Kids… they grow up so fast!
One day you’re laying them down in the crib, the next you realize they’re ready for their very own toddler bed.
A lot of parents these days choose to go with a convertible crib from the start, one that can be turned into a toddler bed once your child is around 2-years-old.
But you might find yourself needing to buy a separate, standalone toddler bed for a number of reasons, and in that case, you’ll probably want to go with something that has safety rails on the sides.
So what are the best toddler beds with rails? Here are my top picks:
- Best budget toddler bed: Delta Children’s Wood Toddler Bed (Amazon)
- Best mid-range toddler bed: Delta Children’s Interactive Toddler Bed (Amazon)
- Best high-end toddler bed: Dream On Me Austin Toddler Day Bed (Amazon)
Let’s take a closer look at each of them and what to look for when shopping for a standalone toddler bed.
What to Look For in a Toddler Bed
Your child will be ready for a toddler bed somewhere around the time he or she is 2-years-old. It might be a little sooner or a little later, depending on his development.
(One good sign he’s ready: He’s climbing out of the crib on his own, or at least is capable of it.)
It sounds counterintuitive to switch to a bed when your toddler can’t be trusted to stay in the crib on his own! But at that point, it’s too dangerous to risk him falling over the side of the crib.
When the time comes and you’re ready for a standalone toddler bed, here are a few things to keep in mind:
There’s no hard and fast measurement here that you should look for, just use your gut instinct as a mom or dad.
Is your toddler super fidgety and squirmy? If so, might want to go for a toddler bed with full-length, low rails, or at least medium-length rails.
Want to give your toddler a little easier path to get in and out of the bed? Go with shorter rails.
In any case, I would definitely start your toddler off in a bed with at least some kind of rail to keep them from rolling out. When they’re a bit older and used to sleeping in a bed, you can opt for a rails-free option.
Getting a big-kid bed is a really exciting time for a toddler!
That’s why the design of the bed is so important. Yes, you want it to go with your original nursery decor, but it’s even more important that your toddler loves it.
Believe me, you’ll have a way easier time getting them adjusted to the toddler bed if they’re excited about it and get to help pick it out.
One thing to note: Toddler beds are usually a pretty standard size. Most often, they use the same size mattress as a crib. The only real difference between a crib and most toddler beds is the length and height of the rails.
However, you’ll also find non-regulation sized toddler beds out there as well. This can really open up your choices and design options, but be sure to check the dimensions of the mattress to make sure you have the right bedding for whatever bed you end up buying.
Keep in mind that your toddler will probably only use a toddler bed for about 2 or 3 years before he or she outgrows it.
(My daughter is 4 and her feet are already hitting the end of hers!)
While it might be tempting to splurge on a designer model, you might want to save up for when you inevitably have to buy your child a twin or full bed a few years down the road.
You should be able to get a pretty sturdy toddler bed for around $100 or so.
OK, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of my top picks!
Best budget toddler bed with rails: Delta children’s wood toddler bed
Overview: While simple and somewhat plain, you won’t do much better than this wooden toddler bed from Delta for the price.
The color won’t get anyone super excited, but the design is classy and pleasant. Plus the bed is made of real wood and is completely free of lead and toxins (always a bonus!).
This one really looks like a big kid (or even an adult!) bed and should get toddlers amped up for their new responsibilities.
Mattress Size: Crib mattress
Rail Length: Short
- Wood construction
- Easy assembly, sets up in just minutes
- Simple design goes with any decor
- Extremely budget friendly
- Low to the ground — easy for kids to climb in
- Design and color not super exciting
- Shorter side rails may not be great for active sleepers
Best mid-range toddler bed with rails: Delta children’s interactive toddler bed (Minnie or Mickey Mouse)
Overview: Just look at this thing! What kid wouldn’t love this!?
While not as “classy and refined” as some other choices, and a little bit more difficult to match decor-wise, the interactive beds from Delta are crazy fun and sure to get any toddler incredibly excited.
(This bed comes in both Minnie and Mickey Mouse.)
Why’s it called interactive? At the foot of the bed, you’ll find a clock and a bedtime checklist for kids to go through before they hit the hay. So dang cute.
Mattress Size: Crib mattress
Rail Length: Full
- Incredibly fun design
- Interactive bedtime checklist at foot of the bed
- Easy assembly (takes about an hour)
- Sturdy and holds up over time
- Higher rails need the pillow and a low edge along the whole length keep kids from rolling out
- Wood design is great, but wood is made of particle board and might not survive older kids jumping on it
- No under-bed storage
- Probably won’t match your existing decor!
Best high-end toddler bed with rails: Dream On Me Austin toddler day bed
Overview: I love these day bed style toddler beds. They really look gorgeous and bring a high-end look to any room or nursery.
Plus, there are some serious advantages to this design and structure! One of them being that the high rails in the back will protect your wall from getting too badly scuffed from a restless toddler tossing and turning during the night.
This bed from Dream On Me looks great, lasts a long time, and, though it’s the most expensive option on this list, is quite affordable and won’t break the bank.
Mattress Size: Crib mattress
Rail Length: Medium
- Gorgeous day bed style design
- Safety rail can be removed for extra breathing room
- Sturdy construction
- Includes all tools for assembly
- Excellent value for the price
- Most expensive option on this list
- Some customers complained of receiving defective products
What I Use for My Toddler
Before our daughter was born, we invested in a really nice convertible crib that we knew would last us a long time.
We went with the Larkin from Pottery Barn (on sale at an outlet!) because it’s absolutely gorgeous and converts from a crib, to a toddler bed, all the way to a full-sized bed.
(You can see it in toddler bed form in the photo at the top of this post.)
I’m really glad we did, too, because at just 4-years-old, my daughter is ready to move out of her toddler bed.
It seems excessive gearing up to put her in a full-sized bed and mattress at her age, but at least we know she’ll probably never need another bed!
As amazing as Pottery Barn baby furniture is, I’m not sure I’d recommend dropping that kind of money on a standalone toddler bed that your kid will outgrow in 2 years.
But if you have the budget, go for it! I have nothing but amazing things to say about the quality and value of Pottery Barn.
I also briefly used the Busunge toddler bed from IKEA and loved it, though it was kind of a pain to put together.
Your kid’s first toddler bed should definitely have safety rails, but it’s up to you if you want a low edge that goes the whole length of the bed, or just a short rail near the top to keep them from rolling out.
Hopefully, you’ll find something you like in the options above!
For my money, I don’t think I’d be able to resist the Minnie or Mickey Mouse themed Delta toddler bed — it’s just so much fun and it looks like every child’s ultimate fantasy.
(Not to mention, the price is pretty fair and you won’t mind replacing it with a bigger bed in a few years.)
But that’s just my opinion.
Hope this helps, parents!