The 10 Best Kid's Bed Rails
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in January of 2016. Whether your little one shifts around a lot during the night or is simply new to the experience of sleeping in a bed after being in a crib, ensure his or her safety with one of these easy-to-use bed rails built just for kids. They offer hassle-free installation, come in a variety of styles to accommodate many different bed types and sizes, and are available to suit every budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 25, 2019:
Bed rails are designed to create a safer sleeping space for children, and if used correctly they do just that, but if installed or used incorrectly, they can actual create danger rather than limit it. Because of this, it is important to always follow the manufacturer's guidelines on how to install and use bed rails. It is also recommended to only use them with children three years of age and older, and only on full-sized, traditional adult beds. Toddler beds, bunk beds, youth beds, and any mattress that doesn't utilize a box spring may not be strong enough to support them. Additionally, you should double check the rails each night to ensure they are still securely in place, always leave at least nine inches between the rail and the head and foot of the bed, and never install them in a way that leaves a gap between the bed and the rails.
On our list, you'll find two main types of bed rails — walls and bumpers. Each of these offers their own pros and cons. Bumpers, like the Hiccapop Foam, Shrunks Inflatable, Pillowflex Stay Put, and Smooth Transition Adjustable are softer and more gentle if your child rolls against them at night or flails their arms or legs while dreaming. Also, they may subconsciously teach your child to sleep in the center of the bed. Unfortunately, they are not easily moved out of the way if you want to sit next to your child and read to them.
Walls, like the Regalo Hide Away, ComfyBumpy Fold-Down, Summer Infant Double, Munchkin Sleep, and Regalo Swing Down, are nice because they can be moved out of the way quickly and easily. This means you can fold them down when you want to cuddle with children, and then quietly secure them in place after your youngster has fallen asleep. Some can be more discreet than bumpers too, which older children may appreciate when their friends come over. For example, the Regalo Hide Away slides between the box spring and mattress when not in use.
Generally speaking, walls are easier to store than bumpers when not in use, say after an older child no longer needs them, but before you have started to transition your second child to an adult bed. However, the Shrunks Inflatable offers the easy storage of a wall model combined with the gentleness of a bumper, so it is definitely worth taking a look at.
Why You Need Kids' Bed Rails
Even if your child isn't yet old enough to graduate from his crib, having bed rails on hand will be very useful if your little one's crib breaks.
Many believe that you simply move your toddler from his crib to his full-size bed once he hits a certain age. But making that transition can actually be a bit scary — and even hazardous — for children. This change can also be frightening for parents, too. If you were a fan of cosleeping when your kid was very little, then suddenly sleeping separately from him can come as a bit of a shock. Besides, when you're familiar with the sleep patterns of a baby and how they constantly wake up and move around, it may worry you to think that your child will be just as fussy as a toddler, and could potentially fall out of his bed. Putting bed rails on your child's bed can help to relieve that fear.
Even if your child isn't yet old enough to graduate from his crib, having bed rails on hand will be very useful if your little one's crib breaks. You may not be able to replace it right away. Putting rails on a bed gives you a temporary and safe solution for your child's sleeping arrangements, while you work on finding a new crib or fixing the old one. There might also be times when your kid's crib is in perfectly fine shape, but you're traveling, and cannot bring it with you. Bed rails are much easier to pack than a full crib. When you bring your baby to a hotel, you can simply attach the rails to a bed and provide your little one with a pseudo crib.
Now let's say your child has graduated from his crib and is even at the point when he doesn't need bed rails anymore. What do you do if your friend who has a baby or young toddler comes to visit? Maybe she didn't bring her crib, assuming she could just use your old one (unaware that you've donated it). You can put bed rails on one of your guest beds to give younger visiting children a safe place to sleep, and then easily pack them away for storage when no longer needed.
Tips For Transitioning To A Toddler Bed
When it is time to transition your baby from a crib to a toddler bed, there are a few things that can make this change easier for you and your little one, along with using bed rails. This change comes at a very challenging time. Toddlers are at an age when they often begin to become possessive of their belongings. They do this mostly for attention, as one developmental psychologist explains. Nonetheless, you shouldn't take your child's crib away at a time you'll also be taking something else away, like her training potty or bottle. Make these changes one at a time.
The only thing that should change about his sleeping arrangements is the bed.
In many cases, your child will tell you when she's ready to move to a toddler bed, so you shouldn't feel rushed to make this change. If your child expresses interest in moving to a "big boy" or "big girl" bed, the adjustment will be immeasurably easier. Remember that toddlers never like to feel like you're forcing them to do anything. You can make the change fun, too, by bringing your child shopping for his new bed and letting him pick it out.
As mentioned before, you want to keep changes to a minimum. So, when you do bring your child's new bed home, put it in the exact same place you had his crib. The only thing that should change about his sleeping arrangements is the bed. On that note, put your child's favorite comfort items in his bed, like his stuffed animals and toys. The more you can make the bed resemble his old crib, the faster he'll take to it.
How To Choose Your Kid's Bed Rails
Safety is obviously the top priority when choosing bed rails. Your main purpose for getting rails is to prevent the injuries that can occur when kids fall from their beds. When your child is new to sleeping in a bed, you should look for a rail that can rise rather high so that he feels perfectly safe and contained. That being said, it will be helpful if your bed rail is height-adjustable so that you can slowly lower it over time, and wean your child off the rails altogether. Make sure there are no gaps between the bed rail and the bed because a small child could potentially fall through these, or get caught inside of them.
Safety is obviously the top priority when choosing bed rails.
If your child is old enough not to need a high, fence-style rail, you can opt for a cushioned, bumper-style model. If you add to this to your kid's bed, along with some of his favorite baby pillows for nostalgic purposes, you'll create a really cozy environment that he'll love to curl up in. Just make sure it's made from high-density foam and stays securely in place to stand up to toddlers who might kick during the night. Regardless of whether you go for a fence or bumper-style rail, find one with a cover you can put in the washing machine. Even though your child is no longer a baby, he may still spit up in his bed or have potty accidents.
Make sure your rails are easy to install, too. You may have to deal with a protesting toddler in the background, so you want this change to be as quick and simple as possible. If you travel often with your little one, you may want inflatable bumper-style rails. You can deflate these into a compact size that's easy to pack in your suitcase and inflate when you get to your hotel. Some rails have a few added features that make your child feel safe, like built-in night lights and transparent screens that let him see you.