From Baby to Toddler: What you Need to Know About Toddler Beds

Wondering whether it's time to ditch the crib and move your tot into a toddler bed? Let safety be your guide. In general, you should transition your child into roomier digs before he can crawl out of his crib and possibly injure himself. To help your child—and you—adjust to this significant milestone, we rounded up some of our favorite toddler beds, mattresses, bed rails, mattress pads and protectors, and bedding.

Toddler Beds: Make an Easy Transition

Whether you're counting the days until you can ditch the crib, or savoring every last night your little one's freedom is "limited," shopping for a "big kid" bed can be stressful. Sizes such as twin and full, tend to be pretty standard when it comes to toddler beds. After seeing your (once itty-bitty) toddler in that crib space for so long, a standard-size twin bed may suddenly look more like a California King once your child cuddles into the covers. Compromise with the toddler bed, which is the same size as a standard crib and comes equipped with guard rails for safety. Materials for toddler beds range from solid wood and metal to upholstered and plastic. Be sure to keep toddler bed safety top of mind when finding the perfect kids furniture. Choose one that's sturdy, low to the ground, can easily be fitted with guard rails, and is free of cutouts or protrusions.

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Mattresses: Sizes & Types for Every Tot

Beyond the bedframe and bedtime routine, a properly fitted and comfortable kid mattress is a must for little sleepers. Like beds and bed frame sizes, the mattress sizes and types can vary widely. If you choose to transition to a toddler bed, you can get a little more life out of the crib mattress, though we can't guarantee converting it will be quick and easy. With a twin-sized bed or larger, you'll need to purchase a properly-fitted mattress. From innerspring to latex and memory foam to organic, there are options to suit all budgets and preferences. To help narrow the options and get everyone involved, consider bringing your child toddler bed and mattress shopping to try out the different types. Who knows? He may show a strong preference for one over the others. No matter what size or type of mattress you and your little one pick as perfect for sweet dreams, check that it complies with flammability standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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Conversation Rails: Safety for Tots & Peace of Mind for Parents

Your child is all ready to go with their brand new bed and snug mattress. Next, make sure to install bed rails, so your little snoozer doesn't experience a rude awakening in the middle of the night by rolling off the mattress and injuring themselves. Bed rails, or conversion rails as some call them, attach to either side of the bed frame and help form a barrier between your child and the floor below. Bed rails are sold as part of a conversion kit and are an inexpensive way to turn your current crib into a toddler bed. They're also a must when your child is moving out of the crib and into a "big kid" bed. You can pick up a standard set of rails, or consider investing in a pair of inflatable safety bed rails, which are especially useful while traveling or for storing at grandma's house. Regardless of the type of bed rail you use, always follow the manufacturer's instructions during installation, and check the rails regularly to ensure they fit tightly and leave no gaps between the mattress and rail.

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Mattress Pads & Toppers: Extend the Life of Your Toddler's Bedding

If you're investing in a twin- or full-sized mattress for your kiddo, consider shopping for a companion mattress pad. This extra layer of cushion won't just make a bed feel extra soft and cozy; it will also offer extra back support and even help extend the life of the mattress. As most new parents can attest, babies, toddlers, and accidents go hand-in-hand whether they are donning diapers, in the midst of potty training, or know their way around the restroom well. Instead of sweating the stains and mess, cover the mattress with a thin, soft mattress protector, which prevents leaks from seeping through to the mattress and also offers a little extra cushioning during sleep. Vinyl covers are another option, as they provide a near-impermeable barrier between accidents and the mattress. In addition to providing extra comfort and peace of mind, mattress pads and protectors can help prevent allergens such as dirt, dander, and dust from entering the mattress, which makes allergy sufferers very happy. Your kiddo's bedroom should be a place that not only fits their style but also keeps them safe and fosters a positive sleep environment. Make sure to keep mattresses clean, smell-free, and healthy for little heads to rest.

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Toddler Bedding: Must-Have Styles for Your Child's Slumber

Moving from a snug and cozy crib and into a toddler or adult-sized bed can be intimidating for some children. One way to get them excited about the transition—and encourage them to stay in bed a little longer—is to let them pick out their new toddler bedding. While your little one makes the final decision between superhero and zoo-themed toddler bedding you can zero in on the finer details. Check thread count and look for anything between 200 and 800, which is generally considered good-quality. Look for washable, breathable fabrics, like cotton, which will prevent your kiddo from overheating at night. Cotton is also a good choice for children with sensitive skin. If your child is indifferent to the pattern or simply can't decide, consider choosing sheets in neutral, go-with-anything colors that will keep up with a youngster's evolving taste and style. Bed covers can range from simple blankets and throws to more deluxe duvet covers. Choose one that your kiddo likes, but also encourage one that fits your laundering style. For the ultimate in ease and coordination, look for all-in-one bedding sets, which typically provide matching fitted and flat sheets, pillowcases, and a cover.

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