The Best Protection for a Child's Bed

By Kristine Tucker
Bed railings can protect children from falls.
Bed railings can protect children from falls.

Young children often need added protection on their beds to guard against nighttime accidents and falls. Protection is especially important for children who are transitioning from baby cribs or youth beds and are still potty-training. Children who sleep on a bunk or loft bed also need safeguards to ensure they won't roll off or tumble overboard during the night. Proper protection can help kids and parents sleep better at night, so you don't worry about unintended mishaps.

Superpower Mattress Covers

Plastic, rubber and waterproof mattress covers and pads are ideal for protecting a child's bed. Even though they won't keep your child from getting wet, they protect the mattress and make clean-up simple and easy. Because these protective coverings aren't typically designed for skin contact, you can place cloth elastic bottom sheets over them for more comfort. You can quickly remove wet sheets and wipe down plastic or rubber mattress covers with non-toxic cleaners. Follow the manufacturers instructions for washing or cleaning waterproof, fabric mattress pads.

Innovative Bed Rails

Young children, kids who sleep on bunk beds or loft beds and those who are wild sleepers might need bed rails to ensure their safety. Bunk beds and loft beds often come with manufacturer-designed railings that fit properly to protect against unwanted tumbles. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests installing guardrails on both sides of a top bunk bed and ensuring that guardrails are at least 5 inches above the mattress. You can also purchase railings for bunk beds or non-vaulted beds that slide under the edge of the mattress and are held in place by the weight of the mattress and the child. Railings don't protect mattresses but they do safeguard against falls, helping parents and children sleep with confidence.

Safe Headboard Slats

Wide-panel railings and wide-slat headboards and footboards can present safety concerns on children's beds. Even though some have interior-design aesthetic appeal, children's beds shouldn't have railing that's so wide that kids could stick their heads through and get stuck. Medium-width slats can also be dangerous for young kids who are barely able to stick their arms or legs through, potentially getting stuck or trapped. Narrow railings and solid-construction headboards and footboards are best for children so they don't get stuck or injure themselves trying to pry themselves free. Making sure the bed is flush against the wall also prevents children from getting caught between the bed and wall or getting an arm or leg stuck between them.

Kid-Friendly Access Points

Climbing up and getting off vaulted beds, bunk beds and loft beds can pose serious risks for children of all ages. Some might attempt to jump off, exit head first or precariously dangle off the edge, hoping to gain leverage using floor lamps or other unstable furnishings. Ladders with sufficient railings, graduated ramps with rails and secure slip-proof miniature steps with appropriate handrails can make it easier for kids to enter and exit their bed areas safely. This is especially important for children who get up in the night to potty, are likely to wander into parent's or sibling's bedrooms or are still half asleep. Safe, secure and convenient ladders, steps and ramps reduce unsteadiness and provide safe entrance and exit points.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.