Once little ones are ready to make the transition from a crib to a toddler bed, installing a toddler bed rail can help keep your little one from rolling out of bed in the middle of the night.
There are several styles of bed rails, including swing down bed rails, fixed toddler bed rails, and bumper-style bed rails. Each has their advantages.
In this article, we’ll review some of the best toddler bed rails and help you decide which style is going to work best for you and your little one.
|Best Toddler Bed Rail||Why It's Best||Mom Rating|
|Regalo Swing Down Double Sided Bed Rail Guard||This popular bed rail swings down to make getting in and out of the bed easier for your toddler||♥♥♥♥♥|
|hiccapop Toddler Bed Rail Bumper||Uses soft and snuggly passive safety protection to keep your child in the bed||♥♥♥♥♥|
|TotCraft Toddler Bed Rail Guard||This option works well with any mattress support system, including box springs or wooden slats||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Regalo Swing Down 54-Inch Extra Long Bed Rail Guard||The reinforced anchor safety system will keep your kiddo safe even in a bigger bed like a twin or queen||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Regalo Swing Down Crib Rail||This crib rail makes the transition from crib to toddler bed easy||♥♥♥♥♥|
Best Toddler Bed Rails
Regalo Swing Down Double Sided Bed Rail Guard
The Regalo Swing Down Double Sided Bed Rail Guard with Reinforced Anchor Safety System features a swing-down feature that makes it easier for your child to climb in and out of bed. It also makes changing their bed sheets a breeze.
This is a set of two toddler bed rails that are 43″ long and 20″ tall each, being perfectly sized to keep your child from falling out of bed, but still letting them move around the rails. It is designed for use with a twin or queen-sized bed that has a bed and box spring.
The rail itself is made from a steel frame and mesh panel. The mesh panel and fabric are white, however, the fabric does clean fairly easily.
One of the nice things about the Regalo bed rail is that it doesn’t require any tools for installation. It is lightweight and easy to secure using the included anchor strap. Your child could even take it with them for sleepovers or when the family goes on vacation. Since all you need is a mattress and box spring for this to work, there is a wide range of compatibility with beds of all sizes.
A nice safety feature that comes with this is Regalo’s GapGuard technology, which secures tight against the mattress and prevents gaps that could be dangerous to a sleeping toddler.
Something to note is that the bed rail swings outward to fold down and out of the way. This means you’ll want to be sure all toys and other objects are away from the bed at night so they don’t get in the way of your child getting up.
- Lightweight design
- Incredibly easy to install
- Wide range of compatibility
- Swings down and out of the way
- GapGuard technology keeps your child safe
- Comes with two rails for each side of the bed
- Swings outward instead of straight down
- White mesh might stain
Hiccapop Toddler Bed Rail Bumper
The Hiccapop [1-Pack] Toddler Bed Rail Bumper is made from CertiPUR-US foam that has been tested and found to be free of harmful contaminants including CFCs, phthalates, heavy metals, lead, flame retardants, and more. The foam is then wrapped in a cover that is water-resistant and machine washable, which makes it significantly easier to clean than some other bed rails. It also resists absorbing liquid if your child has an accident.
Bed rail bumpers like these sit lower than traditional bed rails because they are modeled after the ‘Passive Safety Protection’ idea from the University of Standard. As your child rolls into the bumper at night, it teaches them to be aware of possible danger. Often, this is enough for their body to wake them up or allow them to readjust while sleeping.
Another nice feature of this is silicone beaded non-skid fabric, which helps hold the bumper in place. This stops it from sliding around under the sheet. The entire bumper is 52″ long and 4.5″ tall. It is recommended for use in toddler, twin, full, queen, and king-sized beds and should not be used on loft beds or top bunks.
To make this work, you’ll need a deep-fitted sheet set that fits the bed and can be tucked around the edges, ensuring security and that everything stays in place.
Even though there are grips, parents should note that some active sleepers might get them off the bed. For the best fit, you might need to choose a different sheet that helps hold it in place.
