How to Choose the Best Bed Guard for Your Toddler?
Bed guards are designed to keep infants safe from falling out of bed while they sleep, making the transition from a cot to a bed much easier.Also called bed rails, they create the security of a cot yet teach the first steps of independence, enabling toddlers to climb in and out independently while sleeping safely in a grown-up bed. They provide a familiar, secure sleep environment for toddlers while reassuring parents that their little one is tucked up safely in bed.
Choosing the most suitable bed guard for your child's cot bed, single bed, or double bed can be a daunting task. With so many sizes and styles to choose from, making an informed choice will ensure your child's bed guardfits their mattress perfectly and is safe for them to sleep alongside.
When do you need a bed rail?
Bed guards are recommended for toddlers and children between the ages of 18 months to five years old. As your baby naturally progresses, moving from a cot to a bed is inevitable and for some parents, the sudden lack of ‘cot bars’ can seem a bit frightening. Suddenly your child can climb out of bed at any time or topple out of bed while they sleep. Installing a bed guard to an infant’s first bed can take away these fears, enabling toddlers to sleep safer without the risk of falling out of bed, yet providing them with their first steps to independent sleeping.
Although the recommended age for use of a bed rail is 18 months to five years, you may instinctively know when your child is ready to progress from a cot to a bed (with a bed rail fitted). This may be slightly younger or older than the recommended age. The same goes for removing the bed guard —you may choose to remove your child's bed rail before the age of five years or beyond the age of five, depending on when you think they can sleep safely without falling.
What are the different types of bed rails?
Bed rails can be wooden, mesh, or inflatable and come in a range of sizes to suit different beds. They are also available in a range of colours to match home interiors.Take a look at our points below for an insight into the different types of bed rails, to help you choose the best bed rail for your child.
Wooden bed rails
Wooden bed rails provide a contemporary look and feel in any home.They come in a range of great colours including grey, white, and natural wood enabling you to match it to your child's bedroom décor.Pros
- Wooden bed rails for toddlers provide the most solid and sturdy structure for keeping children safe while they sleep.
- They are simple to install and there is no lasting damage to your bed.
- They are compatible with divan beds and slatted beds.
- Wooden bed rails do not fold down.
- They are heavier than mesh bed rails which makes them unsuitable for travelling.
- Wooden bed rails tend to be more expensive than mesh bed rails or inflatable bed rails.
Mesh bed rails
Mesh bed rails are made from a metal outer frame encased in a strong, breathable mesh. These bed rails are lightweight and suitable for home or travel — they even come complete with their own travel bag. For more information, take a look at our guide to using bed guards and safety gates when travelling and our baby safety travel tips.Pros
- Lightweight and versatile, mesh bed guards are easy to move between rooms and easy to transport for holidays or nights with the grandparents.
- These bed rails fold down to an angle of 90 degrees enabling you to access the bed with ease.
- Mesh bed rails are compatible with divan beds and slatted beds.
- They do not fold down fully. However, as they still fold down to an angle of 90 degrees, this shouldn't be an issue.
Inflatable bed rails
Inflatable bed rails (or ‘bumpers’) are lightweight and space-saving, making them ideal for holidays. Simply pack them into the car or in your suitcase.Pros
- Inflatable bed rails are simple to fit and easy to transport.
- They are versatile and can be used in the home or away.
- Their slim design means they simply fit under the bedsheet once inflated.
- Many come complete with a carry bag for ease of transportation.
- While great for travel, inflatable bed guards are not a good permanent option. They may deflate over time, which means you'll need to keep reinflating yours if you'll be using it every night.
How do I choose the best bed guard?
There is no one ‘best bed guard’, however some bed rails are more compatible with different styles of beds than others.There are several things to consider when choosing a toddler bed rail. Below, we'll go through the decision process step by step, to help you find the right bed guard for your toddler's bed.
The size of the mattress
Size is the most important factor to consider when choosing the right bed guard for your little one's bed. For safety reasons, when you install a bed rail you will need to ensure there is a gap of 25cm between the bed frame and bed rail at each end of the bed.There should also be a minimum of 16cm from the top of the mattress to the top of the bed rail. This gives them enough space to climb in and out of bed when they want to, but will also provide enough protection to stop them rolling out in their sleep.
To ensure that you're buying the right size bed guard for your toddler's bed, you'll first need to measure their mattress.
- Measure the length and height of your child’s bed.
- Remove 50cm from the length of the mattress. This will ensure you can achieve a 25cm gap at either end of the bed rail once installed. For example, if your mattress measures 150cm, you'll need a rail of no more than 100cm.
- Add 16cm or more to the height of your mattress, depending on how tall you'd like the bed rail to be. This will ensure your bed rail has a minimum of 16cm above the mattress. For example, if your mattress measures a depth of 20cm, you will need a bed rail that has a minimum height of 36cm.
If you have a deep mattress, you will need anextra tall bed guard which ensures that the bed rail covers a greater height above the mattress. If you have a long mattress, you will need anextra wide bed guard. This will ensure you still meet the minimum safe height and length for bed rails.
What is the best bed rail for a double, queen, or king-size bed?
Although many wooden bed rails and mesh bed rails are compatible with double, queen, and king-sized beds, extra wide and extra tall bed rails are most suitable.Large bed guards are generally longer, covering a greater length of the bed, and taller, reaching a greater height above the mattress.It is advised that you measure the depth of your mattress using the steps above to establish the compatibility of a bed guard with your type of bed before ordering.
