Do I Need a Bed Guard for a Toddler?

Some of the links below are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

Moving from a crib to a bed can be a huge transition for a toddler. Not only do they have a bigger space to spend time in, but there’s also a greater risk that they will roll over and fall off the bed – unlike cribs, most beds do not come with high sides to keep toddlers securely inside. So what to do if your child rolls around at night?

You should get a bed guard for your toddler’s bed, especially if they tend to roll around at night. A bed guard can prevent your child from falling off the bed when they’re sleeping and give them a sense of security, making the transition from a crib to a bed as stress-free as possible.

The rest of this article will examine the benefits and drawbacks of bed guards for your toddler’s bed and help you decide whether or not they can help your child.

What Is a Bed Guard?

So you’re ready to buy a bed guard for your toddler – but before purchasing it, you must first understand what this piece of child safety equipment is. 

A bed guard (or bed rail) is a safety feature installed on beds to keep children and toddlers from falling out. Bed guards can be built into beds or made available separately. For bed guards sold independently of beds, they’re known as portable bed guards.

Aside from bed guards, you can also use bed bumpers to protect your child at night. These are essentially large bolster pillows, and they fit alongside the edge of the mattress to create a barrier that a toddler cannot easily rollover. The biggest advantage of bumpers over guards is that they tend to be more affordable. However, guards provide better protection.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Bed Guard?

A bed guard can provide an added sense of safety and security for your toddler and reduce the risk of your child rolling and falling off the bed at night, especially when they’re on a bunk bed’s top bed. Also, a bed guard can make the transition from a crib to a toddler bed easier.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using a Bed Guard?

While bed guards have numerous benefits, parents should also be aware of the drawbacks of using them on toddler beds.

A bed guard is not suitable for children under 2 years of age. There’s also a risk of a toddler falling off from the bed due to the bed guard’s height. Furthermore, a toddler could get trapped between a bed guard’s slats. Installing a bed guard isn’t always easy, either.

Keep reading as I explain these disadvantages further.

Bed Guards Aren’t for Kids Under 2

Per the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), bed guards are not to be used by children under 2. Children this young have an increased risk of getting trapped in the gap between the guard and the bed, posing a health risk.

Toddlers Could Still Climb off the Bed

Toddlers can still get out of the bed with bed guards. The rails are not long enough to prevent them from climbing over the rails.

Additionally, the added height of the rails increases the distance from which your toddler will fall and may increase the risk of injury.

A Toddler Might Get Trapped Between the Slats

If the bed guard you choose has slats or connected bars, there is a risk that your child’s head (or other body parts) may get trapped between the slats. Choose a bed guard made of a single piece of material (fabric or otherwise) to reduce injury risks.

Installation Is Not Always Easy

The installation may prove challenging if you’re using portable bed guards, depending on the brand and style you pick.

If the bed guards aren’t installed properly or don’t fit the bed, they pose a bigger risk to your child since they won’t be able to offer the same level of protection and support. 

Do I Really Need a Bed Guard for a Toddler?

Given the disadvantages mentioned above of using bed guards, it can be easy to rethink your decision and wonder whether bed guards are the right choice for your toddler’s safety.

A bed guard is necessary if your child is over 2 and transitioning to a toddler bed. This will ensure that your child remains safe at night and you have the peace of mind needed to help you sleep soundly. 

While there are some safety concerns, choosing the latest models of bed guards and ensuring that the product you select is a single piece of material can help mitigate most of these issues. Additionally, bed guards will help you sleep train your child, so they can eventually transition to sleeping without any safety rails.

Most children can transition away from needing bed guards by the time they are about 5 years of age. However, depending on your child’s needs, you may find they’ll be okay without sooner or that you need to keep the rails on for a little longer.