the way, and you may have to re-anchor it when all is said and done.
The material is safe because it is breathable. The borders are polyester, while the centre is a see-thru mesh. This helps keep the toddler bed rail breathable and safe if your child puts their face against it.
- 21 inches tall, which is taller than others
- Folds down to make climbing in and out of bed easier
- Works with most mattresses
- Can work with platform beds, bunk beds, or regular box springs
- Breathable and safe materials
- No gap between the bottom of the bed guard and mattress top
- Works on both twin and queen beds
- Installation is annoying
- May have to re-anchor after changing sheets
- Doesn't work with some slat-style bed frames
BABY JOY Bed Rail for Toddlers
Want a long toddler bed rail? The BABY JOY Bed Rail for Toddlers is a whopping 69 inches long! Considering that the average twin bed is 75 inches long, this bed rail is long enough to go the whole length of the twin bed (minus the part by the pillow).
No matter what bed type your little one has, this bed rail will work. If you have wooden bed support, you can screw this bumper in. If you have slat support, the t-shaped anchor will hold it in place. And for a traditional box spring, the safety strap is fully adjustable.
There's also an extra safety belt so that the bed rail is anchored in more than one spot for stability and safety.
The bed rail is made from a 210D oxford cloth with an inner layer of PP cotton. Yes, the mesh part has a cutesy design that might bother more fashionable parents, but it will make your child very happy for the short time that they need this product.
Also, the mesh is safe because it promotes air circulation and won't cause a suffocation hazard in the bed.
The best part is that the tubes are all made of powder-coated steel so that they won't snap. The hinges are made from plastic, but we'll let that slide because the push-button folding mechanism is pretty fabulous!
- Extra-long design
- Secure installation with multiple anchor points
- Works for all bed types
- Safe materials and steel rails
- Cute pattern for boys or girls
- Push button to fold down
- Shorter than other rails
- Material is flimsy and has too much give