Are Toddler Beds Dangerous?
Toddler beds may seem like the perfect blend of a crib and a bed, but they actually tend to do more harm than good, especially for those with special needs.
New safety standards for toddler beds help ensure that issues like entrapment don't become major issues. Still, toddler beds create risk. Children with special needs may be particularly prone to harm. Consider looking into a Cubby Bed, which is designed to prevent entrapment.
If you’re considering using a toddler bed for your child, it’s imperative to be aware of what these risks might look like and what you can do to try and avoid them. Toddler beds are largely unnecessary, though, at the end of the day -- if your goal is to keep your child in the bed securely all night long, other options, like the Cubby Bed, might be better.
Are Toddler Beds Safe? Product Hazards and More
Toddler beds are usually designed to be smaller versions of the full-sized beds older children and adults sleep in; they’re meant to serve as a step between a crib and a bed and are generally targeted at children around one to three years of age.
Most toddler beds are meant to fit a crib-size mattress inside of an open-style bed frame. You can think of a toddler bed as a crib that’s not fully enclosed, allowing children to come and go as they please throughout the night.
In the past, toddler beds have faced frequent criticism and backlash for creating safety concerns for the children who use them. Entrapment in various parts of the bed, including rails, mattresses, and bed endings became a large concern for many parents after multiple cases involving this phenomenon arose.
Other common injuries include falling from the bed, head injuries, and even fractures.
In response to these worries and to the legitimate design flaws in many toddler beds, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issued safety standards for manufacturers to follow, effective in October 2011.
These standards list specific rules for manufacturers to adhere to when creating future products and control guard rail size or length, mattress size, bed support, and more.
Beds that follow these guidelines are fairly unlikely to be faulty or cause injury to your child, but the fact that the bed doesn’t act as an enclosure remains. For young children, especially those with special needs, this lack of enclosure greatly increases the risk of accidental injury; children simply aren’t always ready for the level of independence and motor control that a toddler bed (as opposed to a crib or another option) requires.
Toddler Bed Entrapment
A major concern for many families with toddler beds, as discussed, is entrapment (when a child’s body part, clothing, etc. gets stuck in a part of the bed).
This is partially because many toddler beds feature guard rails of some sort. These rails may be meant to protect children and keep them inside of the bed, but they also leave large gaps that are easy to navigate into, but not so easy to navigate out of.
Entrapment is not only a safety concern, it’s incredibly frustrating and sometimes scary. If you do consider purchasing a toddler bed, be sure to be mindful of this risk and look for models that feature minimal opportunities to get stuck.
Toddler Bed Safety Standards
Modern safety standards for toddler beds are certainly a step up from what they have been in the past, and many of them were deliberately developed to address the main reasons these beds become problematic in the first place.
For example, manufacturers must follow guidelines controlling:
- Guardrail structure (how rails are shaped and attached to the product)
- Guardrail opening size
- Guardrail durability
- Load strength
Specific instructions for testing new products to ensure they meet these requirements are also available to sellers and consumers alike.
These safety standards make it fairly unlikely that a child will be seriously injured by a toddler bed, and so far, they seem to be working.
Still, toddler beds may not be the best choice for children who already struggle to stay safe or comfortable in bed, are prone to movement (such as nocturnal seizures) that may cause injury, or for children who have a hard time staying in bed throughout the night.
All About Safe Sleep for Toddlers
Regardless of how you feel about using a toddler bed for your child, it’s important to be aware of what healthy sleep patterns look like for toddlers. It’s also beneficial to be able to identify room for improvement in your child’s current nighttime routine.
What Makes a Toddler Bed Safe?
Safe toddler beds should follow legal guidelines, of course, and feature rails with gaps large enough to avoid entrapment, include padding, and be designed in a way that ensures the mattress within is secure.
Toddler beds should be able to hold an appropriate amount of weight, too. Be sure to be aware of any weight limits that your bed may have to avoid damage to the load-bearing structures of the product.
The materials that go into a toddler bed should match the same rigor as safety standards. Cheap plastics or overly solid options may be something to avoid.
If your child has special needs, you might want to seek out a bed that takes these needs into account. If you’re unable to meet these needs in a bed, incorporating supporting technology like nighttime monitors can help ensure your child is safe and comfortable.
At What Age are Toddler Beds Safe?
Toddler beds are not meant to be used until a child is around 15 months old, according to US safety guidelines. Children can use toddler beds from this point to about two to three years of age, depending on their size.
Toddler beds aren’t usually bigger than cribs since they use the same size mattress, but the fact that they don’t keep your child completely enclosed means that they’re not appropriate until your child is old enough to stay in bed while asleep.
AAP Safe Sleep Guidelines: 2020
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an excellent resource to turn to if you’re looking to further understand how to help young children, including toddlers, sleep safely. The AAP releases sleep guidelines that medical practitioners, caretakers, and parents can all use as a reference.
These guidelines are meant to act as injury prevention, especially for infants. Many infant injuries and deaths are the result of safety concerns that could be avoided, so the value of these efforts can not be understated.
The AAP recommends the following guidelines for ensuring babies and toddlers sleep securely and appropriately:
- Limit the amount of loose items (blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, etc.) in your child’s bed; for infants, it may be advisable to avoid them entirely.
- Place babies and infants on their back alone in their sleeping space when it’s time for bed.
- Ensure your child’s sleep area is free of electronics, dangling cords, or other safety risks
Though the AAP’s guidelines are mostly pertinent to babies, they can serve as a good starting point for parents looking to develop a safe set-up for toddlers, too.
Sleep Safe and Sound With The Cubby Bed
The idea of a toddler bed isn’t a bad one, even if they tend to be less than remarkable in reality. Toddler beds attempt to create a space that’s appropriately sized for children and protective but still open enough to allow them to move freely and come and go from the bed.
Where traditional toddler beds fail, the Cubby Bed prospers. The Cubby Bed’s 360 enclosure ensures your child stays safe in their bed, but its mesh design and padding keep them free from injury or entrapment.
The Cubby Bed also features monitoring capabilities, including high-quality camera and microphones, that can be accessed at any time. The bed’s Android or iOS app allows instant access to a live feed of your child’s sleep environment, so you can check in even if you can’t be with them all night long.
The Cubby Bed allows your child to take control of their own sleep in a way that doesn’t sacrifice their wellbeing. Toddler beds may always have their flaws, but the Cubby Bed has been specially designed for the safety and happiness of children, particularly those with special needs.
Don’t waste your time, money, or energy on products that might end up failing you in the long-run. Worried about the cost of something as high-quality as the Cubby Bed? No problem - be sure to visit our page outlining financial aid options and other ways to make this investment work for your family.
A good and safe night’s sleep is just a few clicks away for both you and your child.