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Shopping Guide for Best Toddler Beds

Babies grow up fast, and before you know it, your little one will move from her crib into a toddler bed. It can seem like a big adjustment to make, but if you handle it right, it can be a relatively smooth transition.

One key concern choosing the best toddler bed. As a parent, you want to make the best choices for your child, but it can become overwhelming when you have so many options to pick from. The good news is, you can't go too wrong with a toddler bed, as long as you make sure it's safe. That said, we at BestReviews are here to help you sort the wheat from the chaff.

We test products in our labs, consult experts, examine opinions from existing customers, and analyze piles of data – all so we can aid you in making informed purchasing decisions. What's more, we never accept free products from manufacturers. We buy items off the shelves, just like you do, so you can be sure our reviews are fair and unbiased.

Read on for our full guide to toddler beds. Then, when you're ready to buy, scroll up to see our top five toddler bed recommendations.

In all likelihood, your toddler will use their bed as a play zone as well, so get something that is durable.

Why Do You Need a Toddler Bed?

Toddlers usually outgrow a crib somewhere between 18 and 36 months, once they’re tall and mobile enough to escape from the crib. It's unsafe to let a toddler sleep in a crib once he can do so, as he could fall and injure himself climbing out. However, at this age, a child still isn't big enough to sleep safely in a regular twin bed. Here are some reasons why toddler beds are the perfect interim option.

  • Unlike regular beds, toddler beds have side rails, so it's less likely your child will fall out.

  • Toddler beds are lower to the ground than twin beds, so if your toddler does fall out despite the rails, she's less likely to seriously hurt herself.

  • Most toddler beds have a center leg each side for added stability. This is an excellent design addition since many kids of this age will also play on their beds, or use them as trampolines.

  • Toddler beds sometimes have fun designs that are more likely to get your child excited about sleeping in his new bed.

Kelle
EXPERT CONSULTANT

Kelle is a certified teacher, a leader of multiple children’s organizations, and a mother of two small children. Her professional network of colleagues and extensive knowledge of baby/child-related products makes her a valuable resource here at BestReviews. When she’s not caring for children or studying products, you may find Kelle engaging in watersports and other exercise.


Kelle  |  Teacher and Child Care Professional

Toddler Bed Style Options

Toddler beds come in a range of styles. Some are more geared toward kids – for instance, featuring cartoon characters – whereas others are classic and stylish.

  • Sleigh beds tend to be wooden and have a slatted headboard, footboard, and side rails. This is a simple, yet classic, design that's extremely popular.

  • Vehicle toddler beds take the form of race cars, trains, buses, carriages, and more. If your want your child to get excited about his new bed, these are an excellent option.

  • Toddler day beds have three full sides. Some have a safety rail on the open side, whereas others do not. Those with a safety rail can be slept in like a regular bed, but those without should only be used as a couch.

  • Panel day beds have fixed panels running down half of the longs sides of the bed, instead of slatted side rails. These beds may be made from wood, plywood, fiberboard, or plastic.

  • Convertible toddler beds can be transformed into full size beds one your child has outgrown them (though this usually requires a separate conversion kit, and you'll need a bigger mattress, too).

EXPERT TIP

Check the weight limit before crawling in bed with your toddler. Most toddler beds can't accommodate more than about 50 pounds.


Kelle  | Teacher and Child Care Professional

Toddler Bed Safety Features

Safety Features

Certification

Toddler beds should be certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This proves the bed either meets or exceeds the necessary federal safety standards.

Safety Features

Safety Rails

We've mentioned them above, but it's worth noting again that toddler beds should have side rails – or "safety – to help prevent your child falling out of bed if she rolls around in her sleep.

Safety Features

Construction

A safe toddler bed should be well constructed. Give it a shake to make sure it seems sturdy enough.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Athena Anna Sleigh Toddler Bed

The Athena Anna Sleigh Toddler Bed is JPMA certified, which means it meets or exceeds all U.S. federal safety regulations regarding toddler beds. With its six legs and reinforced mattress slats, this bed feels sturdy and well made, despite being an affordable choice. Customers who bought this bed have stated it's extremely easy to assemble. Reviews also frequently mention that the beds have held up to long and sometimes rough use by kids who like the bed enough to play on it as well as sleep.

Safety Features

Smooth Edges

Look for a toddler bed that has smooth edges and no protruding parts that could hurt your little one.  

Safety Features

Mattress

A well-fitting mattress is essential. If there's a gap between the mattress and the bed frame, your child could get trapped in it.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some toddler beds can be converted into full twin beds when your toddler is old enough, which can be a great money-saver.

Tips for Transitioning to a Toddler Bed

It can be tough to get your toddler to want to sleep in his "big kid bed." Here are a few tips for making that transition.

  • Try to get your little one excited for her new bed by involving her in the selection decision. If she's old enough, let her pick between two or three options on your shortlist.

  • Don't put too much pressure on your child to make the transition. Look for signs he's ready, such as asking to move or trying to climb out of his crib.

  • It's best to position the new bed in the same place the crib stood. Completely changing the room around will cause added stress to what can already be a difficult transition.

  • If your little one has any favorite comfort items, such as blankets or stuffed toys, let her sleep with them in her new bed.

  • Stick to the same bedtime routine as normal to show nothing much has changed apart from the bed.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Metal-framed beds are more likely to have screws that can jiggle loose. Be sure to check them periodically to make sure the bed is sturdy.

Price

Price

$40 to $60

You can find basic toddler beds for as little as $40 to $60. The most inexpensive models tend to be made from plastic. These are unlikely to be as durable as high-end beds.

Most children transition out of their cribs between 18 and 30 months. Sometimes it can be helpful to set up the new bed prior to the transition to get your child excited to grow out of the crib.

Staff
BestReviews
Price

$60 to $100

Mid-range toddler beds cost between about $60 and $100. You can find some excellent beds in the price range that are surprisingly durable and well made for the cost.

Price

$100 to $200

High-end toddler beds cost roughly $100 to $200. You can find a handful of more expensive designer models, but they offer very little added value. In this price range, expect attractive and well-designed beds that are extremely durable and made from high-quality materials.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Orbelle Trading Padded Toddler Bed

The Orbelle Toddler Bed is made of solid, lightweight wood and, according to the manufacturer, can support up to 50 pounds. However, many parents we surveyed said that they are able to lie on the bed with their child with no weight-bearing issues. Parents also noted that the bed withstands typical toddler jumping and rough play without cracking or breaking. Reviews are extremely positive – over 90% of owners give the Orbelle four or five out of five stars. One of our favorite features is the padded headboard and footboard; the quilted fabric provides additional comfort at both ends of the bed.

Toddler Beds FAQ

Q. How can I tell if a toddler bed is JPMA certified?

A. Manufacturers know this is important to parents, so beds with JPMA certification usually show a seal of approval on their packaging, or mention it in the product description when you're shopping online.

Q. Why are toddler beds so low to the ground? Don't the rails stop children falling out?

A. In theory, the side rails should stop your child from falling out of their toddler bed. However, some kids are very active sleepers and manage to fall out occasionally, despite having safety rails in place. Due to the low height of a toddler bed, it's unlikely a child who falls from one will do himself much damage beyond a bit of a bump.

Q. At what age should my child transition from a toddler bed to a twin bed?

A. Most children move from their toddler bed to a twin bed at around age 5 or 6. However, you should check the maximum weight limit on your toddler bed (usually around 50 pounds) and make sure you move your child to a twin bed once he exceeds it.

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If your child pushes back against moving up to a toddler bed, it can be helpful to take your child bed and bedding shopping so they feel like they’ve chosen their sleeping setup.
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