This does sit significantly lower than a traditional bed rail, however, it has been rigorously tested and proven to sleep for most toddlers. For active sleepers, it’s nice because the Hiccapop toddler bed rail is significantly softer than the traditional bed rail. Parents worried about how this will work will appreciate that this comes with a lifetime guarantee, which makes it easier to return if it is not a good fit for your child.
- Made of CertiPUR-US foam free of chemicals
- Passive Safety Protection alerts your child to danger while they sleep
- Works with almost any bed
- Anti-skid grips to help hold in place
- Water-resistant and machine washable cover
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Might slip off the bed if the sheet does not fit well or your child is too active
TotCraft Toddler Bed Rail Guard
The TotCraft Toddler Bed Rail Guard for Kids is designed to work with any bed with a wooden base, box spring, or other slats. It tucks in between the slats and the mattress and is approved for use with cribs and several sizes of beds. Like the Regalo toddler bed rail, it folds down and out of the way.
For parents worried about staining, this comes in gray or white. Additionally, the fabric easily removes from the bed frame and is machine washable, which means easy cleaning.
The wide range of compatibility comes from the types of hardware included. You’ll choose how to install based on the style of bed frame your toddler bed has. It can be installed using screws, with the anchor system under wooden slats, or with the included Velcro. The different methods for installation are addressed in an easy-to-follow video. This lets you feel confident that the rail has been installed safely.
This is shorter, which makes it good for toddler beds. If your child doesn’t want to swing it down during the night, they’ll easily be able to climb out the gaps on the sides instead. It is 35.5″ long and 19.5″ tall and made from metal rods and a mesh panel that are certified as being free from any harmful substances.
Something to note is that the 19.5″ measurement includes the part that is against the bed. If you have an especially deep mattress, then it is going to have less clearance. For example, a 15″ deep mattress is only going to make the bed rail sit 4.5″ above the mattress.
- Works with a wide range of bases
- Different hardware included
- Easy to install with the help of the video
- Shorter in length for toddler beds or so your child can climb around it
- Fabric is machine washable
- Comes in white or gray
- Height depends on the overall height of the mattress
- Swings down and outward, so needs a clear path
Regalo Swing Down 54-Inch Extra Long Bed Rail Guard
The Regalo Swing Down 54-Inch Extra Long Bed Rail Guard with Reinforced Anchor Safety System is designed to work with larger sized beds instead of toddler beds, since the average length of a toddler bed is 54-inches. It swings down and out of the way when not in use, which makes it easier for your toddler to climb in and out of bed.
This bed rail for toddlers is 20″ tall and can be installed without any tools on a bed that has a mattress and box spring. The manufacturer recommends this be used with twin-sized or queen-sized beds only because of its length. Once up, the railing locks into place so it withstands the weight of your child pressing against it while they are sleeping if they roll toward the edge of the bed.
For parents worried about keeping the frame clean, this has a machine washable fabric that stretches over the steel frame. The mesh design also allows good breathability through the whole bed. Like the other Regalo bed rail, this comes with GapGuard technology that keeps the mattress and rail close to each other, preventing gaps and entrapment. Additionally, it is easy to install and you do not need any tools.
Something to note is that this might not be a good choice if your child is going to climb over the railing instead of around it or folding it down. The top bar can bend if your toddler puts all their weight on it.
- Can be installed without tool
- Extra-long design to protect active sleepers
- Machine washable fabrics
- GapGuard technology to prevent entrapment
- Good breathability
- Swings down out of the way
- Top bar can bend if your child puts weight on it
- Only works with twin or queen beds
Hiccapop Convertible Crib Toddler Bed Rail Guard
The Hiccapop Convertible Crib Toddler Bed Rail Guard with Reinforced Anchor Safety has the major advantage of having steel clamps that hook onto the bed frame, which is nice for parents looking for something sturdier than just an anchor system. It also has an anchor system that keeps the bed rail for toddlers securely in place and prevents gaps.
The crib rail frame is made from hardened steel and the fabric is heavy duty and designed to resist tears and fraying. It can be installed in minutes and can be used for most major brands, excluding IKEA.
Like many others, it folds down and out of the way so you’ll want to be sure there’s a clear path at your child’s bed at night. However, the convenience factor makes it easy for things like sitting on your child’s bed to tell them a story or changing their sheets.
