Moving your toddler from a crib to a regular or toddler bed is a big step up for your little one. It can also be somewhat dangerous for him. Keeping a toddler safe during this period of transition is very important. One way to help make the transition safer and easier on your toddler is to install bed rails on his bed. There are several different types, each requiring different methods of installation.
If you are purchasing a toddler bed, most of these will come with some type of rail. These usually only extend across the upper half of the bed. Some only come with one rail, which can be remedied by placing the bed against a wall, and others come with a rail on each side. Installing these rails is generally relatively simple. These rails will usually fasten to the bed frame using screws and holes that are already pre-drilled into both the frame of the bed and the rail itself. Be sure to fasten these screws as tightly as possible to avoid your toddler from working them loose where he can either choke on them or do some other type of damage.
Bed Rail Types
If you are skipping the toddler bed and moving your little one directly to a regular twin-sized bed, you can also purchase rails for these beds. Most of them will not screw directly into the frame. This would cause damage to the bed frame and cause it to be unsafe to use once the rail has been removed.
Several companies make bed rails that fit on all regular-sized beds. These rails are straightforward to install. They usually have a fold-down feature that allows you to fold the rail down when not in use or to be able to access your child in bed more easily. They are also usually collapsible for easy traveling. The rails come with two legs that fit between the mattress and the box spring, keeping the rail in place. These rails can be easy for some children to remove though. Some of these also have a second attachment feature in the form of nylon straps that buckle underneath the mattress. These straps would help prevent a child from removing the rails by himself. These rails generally only work when you have bought one for each side as they have to clip to each other.
Self-Securing Bed Rails offer the extra security of attaching to the top of the mattress as well as to the bottom. It can also offer a color-coded locking system that assures the parent that the rail is in the locked position.
Bed Rail Use Safety
As with everything else child-related, parents much use caution when using any product like this. These products are not meant to be used on waterbeds, bunk beds, toddler beds (unless they came with a toddler bed), or inflatable mattresses. If not used properly, they can pose a strangulation hazard to the child.
The rails should be placed tightly against the mattress to keep the child from getting trapped between the rail and the mattress and should be no closer than 9 inches from the head or footboards. This is to prevent the child’s head from becoming trapped between the rail and the boards. Of course, if used properly, these bed rails can keep your child safe at night while he works through this transition.