The 9 Best Toddler Beds, According to Parents and Experts
Purchasing a toddler bed can seem like a waste of money, since it will be used for such a relatively short period, but here at Cubby, we are firm believers that these pint-sized beds fill a specific niche in family homes. Yes, a child uses a toddler bed for just a few years, but today, many cribs easily convert to a toddler bed (often with the help of a conversion kit), so it’s an easy choice to make. But even if you do need to purchase one new, a toddler bed saves so much floor space that it is a worthwhile investment.
Small-space expert Alison Mazurek, a mom of two and the author of the blog 600 Sq Ft and a Baby, sees the toddler bed as a way to give you time before making big changes to your home.“Transitioning to a toddler bed instead of a twin bed could buy you another year in your small space. Or it could buy you time before transitioning both kids into a bunk bed, an investment that should carry you for years,” she says. Even if you do have tons of space, Mazurek says, “Why have more bed than you need when kids need room to play?”
Jessica Hartshorn, a mom of two and longtime product reviewer in the baby and toddler space, says that a toddler bed can also be a great way to help incentivize big-kid behavior like going to the potty or not waking parents up in the morning. “Changing to a toddler bed helps convince them that this bed is different from their crib—and, that along with that comes different behaviors,” she says.
To find the best toddler beds on the market today, I spoke to Mazurek, Hartshorn and other experts to get in-depth advice about purchasing a toddler bed–plus, nine experts’ favorite beds. As with all of our Cubby buying guides, this guide will give the confidence to make a purchase that will last through the toddler years and beyond.
Is a toddler bed worth buying?
“I would absolutely recommend toddler beds, if space is limited and especially in homes with kids close in age that might be sharing a room,” says Shamika Lynch, the designer behind Maximizing Tiny Interiors and a mom of two. Less bed = more play space. However, if square footage is not an issue, you may be tempted to jump straight to a big-kid bed, but the transition from crib to twin is pretty dramatic, so a toddler bed is also a good choice to help kids adjust to the change.
What is the right age for a toddler bed?
A toddler is usually defined as a child between the ages of 1 and 3, but that doesn’t mean a one year old is ready for a toddler bed or that a child must stop using their toddler bed at age 3. Generally speaking, a child will be ready for a toddler bed between the ages of 1 1/2 and 3. Parents often make the transition when a child starts climbing out of their crib or when they begin potty training and want their child to be able to get to the bathroom independently. Kids can use a toddler bed as long as they are comfortable in it – sometimes into their early grade school years.
What should I look for in a toddler bed?
Lynch says to look for beds that are low to the ground, “easy for littles to climb into,” and have a side rail. Hartshorn specifically recommends a removable rail that you can use when your child is younger, but remove as they get older.
She adds to read reviews carefully to make sure that a bed is not impossible to assemble or have other issues. It’s also always a good idea to look for no-VOC finishes and Greenguard certification, which ensures low chemical emissions. Emma Beryl, a mom and interior designer based in New York and New Orleans, shared her hack for materials safety standards with Cubby: Enter a California shipping address: The state’s rigorous emissions laws will help prevent you from ordering anything that is questionable.
What style of toddler bed is best?
There are fewer choices of toddler beds than cribs or single beds, so your options are more limited, but it’s best to choose a simple design anyway. All the experts we spoke to recommended avoiding overly baby-ish beds because the kid might outgrow the style before he or she physically outgrows the bed, and it will be harder to sell or giveaway at the end of its useful life in your household.
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