The transition from a crib to a toddler bed can be frustrating for parents and children. The National Sleep Institute explains that familiarity is key to a smooth change, and a quality bed that you can trust is equally crucial.
The CDC recommends placing infants on their backs for sleeping. "The gag reflex in an infant is sufficient to prevent strangling even if they regurgitate some," adds Robert Hayden, DC, chiropractor and spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association. He also says that loose bedding and soft toys should be removed from the mattress, and rails should be tall enough to prevent climbing out of the bed if the infant can stand. "Make sure that the mattress is firm and flat," he cautions finally.
Our editors searched the internet for toddler beds, considering the distance from the ground, maximum weight capacity, and age range. Our best overall pick, the West Elm Oeuf Perch Toddler Bed, offers all of this in an aesthetically pleasing design.
Here are our editor-approved toddler beds.
Best Overall: West Elm Oeuf Perch Toddler Bed
Close to the ground
High weight capacity
Protective guards sold separately
This toddler bed from West Elm comes in two different finishes, a light birch and rich walnut, perfect for any bedroom style. The bed is even Greenguard Gold certified which means optimum health and safety. Our editors love that both options have a consistent minimalist design with rounded edges that can help prevent injuries associated with sharp corners. And while the security rail is sold separately, the preexisting three-sided barriers mean that your child can sleep safely through the night without fear of rolling out of bed.
The overall weight capacity is 100 pounds, so your child can get several years' use out of the bed before they'll need to upgrade to something with more space. Best of all, the bed sits close to the ground, allowing them to have autonomy over their bedtime routine. The Oeuf Perch Bed has a higher price point, but the attributes make it worth the investment.
Best Affordable: Dream On Me Classic Design Toddler Bed
Close to the ground
Easy to assemble
Mattress not included
Our top choice for the most affordable toddler bed goes to the Classic Design by brand Dream On Me. Priced below 100 dollars, this option comes in 12 shades of painted wood, meeting ASTM and CPSC standards. And, like our top pick, this bed is Greenguard Gold certified, which means you can rest easy knowing your child is safe. Assembly of this bed can be difficult, but the tools needed to build the bed are included, making the task less daunting.
A downside to the bed is that the maximum suggested weight is 50 pounds, so there's only a short window of time the bed can be used before you'll need to switch to another. With that said, the safety features, such as guard rails, work to make the time your child can use the bed much safer. For the price, this bed is a no-brainer purchase.
Best For Older Children: Pottery Barn Catalina Low Footboard Bed
Great for older children
In-home assembly offered
No safety guards
Higher from the ground
If you'd prefer to purchase a bed for your toddler that they can use for many years as they grow up, choose the Catalina Low Footboard Bed. As the name suggests, this bed sits lower to the ground for easy accessibility for kids of various ages. This short distance from the ground does help make it suitable for toddlers, but if you're hesitant to purchase this bed, a universal guardrail can be attached to the sides, creating a barrier that keeps your young child safe at night.
The beds are made in a fair trade-certified facility and are engineered with solid wood and metal, making them high-quality and sturdy. It also comes in your choice of a twin bed or a full. You'll also find that the weight limit of 300 pounds contributes to the viability of this bed for your child compared to others on this list.
Best Convertible: Crate & Barrel Finn Baby Crib
Greatest age range
Close to the ground
Wouldn't you prefer to buy one bed and be done? The best choice is to purchase an adaptable crib like this option from Crate&Barrel. The Finn Convertable Crib comes in white or sage solid wood, with rails that are replaceable with toddler-ready safety guards. Although you'll have to purchase the guards separately, it balances out with only purchasing one bed instead of a crib and toddler bed down the line.
Another Greenguard Gold Certified option, this classicly designed bed sits low to the ground and has a maximum weight capacity of 50 pounds. It's simple and fits seamlessly in most nurseries and children's rooms.
Best Creative Design: Isabelle & Max Lorimor Twin Platform Bed
Close to the ground
Difficult to assemble
Let their imagination soar in this Lorimor Twin Platform Bed by Isabelle & Max. The home-like structural design is equal parts fun and thematic for a toddler room that works to foster creativity and a feeling of safety. These feelings are amplified if they choose their own sheets.
The frame comes in four shades, so there is bound to be one that fits their bedroom aesthetic. Plus, the maximum weight capacity is 500 pounds as the bed sits directly on the ground. They'll enjoy this bed so much that sleep training will be a breeze.
Best Accident-Proof: Second Story Home Bodhi Toddler Bed
Difficult to assemble
This toddler-friendly bed from Second Story Home is functional, low to the ground, and has rounded corners, making it accident-proof. Each of the six colorways is wrapped in velvet, serving as a cushion and aesthetic-related quality. The material is accented by pale wooden legs that evoke a mid-century modern vibe. And it's worth noting that the bed can fit a standard crib-sized mattress, which creates a smooth transition from your child's current sleeping arrangements.
