Toddler Floor Beds: Pros, Cons, and Tips for Parents
Babies grow so fast! Before you know it, your little one will be ready for a big kid bed. At that point, you get to decide which type of bed you want them to sleep on. One option is a toddler floor bed.
To help you determine if this type of bed is the right choice, let's look at its specs and explore some of its pros and cons. We’ll also discuss how and when to transition your child to a floor bed so you’re both ready when the time comes.
Table Of Contents
- What is a toddler floor bed?
- Pros of a toddler floor bed
- Cons of a toddler floor bed
- When to move your child to a floor bed
- How to transition from a crib to a floor bed
- What to look for in a toddler floor bed
- Safe sleep in a toddler floor bed
What is a toddler floor bed?
A toddler floor bed is a bed that rests on the floor or has only a small base. This bed type is historically popular with families following the Montessori philosophy of early childhood development. However, it’s becoming more mainstream as more people choose this option.
Floor beds come in a variety of styles. Some are nothing more than a crib-size mattress set on the floor. Others are frames similar to a toddler bed, except lower to the ground. You can also find house-style beds with a frame, creating a simple roof area you can decorate.
Pros of a toddler floor bed
Some children do well in a bed on the floor. Here are some specific things that parents love about this type of bed.
When your child is in a crib, they depend on you to get them into and out of bed. It’s simply too high for them to maneuver on their own.
However, with a toddler floor bed, your little one can independently climb in and out of bed. This helps boost their sense of self-esteem and confidence.
It also gives them more control over their body and their environment. They can easily access toys and books in their room and climb into bed when ready. Then, when they’re tired, they can get back on their bed and go to sleep without being held.
This autonomy promotes independence and can help foster a sense of responsibility in your child.
With a floor bed, your child is free to move about their room safely and independently. This promotes physical activity and can help them develop essential gross motor skills.
It also allows for more freedom of movement during sleep. Instead of being confined to a small space, your child can stretch and move around to find a more comfortable position.
Works well in a small nursery
The minimalist design of a toddler floor bed can be a space-saver if your baby’s room is on the small side. Eliminating the bulky crib opens up more space for your baby to move in.
Minimizes fall risk
One sign that your toddler is ready to stop sleeping in a crib is being able to climb out over the side. Unfortunately, this places your child in a dangerous situation where they could easily fall and get hurt.
And while a traditional toddler bed isn’t as high as a crib, it is still elevated. A floor bed eliminates the risk of falling since it’s so close to the ground.
Allows you to join them
If your little one wakes up scared from a bad dream, you won’t have to contort your body over high rails to get in bed next to them for a bit.
Plus, you can also use this benefit to your advantage during the day. You can play with your toddler in their bed and make fun memories together.
It also gives you a safe place to practice age-appropriate milestones, like turning pages in a book, stacking blocks, and transferring objects from one hand to the other.
Makes mornings smoother
Instead of your little one screaming for you to come and get them out of bed in the morning, they can simply get off their bed and start playing in their room (make sure it’s baby-proofed first.)
If your mornings are hectic and stressful, this can bring much-needed calm to that portion of the day.
Cons of a toddler floor bed
Of course, this type of bed isn’t for everyone. Here are some things to consider before choosing a floor bed.
Lack of storage space
With a regular toddler bed, there’s a bit of room underneath for storage. If your child is in a small nursery, this can make a big difference. You may need to get creative to find space for everything.
If your little one rolls out of a floor bed, they won’t get hurt as much as if they fell from a regular one. But since this bed promotes independence and gives them more freedom, they may get up at night and wander.
This can be a big concern if you don’t have their bedroom baby-proofed. In addition, if you don’t shut their door at night or put a gate on it, they’ll have access to the whole house.
Provides independence at night with no supervision
Young children don’t have the best impulse control, especially when tired. When they aren’t confined to a crib at night, you might not appreciate the decisions they make.
For instance, they might decide to empty the toy box in the middle of the night or pull out all the baby wipes, one right after another.
That’s why it’s so important to properly baby-proof their room. They’ll be eager to test their limits, which could be disastrous if anything dangerous is within their reach.
Can lead to unusual sleep locations
Your little one isn’t restricted to one location at night on a toddler floor bed. This means they can get out of bed and play with their toys until they’re too tired to make it back to their bed. And then, they might fall asleep somewhere unexpected.
