Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Around the age of two, a baby cot should be replaced by a toddler bed. But between standard, junior, cabin, mid sleeper or even loft beds, the choice can be overwhelming! Whether you're looking for a short or long term solution, or a minimalist or decorative model, read on to the right toddler bed for your little one.
- Standard size
- Guard rails
Key criteria for choosing a toddler bed
Toddler beds: dimensions and safety
Toddler beds are used to make the transition from a baby cot to a full-size bed. This kind of bed is suitable for children between the ages of 2 and 6.
A toddler bed measuring 70 x 140 cm is recommended as the first bed to follow a cot. These beds are specifically designed for young children aged between 18 and 24 months. This is also the standard size of convertible baby beds when they are extended to their full sleeping surface.
In addition to being smaller than a standard bed, toddler beds feature safety rails on the sides and at the foot and head of the bed, so they can be placed anywhere in the room. Depending on the model, bed rails can sometimes be removed in stages in order to make the transition to a freely accessible bed gradually.
So what are the benefits of an intermediate toddler bed? These beds are designed to be lower, allowing young children to get in and out on their own and limiting the risk of accidents.
Another intermediate bed size for children is a junior bed, which measures around 70 x 160 cm. Perfectly sized for a child, this type of bed provides the safety aspects of a cot while offering more space to stretch out comfortably. However, when it starts getting too small, it must be replaced with a standard single bed.
Useful tip: this type of bed can be a good investment if you have several children as your youngest child's beds can also be used by your second or third child.
Toddler beds: choosing a material
Unfinished wood is the best material for toddler beds. That said, high-density fibreboard (HDF) is also considered a high-quality material, provided that it has not been treated with chemicals.
As always, beware of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when shopping for children. Just look at product labels to check the amount of VOCs. If this isn't marked on the product, you can check the types of paint used: ideally, this should be a water-based paint without any varnish or other chemicals.
Instead a solid bed base with holes, opt for a toddler bed with a slatted base. This provides better mattress ventilation.
Please note: always remember to air the room for at least 15 minutes every morning.
Criteria for choosing a toddler bed
70 x 140 cm or 70 x 160 cm
Wood or HDF
Acrylic or water-based paint
Solid safety rails
Side rail with opening
Slatted bed base
10 to 13 cm thick
Not treated with biocides
Children's bedrooms: from cabin beds to loft beds
Basic toddler bed (70 x 140)
This type of bed is one of the best options when transitioning from a cot bed (second only to a convertible bed). It helps children to gain independence while also guaranteeing their safety.
The sides of a transitional bed generally have access points in the side so that children can get in and out of the bed on their own.
In order to save space, these beds are usually equipped with a drawer beneath the bed base that can be used for storingsheets, summer and winter duvets and other items. Some drawers can even be used with a full-sized bed later on.
House beds are currently really popular with young boys and girls. They come in various sizes with the smallest measuring around 70 x 140 cm. They usually feature a miniature pine structure which is placed over the bed area.
The lightweight upper structure can be used for hanging voile, curtains or decorations such as fairy lights.
Children love these beds because they give them a place to relax, play and hide.
The come in various shapes, such as:
- house with an open roof;
- house with a solid roof;
Boat beds feature raised edges at the head and feet. The sturdy frame of these beds is usually made of solid wood and helps to keep children safe from bedtime tumbles thanks to the presence of with low rails along the sides.
Boat beds for children combine safety with an ocean theme or even vintage-inspired style.
Ensure you choose the right size for your children based on age and the amount of free space in the room.
Cabin or loft beds
Cabin beds come with a mini ladder that goes up to the sleeping area. They also come in a range of different heights.
A true symbol of independence for many children, these beds can incorporate a small desk, drawers or compartments or even a bookshelf.
Due to safety issues, loft beds are only suitable for children aged 6 or older.
Toddler beds: preventing falls
Just like the loft beds, beds with safety rails, gates or walls do not need any additional safety accessories.
Toddler beds are usually 50 cm high, compared to 90 cm for a standard single bed. As such, we don't recommend adding a step stool, which might cause your little ones to take a tumble.
When transitioning from a cot with safety rails to an older child's bed (single bed without any rails), many parents worry about the risk of falls. While it is extremely rare, put your mind at ease by placing the bed against a wall and adding a removable safety bed rail. A fabric or nylon 'barrier' equipped with a flat metal arm is slid under the mattress (without raising it) in order to maximise safety.
Finally, get extra peace of mind by putting a low chair bed on the side of the bed opening!
The best time to switch from a baby cot to a toddler bed
Here are some signs that it's time to replace your child's first bed with a bigger bed:
- older baby is climbing up the cot rails;
- toddler wants to do more things on their own;
- they sleep poorly due to feeling cramped in bed;
- bedtimes have become challenging.
At the same time, some parents do not want to purchase a series of different beds and so go directly to a larger bed measuring 90 x 180 cm (or 90 x 200 cm). This is possible if certain safety measures are taken:
- tuck your child into the bed;
- use a duvet cover with zip;
- add removable bed rails;
- start the transition by placing cushions or pillows on the floor;
- ask your child to call you before getting out of bed until they are used to it.
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 89 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.