Kids’ Beds: A Bed Buying Guide

Kids’ beds come in many shapes and forms. It’s important to consider the different bed options out there and their pros and cons.

This post delves more into some of the important things to consider when buying a kids’ bed.

When should your child move from a cot to a bed?

Most children stay in a cot until they are at least 18 months old. After this time, you may decide that it is time to graduate to a bed - especially if your child has worked out how to climb out of their cot, or you have a younger sibling who needs the cot.

Many parents fear moving their child to a bed because of the risk of them falling out or getting out to explore.

There’s also the fear of disrupting their bedtime and sleep routine - some kids take a while to adjust to a new bed, and you may find that they take longer to settle or regularly wake up in the night and want to come into your bed.

The important thing to remember is that all kids eventually need to move to a bed, and even if you’re not ready for the transition now, you cannot delay it forever.

Good reasons to move your child from a cot to a bed include:

  • They keep climbing out of their cot and are at risk of an injury
  • Their cot is getting too small for them to comfortably lie in
  • You are toilet training them and they need to be able to independently go to the toilet in the night
  • They have a younger sibling who needs to move to a cot

To make the transition less jarring, it could be worth first getting them used to sleeping in their own room in a cot (if they are still sleeping in a cot in your bedroom).

You can then get them familiar with the idea of a bed by showing them pictures, getting them to help choose a bed and possibly even letting them help assemble it by passing you parts or holding tools, for example.

When choosing their first bed, you may then want to consider a toddler bed or a floor bed.

Toddler beds are much smaller in size than regular beds, while floor beds are not raised from the floor, so that there is no risk of your child falling out at night.

You can buy toddler floor beds that are both smaller in size and on the floor. This toddler bed vs floor bed guide explains more about these types of beds. 

When should they move from a toddler bed to a regular bed?

Once children reach 4 or 5 years old, a toddler bed may be starting to get a little too small for them. There may also be less concern over them falling out and hurting themselves because they are so much bigger, making the option of a raised regular bed less of a risk.

There are many more options when it comes to regular kids’ beds.

As with the transition from a cot to a toddler bed, it is worth building up excitement for their new bed by showing them pictures in advance, allowing them to help choose and getting them to help with assembly.

This transition is generally much easier than going from a cot to a bed, however some kids may still find it hard to settle in their new bed if you decide to change their bed without warning. 

Is a bunk bed a good option?

Bunk beds can sleep two kids while taking up the same amount of floor space as a single bed. This makes them a very popular option when moving two siblings into the same room.

When getting a bunk bed, it’s important that both kids are old enough to sleep in a bed.

A younger sibling may be able to transition straight from a cot to a bunk bed, but you may want to make sure that the bottom bunk is not too far off the floor or has some barriers if they are still quite young.

Many kids get excited about bunk beds. Sometimes there can be some disputes as to who has which bunk - in most cases, the eldest gets the top bunk.

Most bunk beds sleep two kids, but you can even get triple bunk beds. These are useful if three kids need to share one room and you don’t have the space for multiple beds.

Is a loft bed a good option?

Loft beds are another space-saving option.

They are similar to bunk beds, but only have a single top bunk - the space below typically contains storage or a desk or is left empty to place furniture of your choice. 

A loft bed can be useful in a small room for opening up more floor space.

There are many different styles of loft bed to choose from - a loft space with a desk below may be more practical for homework or PC gaming, while a loft bed with storage may be more practical for storing away lots of clothes and toys. 

Should I get a double bed for my child?

Double beds don’t just have to be for adults and could be an option to consider if your child has a big enough room.

Some families already have a spare guest room with a double bed in and decide to convert this into a child’s bedroom - it could make sense to keep the bed rather than replacing it with a single bed.

Moving a child straight from a cot to a double bed might be a very big change for a child, but can be done. 

Just consider the fact that they will grow up used to a double bed and may find it harder to adjust to a single bed when sleeping somewhere else.

Many kids eventually want to graduate to a double bed once they reach their late teens in order to feel more ‘adult’.

However, you need to make sure that it is practical - some rooms may simply be too small for a double. 

What are some factors to consider when buying a kids’ bed?

All in all, there are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the perfect kids’ bed:

1. Size

As mentioned above, beds come in many different sizes ranging from a toddler bed to a king-sized double bed.

The appropriate size for a bed will likely be dependent on how much space you have.

When it comes to the height of the bed, you should consider your child’s age.

Loft beds and beds with lots of ground clearance are usually not suitable until a kid is about four years old, simply due to the increased risk of injury if they fall out.

2. Colour and style

Kids’ beds come in so many fun colours and styles. Some are shaped like cars or fairy castles, and some even have slides or sparkly lights attached.

You should of course consider whether a younger sibling is likely to use a bed after, and whether the colour and style is likely to appeal to them.

Buying something fairly neutral in design could be a safer bet if it’s going to be passed down from sibling to sibling.

3. Comfort

The comfort of a bed is largely affected by the size of it and the quality of the mattress, rather than the frame itself.

A bed with sideboards, a headboard and footboard may provide a more sheltered feel for a child that has just transitioned from a cot.

However, you may also be able to surround a bed with cushions to create a similar effect. 

4. Durability

Wooden beds are sometimes favoured for kids because they are generally more durable than metal beds. 

As much as you may try to discourage it, kids will jump on beds and climb them, and so having something robust is important.

You can usually guarantee a longer lasting bed by spending a little extra and by reading user reviews (avoid a bed if there are lots of complaints about it falling apart).

5. Storage

Some beds have in-built storage. This could include drawers underneath or one huge compartment (as is the case with ottoman beds).

Many loft beds have wardrobes and drawers underneath. Of course, a bed with no in-built storage could still provide space underneath for storing items.

6. Cost

Most parents base most of their decision on cost.

A used bed is likely to be much cheaper than a brand new bed (you can even find some kids’ beds being given away for free on Facebook Marketplace), however it may not last as long.

You can save money on brand new beds by looking into finance options. Many bed and furniture stores will offer instalment plans. 

7. Safety

Most kids’ beds are designed to be very safe.

Besides ground clearance, you do not have to worry too much about how safety may vary from one bed to the next.

That said, if you are buying an older used bed, you may want to be a bit more wary of build quality and safety features - such beds are more likely to be flammable or have sharp edges, although this typically only applies to beds that are several decades old. 

8. Assembly

Some beds are fairly easy to assemble, while others are more complicated.

Used beds can be a bit more difficult to assemble as they may not always come with instructions.

That said, assembly of most kids' beds is fairly straightforward. User reviews will usually warn you if a bed is a nightmare to assemble.

More kids sleep tips:

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