You may find them sleeping on the floor, surrounded by a pile of books. Or on top of their stuffed animals. While this may seem cute, these unusual positions often mean poor sleep. And that can leave you with an overtired, grumpy toddler come morning.
Exposure to allergens
Carpet hangs onto dust and debris. If your little one sleeps closer to the floor, they could inhale potential allergens. That can exacerbate asthma and allergies.
The best way to protect your child from this risk is to buy a hypoallergenic mattress that won’t trap allergens. Look for one that’s GREENGUARD Gold certified so you know it’s made to the highest quality standards and isn’t toxic.
You’ll also want one that’s completely washable, like the Newton Baby Essential Crib Mattress. That way, you can regularly put it in the washer and ensure your little one sleeps in a clean, fresh space.
When to move your child to a floor bed
If you think a floor bed would suit your toddler well, let’s discuss when to move them into one.
Some parents recommend using a floor bed as soon as a baby can sit steadily and crawl around. This is typically between five and 10 months of age. However, there’s a big safety concern with that plan.
Until your child is a year old, they shouldn’t sleep with blankets or pillows. Though many parents use a sleep sack in a crib, this isn’t a safe option for a child sleeping on a floor bed.
If they rolled off the mattress, the sack would restrict their movement too much so they couldn’t get back into bed. Therefore, it’s best to wait until your child’s first birthday to transition them to a floor bed.
You’ll also want to make sure they have the motor skills necessary to get in and out of the bed on their own. This way, they can practice independence and don’t have to wait for you to come and get them out every morning.
The little one in this video demonstrates one way to get out of a floor bed independently:
How to transition from a crib to a floor bed
Transitioning from a crib to a floor bed can be exciting and overwhelming. You may wonder if you’ll spend the entire night convincing your toddler to sleep.
Here are some tips to help ensure you both get the rest you need.
Start with nap time.
No rule says you have to use a floor bed all the time. A great way to introduce your child to the concept is to simply remove the mattress from their crib during nap time and place it on the ground for them.
Then, you can see how it goes and decide if you need to baby-proof your room further or do anything else to the space before making the switch permanent.
Plus, when you try it in the daytime instead of at night, you’ll have more energy to redirect your little one if needed.
Create a safe and inviting space.
Your toddler’s room should feel safe and inviting. Let them help pick out some fun bedding to get them excited about their new floor bed.
Place their favorite stuffed animals and a couple of board books nearby. That way, they have something to do when they wake up.
Once the space is ready, spend time together there before bed. Read a book in their new bed or play a simple game. You want your child to feel comfortable here.
After sleeping in a crib for so long, your little one might be excited about their newfound freedom. They may not immediately settle down on their bed and go to sleep.
Instead of getting frustrated, be patient and consistent. Explain what they can and can’t do when it’s bedtime. For example, you might tell your child they can get off their bed and play quietly in their bedroom, but they can’t try to leave the room or make lots of noise.
You’ll likely need to remind them often for the first few nights, but eventually, your child will adjust to the new normal.
Implement a consistent bedtime routine.
No matter what type of bed your little one uses, a bedtime routine helps signal that it’s time to sleep. Keep your bedtime routine simple. Otherwise, you’re less likely to do it consistently.
Here’s a sample routine to get you started:
- Shut off the screens
- Bathtime, followed by a lotion massage and pajamas
- Eat a quick, nutritious snack
- Brush teeth and have a final diaper change (or a chance to go potty)
- Snuggle in bed with a favorite book
- Kisses and hugs
- Turn off the light
Your child will go to bed feeling loved and cared for — and that’s a recipe for sweet dreams.
Communicate with your child.
No one wants to walk into their room one day and find that their bed has disappeared. Before removing your child’s crib, talk through the process. Use an excited voice to tell what their new bed will look like and chat about how grown-up they’re becoming.
They may not understand everything you’re saying, but hearing the words can help prepare them for the change.
You can also share your expectations for the night and morning. What should your child do when they wake up? What happens if they can’t get back to sleep?
These conversations can help relieve fears and anxiety about the new bed.
Prepare for a sleep regression.
Unfortunately, sleep regressions can occur after a big transition like this. If your little one has trouble falling or staying asleep, they could be experiencing a regression.
If that’s the case, you’ll likely notice some of these other signs as well:
- Refusing to go to their bed
- Clinginess during the day
- Waking up too early
It's important to stay calm when you’re going through a regression. Remember that this is a normal part of your child’s development — they aren’t just doing it to keep you from getting sleep.
