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The Crib to Bed Transition: Setting up the Room for Safe Sleep

crib to bed

Making the crib to bed transition can be exciting and it can be nerve wracking – what will happen when you make the shift? Before you take apart that crib, read our tips on how to prepare for the transition. If you are ready to make the move, here are some tips to set your little one up for safe sleep.

Choosing your mattress size:

A lot of cribs convert to a toddler bed. You might have to purchase the kit separately, or it might come with a “toddler rail” – a shorter side on the front of the crib that is open at the end. If you are not using the crib for another child, then you can make the move to a toddler bed.

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Many parents ask us if they can skip the toddler bed and go straight to a double or queen size mattress. Yes, you can do that if you have the room and you want to.

TIP! Some families opt to take the crib frame out of the room completely and then put the crib mattress directly on the floor until they are ready for a bigger mattress.

Using portable bed rails

Portable bed rails can be very helpful when you first make the transition from the crib to a bed. It can help your child from falling out of the bed, and it can also indicate the boundary for sleep. Some kids toss and turn a lot, and so parents can rest better knowing that they have the rails in place. A bonus for my son, is that it helped to keep his stuffed animal from falling out of the bed.

*Be sure to check the manufacturer recommendation for age requirements. Using the rails with babies younger than the recommended age could result in suffocation.

Placement of the bed

For some bedrooms, there might not be too many options of where you can set up your new bed. Ideally you want to have the headboard against the wall and not the side of the bed. Pushing the side of the bed against the wall increases the risk of your little one being trapped between the side of the matress and the wall. If you need to put the side of the bed against the wall, use a portable bed rail on both sides.

Choosing bunk beds:

Before you head out and invest in bunk beads, read these safe sleep guidelines from Canada.ca

“Bunk beds can be very practical. To be sure that they are safely used, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Children must be at least 6 years old before they can use the top bunk.
  • Children should always use the ladder when getting on or off the top bunk.
  • Only 1 person should be on the top bunk at a time.
  • Only play under a top bunk bed if the lower space is designed by the manufacturer as a play area.
  • Keep large toys or heavy objects off the top bunk. 
  • Never tie anything to the bed. Cords, sashes or ropes can strangle a child.

Most reported injuries from bunk beds are due to:

  • falls from the top bunk;
  • children getting their heads or bodies caught between the mattress and the bed;
  • children becoming trapped between different parts of the bed;
  • strangulation by cords or ropes tied to the bed.”

Secure the furniture to the wall and clear the room

Take a look around the room. Make sure that the dressers and bookshelves are anchored to the wall (you can buy kits at local home building stores). Then take a look at what is left in the room. Is there anything unsafe? Anything that your little one could get hurt on? If yes, take it out – at least temporarily.

Cover cords and outlets

If you haven’t already, be sure to put the outlet covers into the outlets that are not in use. Take a look at your baby monitor, sound machine, toddler clock – anything with cords – and put the cords out of reach.

Be patient

Depending on the age of your child, they might not be ready to understand the freedom or safetly rules that come with a bed. By creating a safe space, with all of the things above in mind, you are setting your little one up for great and safe sleep. Don’t be surprised if they opt to sleep on the floor or on a cushion for the first few days; this is new to them. Before long they will be sleeping well in their new bed.

Jamie Contarini
Jamie Contarini
Jamie is a certified Family Sleep Institute Sleep Consultant with Good Night Sleep Site and Team Manager. Proud Mama of two. Jamie realized that her interest in helping change some of her son’s sleep habits actually turned into a passion and she happily joined the Good Night team with her mission being to help families succeed as she did.

 When she is not working, Jamie enjoys family time with her husband, sons and golden retriever.
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