Toddler Beds—The Next Step

Creative people have handcrafted small beds for children throughout history. But toddler beds were not mass-marketed until the last decade of the 20th century. These beds became very popular during the 1990s as a kid-friendly alternative to standard twin or double beds.

The littlest children often like small beds. An adult-sized bed may be too tall for the child to climb in and out of easily. And it may be intimidating to a child who is accustomed to the snug feeling of a crib.

Beds designed specifically for toddlers solve this problem. Your child might be excited to have a "big-kid" bed ... but one that still uses the old familiar crib sheets.

We've never used a toddler bed ourselves. Some parents have told us that the transition out of the crib was made easy when the child was allowed to help pick out the new bed.

Types Of Toddler Beds

These small beds can be made of wood, metal, or plastic. Some come with built-in storage compartments for toys. There are many, many designs available—from simple hardwood beds to "theme" beds. Some of the popular plastic beds are shaped like race cars or castles.

Toddler beds are the same size and shape as a standard crib; you can often continue to use the crib mattress and bedding when your baby moves into his first bed. This feature can help make the transition go smoothly for your child; while the bed is new and special, it still feels and looks familiar.

A convertible crib is a versatile piece of baby furniture that converts from a baby crib to a toddler bed and back again. Many also convert into a daybed or full-size bed, and these can be used into adulthood.

Important Safety Features

Side rails - to prevent your child from rolling out in her sleep.

Low to the ground - so it's easy for your toddler to climb in and out of bed safely.

Strong frame - the bed should support an adult's weight, so that you can sit on the bed to tuck your child in.

The Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) now certifies beds designed for toddlers that meet or exceed voluntary safety standards. JPMA lists Dorel Juvenile Group, Generation 2 Worldwide, and Stork Craft Manufacturing, Inc. as manufacturers with JPMA-certified beds Check out the JPMA certification program website for the most updated list of manufacturers that make JPMA-certified toddler beds.

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