Toddler or Starter Beds Buying Guide

So, when the time has come to move your little one out of their cot and into their very first ‘big bed’, what are your options?
RTG Starter Beds

Anne Davies

Mum of a tweenager and owner of Room to Grow. Anne works with the world’s leading manufacturers to source the best bunk beds, high beds, mid sleepers and low beds in all varieties. She knows as a parent how tricky it can be choosing the right bed that gives the optimum storage, study and sleep space without compromising on style. An expert in helping parents find the right bed for their child and creating a dream bedroom.

So, when the time has come to move your little one out of their cot and into their very first ‘big bed’, what are your options? You’ll be able to tell when your little one has outgrown their cot because:

  • Their sleep space will dramatically reduce as they grow, and this is usually around 18-36 months
  • They try to climb out of their cot
  • They seem excited about having their own ‘big bed’
  • They have begun potty training

Thinking About A Starter Bed?

So, when the time has come to move your little one out of their cot and into their very first ‘big bed’, what are your options?

Buying your first ‘big bed’ for your child is very exciting for them and it will make them feel grown up and boost their confidence and independence. You want the transition to be as smooth as possible so considering a toddler or starter bed is an ideal solution. They will give children the extra room   they need as they grow, but they will still feel safe and secure in their ‘big bed’. We have shared the advantages of toddler beds so you know exactly why you should look for a toddler bed. Unlike cots, toddler and starter beds can be suitable for several years – many come in standard UK single and European single bed size. 

As the beds are designed for toddlers, safety is of the utmost importance so many beds are designed low to the floor for easy access, and they may have a partial safety rail to stop them falling out of bed. This will give you peace of mind, knowing that there is minimal risk from bumps in the night! The safety rail is often detachable, so you can easily remove this when you feel that your child is capable of sleeping safely without it.

Some toddler beds are shorter in length than a standard UK or European single (usually halfway between a cot and a single bed), however, if floor space allows, our best advice would be to buy a bigger starter bed from the outset, so that as your little one grows, you won’t need to replace their bed again for many years.

Opting for a low profile single bed could give you the option to have an under-bed trundle drawer too. This is a fantastic pull out drawer where you can pop in a mattress to give you an instant sleepover bed. It’s also a great idea for when little ones do first go into their big bed, because if you decide not to use a safety rail, then you can pull out the drawer whilst they are sleeping and if they do roll out, they will have a soft landing onto the mattress below. If you don’t want to use the drawer as an extra bed, it’s a vast space that can be used for extra storage.

You can find lots of fun and cute toddler bed designs, such as a boat, car, tee-pee and princess themed beds. But, because children grow so quickly and toddler beds are typically smaller in length, you may decide that your child will outgrow their theme bed too quickly. A themed bed can encourage imaginative play and stimulation and should hopefully encourage them to sleep in their bed at night … all night.…well that’s the idea anyway!

If floor space allows, our advice to parents is to always invest in the biggest bed frame you can from the start and then you won’t need to replace it down the line.

Here are some frequently asked questions by our customers that you may find helpful in choosing your perfect  toddler or starter bed.

What age for a toddler bed?

A child can go into a low single once they have outgrown their cot which is usually around 18-36 months onwards.

If you decide to choose a single low single bed rather than a starter or toddler bed then you might want to invest in a bed guard to ensure that your little one doesn’t roll out of bed. It is not an essential requirement and some parents do not use a bed guard, but it’s always a good option if they roll about a lot in bed. They easily attach to the bed frame if you opt for a solid rail, or there are other options such as the Hippychick Dream Tubes which are a great solution to stop little ones falling out of bed. They are simply inflatable bed guards that fit into pockets within the fitted sheet.

Is a toddler bed safe?

  • When your bed is correctly assembled, it will be structurally safe. Safety issues come with not assembling the bed frame correctly so always read the instructions very carefully, step by step, before you start the build to ensure you understand the steps involved.
  • If you need to fit a temporary safety rail, ensure the safety rail it is fitted securely.
  • We recommend that you only use the correct size mattress for the bed as specified on the product page.
  • Regularly check and ensure that the bed is free from damage, and that all fixings are tightened and secure.
  • Do not use substitute parts that are not designed for use with the bed. Always contact us for replacement parts.

What are toddler beds usually made from?

Toddler beds come in a diverse mix of designs and finishes – some are made of metal, wood and even plastic which allows for more creatively where bed design is required. They are all easy to care for, so whatever you decide, there’s a whole host of choice out there for you.

What size bedding fits a toddler bed?

As toddler beds come in all shapes and sizes always check the product information for the mattress size and then use this to purchase the correct size fitted sheet and duvet set.

Some toddler beds are shorter than a standard UK or European single bed so you will need to buy a smaller fitted sheet and duvet set.

If you opt for a full size UK or European single bed then you will be able to use a standard UK fitted sheet to fit a mattress size 90x190cm and for European 90x200cm. Both bed sizes will use a standard UK duvet set.

How to get toddler to stay in bed?

The simple answer is you can’t! They will love the new ability to climb in and out of bed and you will not be able to stop them from doing this, but it will soon become a way of life and the norm, and not so exciting! Some parents opt for a safety gate on their bedroom door for peace of mind, knowing that they can’t be in danger or go near stairs during the night.

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