This bed frame is available in white or gray, which is a good choice if you are worried about staining. The mesh design allows good breathability through the bed as well. Since this is only 33″ wide, it is perfect for letting your child climb out either side of the bed. They don’t have to worry about folding the bed down themselves.
Another nice feature of this bed frame is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee for use. It’s always nice to buy from a company that stands behind their products.
While the way this attaches to the bed frame makes it more secure than many other rails, something to note is that there are two steel bars that run under the mattress. If your child has a thinner mattress, they might be uncomfortable sleeping on top of them.
- Added level of security because of how this attaches to the bed frame
- Folds down and out of the way
- Available in white or gray
- Fabrics are machine washable
- Good level of breathability
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Shorter size so your child can climb around either side of the railing
- Steel bars can be uncomfortable under thinner mattresses
Dream On Me Mesh Security Rail
The Dream On Me Mesh Security Rail is designed to work with a twin bed only, which ensures compatibility but limits the styles of bed you can use this for. Its is 35″ long and 15″ high, which is perfect for giving your child enough room to climb in and out of their bed.
This does come in a wide range of colors including purple, navy, blue, gray, white, and pink. This gives your child the opportunity to show off their style or pick from their favorite colors, which might make their transition to a big kid bed easier. The darker colors are also more resistant to getting dirty and staining.
Something to note, however, is that the mesh fabric on the inner panel is white. The manufacturer recommends spot cleaning this with a damp rag as needed for messes and staining.
This toddler bed rail comes completely assembled and ready to install so you don’t have to put the bars together or attach the fabric. The edges are rounded to prevent any injury as your child holds onto the rail to get in and out of bed. With the shorter size, your toddler can climb from either the top or bottom of the bed.
With a stabilizer bars and a reinforced anchor system, this has a little more safety than those that only work using an anchor. Something to note is that the mattress must be a minimum of 10″ thick for this to work effectively because of how the fabric is positioned on the frame.
- Your child can climb out around either side of the rail
- Stabilizer bar adds an extra level of security
- Comes in a wide range of colors
- Comes completely assembled and ready to install
- Rounded edges to prevent injury
- Fabric is easy to wipe clean
- Only works with twin beds
- Mattress must be at least 10″ thick
Buying Criteria for Toddler Bed Rails
Types of Toddler Bed Rails
There are several styles of bed rail that will work for toddlers, each of them having their advantages. The most common styles of toddler bed rails include:
- Swing down toddler rails- Swing down toddler rails stay in an upright position at night so your child doesn’t fall out of bed. Then, they fold down and out of the way during the day. Not only does this help your child climb in and out of their bed as they choose, but you can also swing the rail out of the way so you can make their bed more easily. Some even tuck away under the bed completely, which is a nice feature if you are worried about how the rails look when they’re not in use. If you choose one of these, you’ll want to be sure there’s no areas where your child is going to pinch their fingers when it’s being moved around.
- Fixed toddler bed rails- The fixed rails are a good option if you don’t mind the rail staying up. There is usually a gap at the top and/or bottom where your child can climb out of bed. These use less hardware than swing down toddler bed options. However, they are not as nice to look at and it can be harder to make the bed around this type of bed railing.
- Toddler bed bumpers- Bumpers are a great choice when you don’t want to install a permanent bed rail or if you are looking for something for sleepovers or traveling. They don’t require any type of installation. All you do is position the bumper underneath a fitted sheet and the sheet holds it in place. It works like a speed bump by preventing your child from rolling out of bed in the middle of the night.
One Rail or Two Rails?
Toddler bed rails may be sold as a single rail or as part of a set.
A set of bed rails is ideal for a bed that is in the middle of the room and requires protection on both sides.
Many parents choose to have their toddler’s bed against a wall simply because it improves the amount of space in their room. Additionally, you’ll only need to put one bed railing up, which can be more cost-effective and less time-consuming.
However, if your child is an active sleeper, you may find they push the bed away from the wall while sleeping. If this happens, you may want a second railing even if their bed is up against the wall.
One of the biggest factors that is going to affect the compatibility of a bed rail is the overall length.
