It's such a sweet moment in your little one's life — they are finally moving into their big kid bed. While you're fretting over what this new freedom will mean at bed and nap time, your toddler is jumping up and down with excitement. You've purchased the bed and have some super adorable sheets and cozy blankets to spruce things up, but is there anything you're forgetting? With this transition into a bed, you're going to have to think differently about your child's safety than when she was in a crib. Do you need rails on your toddler's bed to protect her while she dreams? Because rolling out of bed is a thing.
I found this out when I moved just my son's crib mattress on to the floor. He was crawling out of the crib but we didn't have a big boy bed ready for him yet. each morning I would find him on the floor, curled up with his blanket, and snoozing away on the carpet. So I knew once we set up his new bed we would need to put safety rails on the side that didn't scoot up next to the wall. As the Baby Sleep Site pointed out, the main function of rails on a toddler bed is to prevent falling out and keep your little one snug in his bed.
Staying safe in the confines of bed are wonderful for your sleeping toddler, but what happens once they wake up? Don't count on the rails to keep kids contained in their new bed. As Parents magazine pointed out, once your child is between 18 and 24 months, she is able to climb out of the crib. It doesn't mean she will — it just means she's around 35 inches tall, which is the right height to make a jailbreak. This is typically the time most kiddos switch to a bed, and those low rails are easy to scale in comparison to the taller ones on a crib.
The main reason rails are necessary is because toddlers are such wild sleepers, as What To Expect's website pointed out. And if you've ever shared a bed with one, you're nodding your head and laughing. It's amazing how such a small body can take up so much space in a bed — not to mention the acrobatics that can be done while sleeping.
If your child protests to the rails, remind her that it's there to keep her safe, and encourage her by saying that the rails won't be there forever. Don't be in a rush to take off the rails, wait until you feel the time is right. When the day comes, place some pillows or cushions on the floor to soften any falls out of bed, as Baby Center suggested. Keep the pillow there until your child has gone some time without rolling out of bed in the middle of the night.