So don’t take it personally.
Instead, focus on keeping the room safe so that when your little one is awake at night, they can’t get hurt. You may also want to try running a white noise machine, but keep it out of your child’s reach.
If, after a few days, your child still isn’t sleeping, it’s worth discussing it with your pediatrician. They can rule out any serious concerns and give you a tailored plan for helping your toddler get more sleep.
What to look for in a toddler floor bed
When shopping for a floor bed, you’ll have plenty of options. Consider these points to help narrow down your choices and pick the bed that’ll work best for your little one.
The style you want
Are you planning on just putting your child’s mattress on the floor, or do you want a frame for it? Do you want a house-style bed or a plain one?
You can find a toddler bed to fit your style, whatever it may be.
How much space you have
Though most floor beds are toddler-sized, some accommodate a twin-sized mattress. Think about your available space and pick one that’ll fit well.
While a larger bed might be intimidating for a young child, they will get more use out of it since they won’t outgrow it as quickly. However, the decision about what size is best is personal, so pick the one you think will work best for your child.
Look for a bed with rounded edges and guard rails to keep your little one safe. If you’re worried about your kid rolling around too much, opt for a bed with low sides to keep them in place.
Also, check that the mattress fits snugly. You want to avoid any gaps into which your child could stick their head (or another body part). Entrapment is not something you want to risk.
The firmness of the mattress also matters. Babies require a firmer sleeping surface than toddlers. So, make sure your mattress is appropriate for your child's age. And if you have a 2-stage mattress, only turn it to the toddler side if they are at least a year old.
Your toddler won’t sleep well if their bed is lumpy. They need a comfortable mattress, like the Newton Baby Mattress.
Our mattresses are made with Wovenaire technology that’s 90% air and 10% the same material as yogurt cups. This mixture is breathable, which helps reduce suffocation risk.
It’s firm but comfortable, giving your baby a great place to sleep.
Safe sleep in a toddler floor bed
No matter what type of bed your toddler uses, you must prioritize their safety. Always follow the safe sleep guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Keeping your baby’s bed free from blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals until age one
- Using a flat, firm mattress
- Keeping their bed in a safe location
However, when you have your child in a floor bed, a few additional safety precautions are required. Let’s take a look.
Babyproof your child’s room.
When they’re sleeping at floor level, your child is no longer contained by the four sides of a crib. Instead, they’ll have access to anything in the room.
To keep them safe, take time to:
- Anchor dressers and other pieces of furniture to avoid tipping
- Cover outlets and keep all cords out of reach
- Put a child-proof lock on the door to keep your child from wandering out of the room unsupervised
- Remove any small toys or other choking hazards
You want this entire space to be a safe haven for them. Get down on your hands and knees and examine the room from their level. Look for any dangers and remove them.
Use technology to your advantage.
Baby monitors have come a long way in recent years. Instead of simply hearing what’s happening in their room, a camera lets you see exactly what they’re doing.
Some systems even allow for two-way communication. This way, you can audibly redirect your child without walking into their room.
If your child tends to wander, a door alarm might help. It’ll alert you if your child’s door opens so you know to get up and check. This can bring peace of mind, especially at night.
But technology goes beyond monitors and cameras. You can find gadgets that create a calming atmosphere through light and sound to help your child relax and fall asleep. Most of these can be controlled remotely through your phone.
Other toddler-friendly options include:
- Projectors that put the night sky on the ceiling
- Programmable humidifiers to keep the air moist
- Recordable toys or books that play your voice to comfort your child
Take advantage of the available technology to make bedtime a little easier.
Be extra careful with bed placement.
While cribs and traditional toddler beds can go right next to the wall, that placement isn’t a good idea for a floor bed. Your child could fall between the mattress and the wall and get trapped.
To avoid that, pull the mattress out a bit so there’s room for them to maneuver if they fall. Some parents opt to put the bed in the middle of the room, though that position won’t work well in some nurseries.
Good night, sleep tight!
A toddler floor bed can keep your child cozy at night while promoting independence and self-sufficiency. Use the tips above to select the right bed and ensure your little one is ready to move.
Then, pick up a breathable, washable Newton Baby Crib Mattress and see the joy in your child's eyes as they realize they can get out of bed on their own. A whole new world awaits!