Best With Storage: SapiensChild Montessori Floor Bed
Close to the ground
Another bed that sits low to the floor is this option from Montessori. Crafted using wood and eco-friendly varnishes, the Floor Bed features adjustable storage at the foot of the bed, making it sturdy and functional.
The corners of this bed are rounded, but the all-wood design might be painful if your child bumps their head against it. Fortunately, some fresh pillows and stuffed animals can remedy that quickly.
The price of this bed is high, but given that it is handcrafted in Canada with impeccable quality, it is justified. Simply swap their crib mattress into this bed after assembly, and you are good to go.
Best Bunk Beds: Ashley Furniture Flannibrook House Loft Bed
Great for older children
Safety guards on upper bunk
High from the ground
Maximum child weight not provided
The Ashley Furniture Flannibrook House Loft Bed is the perfect choice for any parent who needs bunk beds for their toddlers. The bottom bunk sits right on the ground for safe and easy access, while the upper bunk offers safety rails on the side to prevent any accidents from happening. However, the CPSC recommends that children under six years old not use the top bunk.
The design fits two twin mattresses and comes in a black or white frame that resembles a house. Like the bed from Isabell & Max, this design can add to the room's aesthetic, helping to foster creativity and a sense of whimsy.
Best Travel-Ready: hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed with Safety Bumpers
Multiple safety guards
Can lose air with each use
Finding a travel-ready bed for an adult can be difficult, let alone for a toddler. The Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed is one our editors highly recommended, thanks to its ability to inflate quickly and safety guards on all sides of the bed. It has enforced weld seams to help prevent air from escaping, but some reviews note that the mattress doesn't stay inflated. Others will note that it's usable for a few nights before needing more air, so be sure to fully inflate and close the opening securely to get the most out of this mattress.
West Elm's Ouef Perch Toddler Bed is our top pick, thanks to its Greenguard Gold certification, minimalist design, and three-sided barriers. Parents looking for a more affordable toddler bed should check out the Dream On Me Classic Design Toddler Bed. It's budget-friendly, easy to assemble, and it comes in 12 different shades.
What to Look for in Toddler Beds
The aesthetics of the bed is a great place to start, but once you've narrowed down your choices in toddler beds, it is a good idea to look at the maximum weight capacity. The higher the weight limit is, the more likely you are to get a few years out of the bed before looking for another. Most toddler beds will cater to a child between one to four years old, and weights for children in this age range can vary. Look at your child's current weight and how fast they've grown to estimate the time they can have with their new bed. If the model you're looking at can accommodate this, you've found a great bed.
Height From the Ground
If the bed is too high from the ground and has limited safety guards, your child could get hurt if they roll out of bed or simply try to get out of bed. This height can also prevent the child from feeling confident enough to go to sleep on their own. A lower-ground design offers a greater chance of success in switching from a crib to a toddler-friendly bed safely and securely.
While weight is more of a determinant of what bed will work best for your child, age is also worth considering. If you've decided to transition to a toddler bed at a younger age, get a bed that offers more safety and security to keep them safe. If you are okay with waiting until your toddler is older, you can purchase a frame that resembles a traditional bed.
How do you transition from a crib to a toddler bed?
It is best to mimic the environment that the child is accustomed to having. For example, try keeping the bedsheets, bed placement, and other furniture in the child's room the same. The familiarity will keep them from being overly frightened by the shift.
Parents can also opt for a crib that morphs easily into a toddler bed. By simply removing guard rails and gates on the bed, you create the freedom that comes with a regular bed and ensures they feel comfortable where they are sleeping.
The National Sleep Foundation also recommends adopting a rewards system for good behavior. When the child goes to sleep for the night, provide affirmations or small incentives for doing a good job. And, if they happen to get out of bed at night, try using words of encouragement to get them back in bed.
When should a toddler start sleeping in a bed?
Parents should consider transitioning a toddler from a crib to a bed at two-and-a-half to three years old. However, some can begin to transition at 12 to 18 months. Studies have shown that delaying the age that the child moves out of a crib into a more traditional bed can decrease bedtime resistance, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, and increase the time spent asleep.
These results show waiting will allow the child to have optimal sleep quality and practice preferred sleeping habits as they mature.
How long can a child use a toddler bed?
The amount of time a child can use a toddler bed is hard to determine. It depends entirely on the age they've transitioned, their current height, and weight. You'll also want to consider how quickly they grow. A child that swiftly develops might outgrow their bed differently than a child that matures at a slower speed.
The design of the bed you purchase can also determine how long the child can stay in the toddler bed. If the bed is more akin to a traditional bed with the ability to adapt over time, you can probably get away with several years of use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Samantha Parsons wrote this article to include toddler beds that met attributes that contribute to the overall safety of a child during sleep. Hours of research, reading reviews, and analyzing product trends lead her to select the items above, using scientific studies and information provided by The National Sleep Foundation to solidify these choices.
When she is not spending her time writing for The Spruce, Samantha writes for beauty outlets like The/Thirty and works for a beauty brand. She is constantly reading up on the latest product launches and design trends.