What is a toddler bed guard?
A bed guard is quite literally a guard for the side of your toddler’s bed. They are mainly used when your toddler first moves from their cot to a bed. They can help your little one get used to a bed after moving from a cot with the safety of four solid sides, to suddenly finding themselves in a bed with no sides at all.
Normally they’re smaller than the whole length of the bed; place them in the middle of the side of the bed.
We all know how much little ones can wriggle and move while they sleep, so a bed guard and protect against your child tumbling out of the bed and on to the floor. Even if you’re using a small toddler bed, which is closer to the floor, that fall out of bed can not only shock but can cause harm.
When do you use a toddler bed guard?
Most bed guards are aimed from about 18 months up to five years, although it totally depends on how you and your child adapt and get on with them. Some children don’t need one, or use one for a few months before you take them off, while others like the security and safety for much longer.
Expert advice about bed guards
We spoke to parenting expert Fi Star-Stone about bed guards. She said:
"Bed rails are aimed for children aged 2-5 years old, and are perfect for little ones moving into a big bed because they not only offer safety - they offer security too.
"Bed guards are a nice gentle way of reassuring little ones who have moved from the four-sided safety of a cot into a single bed.
"I would always advise investing in a bed guard, as leaving the safety of a cot and going straight into a bed with no sides can sometimes lead to accidents. You can remove the guards once you think they are used to their bed and not likely to roll out.
"Ensure bed guards are fitted correctly to avoid the danger of little ones getting trapped down the side.
"Put one side of the bed to the wall if possible for added security - but ensure they can still get out of bed if they want to (the guard is to stop them from rolling out of bed, not getting out of bed)."
What type of bed guard should I buy?
There are various types of bed guard available, from fabric to solid, from temporary and moveable to more permanent.
Most bed guards are made from fabric or mesh, meaning they’re softer when your little one sleeps up against them. If you choose a fabric or mesh bed guard, always make sure they’re breathable. Wooden bed guards act like rails, very similar to the sides of a cot. They're not so popular these days, and we haven't actually featured any in our shortlist.
Make sure you measure your toddler’s bed before you buy a bed guard, and check with the manufacturer that it is suitable. Read up on the instructions for how it fits, and double check that it will work with your bed.
Also consider where your toddler’s bed is in the room. Do you need two bed guards, or is one side up against the wall?
When looking at the height of the bed guard, compare it to the height of the mattress – if you have a thick mattress, the guard might not give as much protection as you expected.
Helping your toddler make the move from cot to bed can be challenging - be sure to read our advice and 10 tricks to successfully move your toddler to a first bed.
Here's our shortlist of the best toddler bed guards you can buy today:
Safety 1st Portable Bed Rail
Suitable for slatted beds, this bed rail is easy to fit and folds down, meaning your little one can get into bed with the guard in place. The instructions suggest this isn’t suitable for a divan bed, which is also what a lot of reviewers mention – the mattress needs to sit lower than the frame, with the guard sitting against the lip of the frame.
You can expand and contract this, meaning it’s easy to store or take with you if you’re staying overnight elsewhere. It’s made of breathable mesh, making it comfy and functional. It’s available in grey, pink or blue colourways.
This has more than 9,000 ratings on Amazon, with an average score of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Size: L101 x W37 x H42cm
- Weight: 2.7kg
- Suitable for beds that are minimum length of 156cm with mattress depth between 10cm and 24cm
Dreambaby Phoenix Bed Rail
This toddler bed guard is suitable for wooden slatted bed frames, or flat beds like divans. It comes with a storage bag, handy if you’re taking it to a friend’s house to sleep over.
Constructing the bed frame is pretty simple, clicking together the poles, and feeding the mesh cover over them – akin to erecting a tent, some might say – there’s a video you can watch if you need assistance. It folds down easily when in place on the bed, meaning your little one can climb into bed with ease – plus it helps when tucking in sheets and blankets, and it doesn’t have to get in the way for storytime.
It also features what the brand calls ‘safety anchors’ to keep the bed guard in place, attaching to the sides of the bed. It has nearly 400 ratings on Amazon, scoring an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
- Size: L45 x W41 x H9cm
- Weight: 2.6kg
- Machine washable cover
Lindam Easy Fit Bed Guard
Lindam is a well-known brand when it comes to safety products for children. This bed guard is suitable for wooden slatted beds and divans, and folds down easily to allow your toddler to climb into bed. It’s available in grey, pink, and blue colourways.
This bed guard from Lindam has more than 350 ratings on Amazon, scoring 4.4 out of 5 stars on average. Some buyers have said it’s tricky to assemble, so make sure you read the instructions; also, it can make a creaky noise when folding and unfolding – the sound of the fabric stretching.
- Size: L52.2 x W9 x H27cm
- Weight: 2.5 kg
- Suitable for beds with mattress widths 76cm-90cm and mattress lengths from 150-200cm
Summer Infant Grow with Me Single Bed Rail
This bed guard can be used with slatted beds or divans; as the name suggests, it’s suitable for single beds, no larger. The safety poles reach under the mattress and loop around the other side for added security; it folds down easily when your little ones wants to get into bed, and stays out of the way when you’re changing bed sheets. It comes in white, pink and blue colourways (wouldn’t it be nice if it came in green, maybe?).
- Size: L108 x W1.9 x H50.8cm
- Weight: 3.2kg
BabyDan Soft Bedrail
Made from lightweight steel and covered in nylon, we like how easy this BabyDan bed guard folds up. It’s easy to assemble and fit to the bed, sliding under the mattress, and can be used with slatted wooden beds as well as divans. It comes with a useful travel bag, too. Do pay attention to the height of the bed guard, and make sure there’s enough clearance when you fold it down – if your toddler’s bed is low to the ground, you might find it doesn’t fold completely before touching the ground – this can make it tricky for little ones to climb in, or for making the bed.
- Size: L90 x W37 x D4cm
- Weight: 2.75kg
- Wipe clean
IKEA Vikare Bed Guard Rail
Never ones to overcomplicate things, Ikea’s bed guard is as simple as they come. It’s a basic wooden rail, fixing to the side of the bed – not suitable for divans. There’s not a lot to say about this one – it’s an inexpensive option but doesn’t have any features such as folding.
- Size: L90 x W8 x H4cm
- Weight: 1.45kg
- Fits all children’s beds and cots with straight 18-25 mm thick bed rails or cot sides.
You can also buy bumpers for toddler beds, including some inflatable bumpers, which work in a different way to bed guards. They generally fit on top of the mattress and offer bumpers down the sides of the beds. However, we haven’t included then in our roundup. There is advice against using bumpers – especially when it comes to cot bumpers – so we have focused purely on guards and rails. Read more advice from the Lullaby Trust about not using cot bumpers here.
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