Everything You Should Know About Toddler Bed Rails — and Our Top 5 Picks

published Oct 19, 2022
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acrylic toddler bed rail from pottery barn kids
Credit: Pottery Barn Kids

As a parent, no sound is quite as worrying as the telltale thud that accompanies a little one falling out of bed. Spend any amount of time watching a small child sleep and it’s easy to see how a nighttime fall can happen — kids practically cartwheel through their dreams. 

This is why many parents install bed rails or guardrails once their child has graduated from a crib or toddler bed. Secured to the side of a standard-sized twin bed, a portable guardrail keeps little sleepers from rolling off the mattress while they sleep. 

When Should Parents Install Bed Rails? 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), bed rails are intended only for children over the age of 2 (and typically used through age 5). Additionally, before installing a bed rail, parents and caregivers should ensure their child can climb out of an adult-sized bed independently. If they have too much trouble, consider holding off on a big kid bed and instead using a toddler bed or a toddler floor bed, which is lower to the ground. 

Do Bed Rails Pose Any Safety Concerns? 

In 2012, the CPSC established a new federal standard to tighten safety regulations on children’s bed rails and help minimize the potential for faulty installation and injuries. When securing guard rails to your child’s bed, keep the following safety measures in mind: 

  • Never use bed rails for a child younger than 2 years old, or who cannot get out of an adult-sized bed unassisted. 
  • Bed rails are only intended for standard adult-sized beds. Never use them with toddler beds, youth beds, or inflatable mattresses. 
  • Always use two guardrails. As Consumer Reports notes, always use two guardrails, even if your child’s bed is against a wall. The space between the mattress and the wall can pose a danger. 
  • Check for gaps. Make certain there are no gaps between the rail and the mattress which could entrap and endanger a child. 

Our Top Picks for Children’s Bed Rails

There are plenty of guardrails on the market today, from standard mesh and metal models to chic wooden slats. Even the foam and inflatable options must meet federal safety standards, meaning there are seemingly countless choices to suit your needs and style. Here are five we recommend:

1. Acrylic Universal Guard Rail

Let’s face it: Kids’ bed rails can be bulky, which is why this crystal clear option from Pottery Barn Kids is such a breath of fresh air. Crafted from acrylic, this guard rail fits any standard bed and promises to keep young sleepers in place — without obscuring the view of a cute bedroom. 

2. Summer Double Safety Bed Rail

With sleep-deprived parents in mind, this double mesh bed rail focuses on a quick and easy installation so that you can focus on the big stuff — like getting kids to dreamland.

3. Delta Children Full Size Extra Long Foam Bed Rail

These foam bed rails come in a pack of two and installation is as easy as slipping them beneath a fitted sheet. 

4. Hiccapop Inflatable Bed Rails

Perfect for travel, these inflatable bed rails feature a non-slip silicone pad that ensures the bumpers stay in place. They deflate with the push of a button and fit underneath a fitted sheet. 

5. Regalo Swing Down Bed Rail

Constructed with breathable mesh, this bed rail includes a swing-down feature, allowing your child to tuck it out of the way for daytime play. 

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