The Safetots Extra Tall Extra Wide Mesh Bed Rail or Safetots Extra Wide Wooden Bed Railwould be most suited for use on a double bed.These are designed with additional height and length to ensure children are safe in adult beds.
What is the best bed guard for a cot bed?
There are several bed guards that will work with a cot bed. However, you'll need to bear the size in mind. Toddler and cot bed mattresses tend to be a little shorter than standard sized beds, which means a narrow bed rail is needed to achieve a gap of 25cm at either end. Here at Safetots, you can use our handy filter to find the best bed guard for your cot bed. You can then measure your toddler's mattress using the advice above to find a bed rail that is compatible.
The Safetots Narrow Mesh Bed Rail is smaller and more lightweight than a wooden model, making it the best bed guard for a cot bed.This bed railis available in a range of colours, including white, natural, and grey to match your home interiors and toddler’s bedroom.The Safetots Narrow Wooden Bed Rail would also be suitable for a cot bed.
The style of your child's bed
Another factor you may want to think about is if the bed rail is compatible with your child's style of bed. Not all bed rails are compatible with sunken beds, as there may not be sufficient space between the mattress and the bed frame to squeeze the bed guard.You should be able to find this information in the bed rail's product description.
What is the best bed rail for a bed with a slatted base?
Most mesh bed rails and wooden bed rails are compatible with slatted beds. Bed rails have a large base frame that simply slips beneath the mattress. Some toddler bed guards have additional straps that slide under the mattress to secure the bed rail further.
It’s important to install the base of the bed rail along the wooden slats and not in the gaps, to ensure the bed rail is safe for use. Always test the bed rail for stability before allowing your child to sleep alongside it. The Safetots range of wooden bed rails will come with fittings to secure the bed rail to the wooden straps
What is the best bed rail for a bed with a sunken mattress?
If you have a sunken mattress, it’s important to choose a bed rail without bulky hinges which may prevent the bed rail from fitting between the mattress and the bed frame.The Safetots range of mesh bed rails have the fold down hinges sufficiently above the base of the bed rail to resolve this issue.
The position of your child's bed
Ideally, your toddler's bed should sit with one side against the wall for extra security. You'll then only need to buy one bed rail for the open side. However, if placing their bed against a wall is not an option and you need to put it in the middle of the room, you may need to invest in two bed rails to sit on either side of the bed. We have a selection of double bed rails suited to this purpose.
How you'll use the bed rail
How you will use the bed rail can also influence what kind of guard you purchase. If you'll need to take the bed rail to the grandparents' house, you may want to consider a mesh bed rail as opposed to a wooden bed rail, as these are easier to transport.
You may also want to think about the folding mechanism of your chosen bed guard. Mesh bed rails fold down at a 90-degree angle, which makes it easy for your child to get in and out of bed. This is also useful if you want to climb in with them to read a bedtime story, as well as for changing their sheets. Wooden bed guards do not fold down.
What is the best bed rail for co-sleeping?
If you're co-sleeping with your little one, then you'll want to make your bed safer for them to be in during the night. This means you'll need to find a bed rail that is suitable for the size and style of your bed, as well as your needs. For example, a mesh bed rail may be best for co-sleeping, as you can easily fold the sides down to allow yourself and your partner to climb into bed.
Where can I buy bed rails?
Bed rails can be purchased from mostchild safety retailers.AtSafetotswe stock a wide range of mesh bed rails and wooden bed rails suitable for children aged 18 months to five years.Take a look at our selection of bed guards and use theSafetots bed rail finderto narrow down your search.
How much is a bed rail?
Bed guards vary in price depending on the material and quality.Wooden bed guards tend to be a slightly higher price than mesh bed guards.Inflatable bed guards are the cheapest option.However, these guards aren't the best solution if you'll be using your bed rail every night. They are not considered as safe as wooden or mesh bed rails should a child squash their face against the bumper, so it's worth paying slightly more for a longer-lasting option.
Installing your bed rail
Bed guards are ideal temporary solutions for keeping your child safe while they sleep. Installing a bed rail may require attaching a strap on the other side of the mattress to secure the rail in place, or simply inserting a bracket into the base or slats of a bed. Either solution is very quick and simple which makes them incredibly easy to fit.
A bed rail folds out to a 90-degree angle and the base frame simply slides beneath the mattress.Some bed rails have additional straps which slip beneath the mattress for further security or brackets which can secure the guard to the bed base.
It is important upon installing a bed rail that you check the stability before allowing you child to sleep alongside it. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before and during installation to make sure you're fixing your chosen bed guard correctly.
Can I install a bed rail on a bunk bed?
We never suggest using a bed rail on a bunk bed, either on the upper level or lower level. This is because there is a risk of falling from the top bunk. Children may also be able to climb a bed guard on the lower bunk which can compromise the security of the fixings.
Can I install a bed rail at the foot of the bed?
No! It is not advised that you install a bed rail to the foot or head of the bed.Bed guards should be installed across the sides of a bed only.
Safetots are leading suppliers of child safety devices. We source our products from renowned manufacturers like BabyDan, as well as stocking our own range of Safetots bed rails, which means you needn’t worry about quality, functionality, or durability.
Our bed rails are available in a variety of different styles, models, and materials, including mesh and wooden bed rails, so you can find the best bed rail for your toddler's bed. We also have a selection of extra wide bed rails for larger beds and double bed rail sets for either side of the bed. Our handy bed rail finder will help you filter our products by suitability, but if you would like further advice on selecting the most suitable bed rail, please feel free to contact us today.