Toddler bed rails are an important transitional item for your little guy or girl; they help a child who is used to sleeping in a contained crib environment sleep safely on a ‘big bed’, his new twin or toddler sized bed.
Most toddler beds come with rails as part of the package deal, so if you’re buying a new toddler bed for your child you may not need to buy toddler bed rails separately. Check the product listing for the specific bed you’re planning to use. If you are going with a twin bed, though, buying separate bed rails is almost a must. If your toddler rolls out of his toddler bed, he may or may not wake up and cry, but he won’t get very hurt. A twin bed is much higher off the ground, though, and a fall from there can leave your toddler mildly bruised and quite upset.
How many bed rails do you need? It depends on where you want your toddler’s bed to be—if it’s flush against one wall, you only have the open side to contend with and one rail will be perfect. If there’s space on both sides of the bed, though, your toddler won’t be able to sleep safe until you’ve installed two bed rails, one on each side of the bed.
Most toddler bed rails on the market are simple steel-and-mesh rails that can fit onto any normal bed; typically, they are anchored to the mattress or box spring, though other set ups are possible as well.
An example of this type of bed rail is the Regalo Swing Down Bedrail, a white mesh and steel bed rail that fits on the side of your toddler bed and keeps your toddler right where he’s supposed to be all night long. In the morning you use two tabs to ‘swing down’ the bedrail so you can make the bed, and so your toddler can get in and out of his bed easily. The bedrail is twenty inches high; part of this heightwill be taken up by the mattress, but unless you have an extremely puffy pillow mattress you should have plenty of bedrail above the mattress level. The length is 43 inches; not long enough to cover the whole side of a twin bed, but enough for the half of the bed your toddler usually sleeps on. If your little person tend to move around a lot in his bed you may prefer getting an extra long rail like Walso from Regalo. The extra large version is 56 inches long.
If you don’t like big bulky rails and your toddler isn’t quite as intent on rolling out of bed at night as some are, you may want to go with a bumper instead of an actual rail. Something like the Stay Put Big Girl and Boy Bed Semicircle Bed Rail Bumper Pad. These pads are made of urethane foam, and you put them on top of your mattress and underneath your fitted sheet, on both sides of the bed (or, if you have one side against the wall, buy just one and use it on the open side). These bumpers are not for use for children under two, as there is some small risk of suffocation with babies and very young toddlers.
It’s a bit of extra hassle maybe, a bit of extra fuss, but that bed rail on your toddler’s bed will be worth it if both he and you get an uninterrupted night’s rest because of it.