Toddler beds are usually around 52″ long, however, this can vary depending on the brand and style of bed. Some parents choose to switch to a twin-sized bed or a bunk bed instead of a toddler bed, especially if they want to get more use out of it. One of the first things you should do when shopping for bed rails, therefore, is get an accurate measurement of your child’s toddler bed.
The overall length of the toddler bed bumper or rail depends on which style you are buying. For example, fixed toddler bed rails are generally shorter than the other options because they don’t swing down and are not easy to climb over.
For some styles of beds (like pillowtops), you’ll also want to take the overall height of the bed into account. Thicker mattresses may require a higher bed rail to protect your toddler.
In addition to the size of the mattress and bed frame, you’ll want to consider the style of bed frame and how easy or difficult it is to attach the bed to the rail.
If you are trying to choose a stationary or swing down rail, you might find that some styles of bed frames are only compatible with certain brands. One of the advantages of the bumper bed rails is that there is no installation. If you cannot find a good fit, this might be the best option.
It is very important that you follow manufacturer recommendations about installing bed rails. Once installed, you’ll want to make sure the rail is close enough to the bed frame that there aren’t any gaps your child can fall down into. You also want to make sure the hardware is not going to pinch them, especially if you have chosen the swing down style of bed rails.
Safety and Design
The most important thing when it comes to design is the overall safety of the toddler bed rails. It’s important that the design of your toddler’s bed rail is compatible with the length and style of the bed frame.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider the overall softness of the bed rail. Some toddlers are active sleepers. They might flail around when sleeping, roll a lot, and even end up at the opposite side of the bed. If they are swinging their arms or kicking in their sleep, you want to choose a bed rail that is soft enough it’s not going to hurt them when they move around in their sleep.
You’ll also want to look at the edges of the bed rails. Avoid anything that is pointy or sharp because it could cut your child if they brush up against it or hit it.
Durability and Cleanliness
Often, the material used to make bed rails impacts factors like durability and cleanliness. While metal and wood frames are more solid than plastic, they also might be heavier. Plastic rails can also be durable if they are made from a thicker plastic material.
Something else to consider is how easy the material will be to clean. Toddlers are messy and often get little fingerprints on everything, their bed being no exception, as they grasp the rail to climb in and out of it. While wood, plastic, or metal parts might be easy to clean, some beds have panels made of mesh or fabric attached to a frame. You’ll want to consider how light the color is and how easy it will be to clean.
Washability is also an important factor for bumper bed rails since they are usually made of fabric.
Toddlers have a significantly lower risk of suffocating than infants, which is the reason blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals are okay for putting in a toddler bed. Even so, you’ll want to choose a crib rail that has a breathable design. This might be a mesh panel or slats that allow airflow.
In addition to not inhibiting your child’s ability to breathe if they end up pushed against it, the breathability stops them from overheating and keeps them comfortable while they are sleeping.
FAQs About Toddler Bed Rails
How long do toddlers need bed rails?
The average toddler needs bed rails from age 2-5 years. Bed rails sit much lower than crib rails, which makes it easier for your toddler to climb out of bed to go to the bathroom or after a nightmare during the night. This is important because toddlers are good climbers. Crib rails sit a lot higher than bed rails and once your child climbs over the side, they’re likely to fall down and get hurt.
Something to note is that all kids are different. You should give your child bed rails when they make the transition from a crib to a toddler bed. You’ll want to keep the bed rails up until you are comfortable with your child climbing in and out of bed. For children who are wild sleepers or who seem likely to roll out of bed at night, you can keep the toddler bed rails up until you feel comfortable removing them.
Are toddler bed rails safe?
Toddler bed rails are designed to make beds safer for children. For them to remain safe, it’s important that you install the bed rail according to manufacturer recommendations.
Be wary of gaps that your child could fall into or get stuck in during the night between the rail and the bed. You should also check the hardware each night and be sure the bed rail is tight against the bed and there are no sharp pieces sticking out. It is possible the rail will loosen over time because your toddler will regularly be putting weight on it to climb in and out of their bed.
