How Long Should Beds Have Rails for Children?

When toddlers finally transition from a crib to a toddler or twin/full bed, parents can be filled with anxiety, as nap and night times are usually the only times during a day when toddlers are separated from the immediate view of adult caregivers 1. However, bed rails can provide a solace for parents and safety for toddlers until children are comfortable in "grown-up" beds.


Baby Center notes that children usually transition from a crib to a toddler or big bed between the ages of one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half; however, many parents use bed rails to make this transition easier 1. According to Consumer Reports, parents should remove bed rails when a child is about 5. This is also about the age that most children outgrow toddler beds, as most toddler beds only support children 50 pounds and under.


Some children may need bed rails for a shorter or longer time. If children routinely sleep to close to the edge of the bed, move around a lot when they sleep or have fallen/almost fallen out of the bed before, parents might need to leave the rails on for a longer time. However, children who are relatively still when they sleep may be able to sleep in a big bed without bed rails as preschoolers.


Parents transitioning their children from cribs to beds can opt for toddler beds or twin/full beds with rails that they can purchase and attach separately. The latter option is best for parents who feel their children will need to have rails on their beds past the age of 5, as they will likely be too heavy for a toddler bed by this time.

Travel Options

Parents who have not yet transitioned children to a bed without rails should not allow them to sleep in rail-less beds during travel, as the combination of a strange bed and a lack of practice sleeping without rails can be dangerous. Instead, parents should consider inflatable, travel bed rails or ask hotels to make accommodations for them.

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