For parents struggling to find the right bed rail style to go with the base, a better option might be to buy a bumper that tucks under the sheet instead. Even then, you’ll want to be sure the sheet fits the bed tight enough that the bumper is going to stay in place and won’t slip if your child rolls over it.
How do you know when your toddler is ready for a toddler bed?
Like most furniture manufactured for use by babies and toddlers, cribs come with manufacturer instructions regarding overall height and weight.
On average, most toddlers are ready to make the switch around ages 1 1/2-3 years. This depends on maturity as well, since you don’t want your child crawling out of their bed to explore the house when they are younger and might get hurt or get into something.
Some parents panic the first time their child tries to climb out of the crib. Before you do that, make sure you have the mattress at the lowest setting. Something else you could do if you’re worried about your child getting out of their crib at night is put a baby gate up to keep them in their room or separate them from the areas of the house you don’t want them in.
Transitioning to a big kid bed is a mark of responsibility. Your child should be able to verbalize and understand the rules you set for the bed.
If you do think your child is ready to make the switch, be sure to do what you can to keep your toddler safe in the middle of the night. Be sure they can safely climb in and out of their toddler bed. Avoid putting any lamps or large toys close to the bed in case your child stumbles or falls as they are climbing out. Additionally, let them practice climbing in and out during the day.
Finally, before you get started, have a routine in place for bedtime. Be sure your child understands that they should stay in their bed until nap time or sleep time is over unless they have to go to the bathroom.
Avoid rewarding them for getting up by inviting them into your bed. Instead, return them to their bed if they get up in the middle of the night and try again.
Should I transition to a toddler bed or a twin bed?
Some parents choose to skip the toddler bed step altogether and put their child in a twin bed. Toddler beds differ from twin beds because the mattress is usually thinner and designed to sit closer to the ground. Additionally, some come with built-in side rails or come in cute designs that make transitioning easier.
Twin beds are a good option for parents who want to skip this step, especially since toddler beds are smaller and don’t usually last more than a few years before your child outgrows them. See the best twin beds for toddlers here on Experienced Mommy.
For parents of multiples or those with kids close in age, a bunk bed might seem like a good choice for saving space. Something to note is that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children not be allowed to sleep on the top bunk of a bunk bed until they are at least six years old. Even with side rails and a ladder or way to climb up, kids are not mature enough before age six to understand the rules and danger that come along with sleeping on the top bunk of a bed.
How can I make the transition to a toddler bed easier?
Some kids eagerly switch to a toddler bed, eager to become a ‘big boy’ or a ‘big girl’.
For others, however, the transition might not be so easy. They might associate a toddler bed with new pressures to grow up, especially if it coincides with potty training or other big boy or big girl changes. As many younger kids are likely to be excited to move to a big kid bed like their brother or sister, you’re most likely to struggle with your first-born on making the switch.
Some parents try to move their child because they are expecting a new baby and want to use the old crib. If so, start the transition at least 6-8 weeks before your baby is due. Otherwise, your toddler might view the younger child as taking over their crib. This can cause issues with the new baby or with your toddler’s desire to be a bigger kid.
One thing that will make the transition easier is keeping things consistent whenever possible. Put the new bed in the same place as the crib and allow your child to keep any special blankets, stuffed animals, or comfort items they might associate with their bed nearby.
It can also help to get them excited about the bed. If you are buying it new, you can let them help pick out where they are going to be sleeping. Hand-me-downs can also be used to get your child excited. Talk about how the older kids doesn’t need it anymore and how your child is also getting bigger. Another option is having a ‘big boy’ or ‘big girl’ party to celebrate the new bed. You could also let them pick out new sheets or a blanket.
For our family, the bed rail that worked best was the Hiccapop Toddler Bed Rail Bumper.
We did have to make sure it was securely in place at night because of the kids playing on the bed during the day. At the end of the night, however, it was easy enough to put in place and fold the sheet over. My youngest is a solid sleeper and it was perfect for those ‘just in case’ moments. He also easily climbed over it and out of bed when he needed something in the middle of the night.
Hopefully, this buying guide has helped you find the best toddler bed rail for your little one’s bed. Keep in mind that what matters most is your child’s safety. Always install according to manufacturer directions and buy a style of bed rail that is compatible with your child’s bed.