Toddler bed guards: Which one should you buy?

Toddler bed guard

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

A bed guard is quite literally a guard for the side of your toddler’s bed. They are mainly used when your toddler first moves from their cot to a bed. They can help your little one get used to a bed after moving from a cot with the safety of four solid sides, to suddenly find themselves in a bed with no sides at all.

Normally they’re smaller than the whole length of the bed and you should place them in the middle of the side of the bed.

We all know how much little ones can wriggle and move while they sleep, so a bed guard protects against your child tumbling out of the bed and onto the floor. Even if you’re using a small toddler bed, which is closer to the floor, falling out of bed can still cause a shock and potentially cause harm.

Read next: Best baby gates: the best budget, tall and wide baby gates on the market

When do you use a toddler bed guard?

Most bed guards are aimed from about 18 months up to five years, although it totally depends on how you and your child adapt and get on with them. Some children don’t need one or use one for a few months before you take them off, while others like the security and safety for much longer.

Expert advice about bed guards

We spoke to parenting expert Fi Star-Stone about bed guards. She said:

"Bed rails are aimed for children aged two to five years old, and are perfect for little ones moving into a big bed because they not only offer safety - they offer security too.

"Bed guards are a nice gentle way of reassuring little ones who have moved from the four-sided safety of a cot into a single bed.

"I would always advise investing in a bed guard, as leaving the safety of a cot and going straight into a bed with no sides can sometimes lead to accidents. You can remove the guards once you think they are used to their bed and not likely to roll out.

"Ensure bed guards are fitted correctly to avoid the danger of little ones getting trapped down the side.

"Put one side of the bed to the wall if possible for added security - but ensure they can still get out of bed if they want to (the guard is to stop them from rolling out of bed, not getting out of bed)."

What type of bed guard should I buy?

There are various types of bed guards available, from fabric to solid, from temporary and moveable to more permanent.

Most bed guards are made from fabric or mesh, meaning they’re softer when your little one sleeps up against them. If you choose a fabric or mesh bed guard, always make sure they’re breathable. Wooden bed guards act like rails, very similar to the sides of a cot. They're not so popular these days, and we haven't actually featured any in our shortlist.

Make sure you measure your toddler’s bed before you buy a bed guard, and check with the manufacturer that it is suitable. Read up on the instructions for how it fits, and double-check that it will work with your bed.

Also, consider where your toddler’s bed is in the room. Do you need two-bed guards, or is one side up against the wall?

Related: The best duvets for toddlers

When looking at the height of the bed guard, compare it to the height of the mattress – if you have a thick mattress, the guard might not give as much protection as you expected.

Helping your toddler make the move from cot to bed can be challenging - be sure to read our advice and 10 tricks to successfully move your toddler to a first bed.

The best toddler bed guards you can buy today

Suitable for slatted beds, this bed rail is easy to fit and folds down, meaning your little one can get into bed with the guard in place. The instructions suggest this isn’t suitable for a divan bed, which is also what a lot of reviewers mention – the mattress needs to sit lower than the frame, with the guard sitting against the lip of the frame.

You can expand and contract this, meaning it’s easy to store or take with you if you’re staying overnight elsewhere. It’s made of breathable mesh, making it comfy and functional.

This has more than 20,000 ratings on Amazon, with an average score of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

  • Size: L101 x W37 x H42cm

  • Weight: 2.7kg

  • Suitable for beds that are a minimum length of 156cm with mattress depth between 10cm and 24cm

Review: "This is just what I needed for my daughter to feel freedom and not feel trapped inside a cot, this fits on my daughter's cot bed perfectly I would highly recommend."

Made from lightweight steel and covered in nylon, we like how easy this BabyDan bed guard folds up. It’s easy to assemble and fit to the bed, sliding under the mattress, and can be used with slatted wooden beds as well as divans. It comes with a useful travel bag, too.

Do pay attention to the height of the bed guard, and make sure there’s enough clearance when you fold it down – if your toddler’s bed is low to the ground, you might find it doesn’t fold completely before touching the ground – this can make it tricky for little ones to climb in, or for making the bed.

  • Size: L90 x W37 x D4cm

  • Weight: 2.75kg

  • Wipe clean, zero assembly required

Review: "I have purchased three of these! I have five grandsons! The rails are easy to fit, and efficient and make the boys feel comfortable going from cot to bed! Also folds away so very convenient to take when going on holiday!"

This toddler bed guard is suitable for wooden slatted bed frames, or flat beds like divans. It comes with a storage bag, handy if you’re taking it to a friend’s house to sleep over.

Constructing the bed frame is pretty simple, clicking together the poles, and feeding the mesh cover over them – akin to erecting a tent, some might say – there’s a video you can watch if you need assistance. It folds down easily when in place on the bed, meaning your little one can climb into bed with ease – plus it helps when tucking in sheets and blankets, and it doesn’t have to get in the way for storytime.

It also features what the brand calls ‘safety anchors’ to keep the bed guard in place, attaching to the sides of the bed. It has over 2,400 ratings on Amazon, scoring an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

  • Size: L45 x W41 x H9cm

  • Weight: 2.6kg

  • Machine washable cover, available in a range of colours

Review: "Fits perfectly on my Malm ottoman double bed. My little girl sleeps right up against it and it's so sturdy. Ideal that it folds down for during the day would definitely recommend it for safe co-sleeping."

Lindam is a well-known brand when it comes to safety products for children. This bed guard is suitable for wooden slatted beds and divans and folds down easily to allow your toddler to climb into bed. It’s available in grey, pink, and blue colourways.

Some buyers have said it’s a little tricky to assemble, so make sure you read the instructions; also, it can make a creaky noise when folding and unfolding – the sound of the fabric stretching.

  • Size: L52.2 x W9 x H27cm

  • Weight: 2.5 kg

  • Suitable for beds with mattress widths of 76cm-90cm and mattress lengths from 150-200cm

Review: "Excellent bed guard, easy to assemble, the folding front panel is much easier than the bed guards with fixed front panels. We use this both in the house and in the caravan - very versatile."

If you're after a bed guard that's a little more solid, this basic wooden guard fixes to the side of the bed, though it's not suitable for cribs and upper bunk beds. It easily clicks on and off the bed frame and is suitable for tots from 18 months. As it is solid, we'd recommend this for home use, rather than on the go - it won't fold down or collapse for compact storage.

  • Size: L90 x H44cm

  • Wipe clean only

  • Suitable for all beds except cribs and upper bunk beds

Review: "I wasn't sure how this would work but it's excellent - and not too difficult to move down the bed for bedtime story eg for an adult to sit up by the pillow and read to a child. No disadvantages I can think of!"

This bed guard can be used with slatted beds or divans - suitable for single beds, no larger. With a child safety lock, you can be safe in the knowledge your little one is tucked up in bed without the risk of falling out. The safety poles reach under the mattress and can be adjusted to suit different mattress widths.

As a cheap and cheerful option, 91 per cent of Argos customers recommend it, and you'll be pleased to hear it comes in pink and blue colourways too, and options for wide single beds.

  • Size: L92 x H46cm

  • Suitable for divans and slatted bed bases

  • Fits beds L150cm-200cm by W75cm-90cm

Review: "Bought this as grandchildren now outgrown the cot. It was a bit fiddly to get the straps under the mattress (it took 2 of us) but once in place, it was very secure. It is a good size and I am pleased with it."

Available in grey, dark grey, white, and natural wood, this bed guard is seriously quick and easy and install. Simply slot the anchor section beneath the mattress and you're good to go. Suitable for most cot, single, and double beds, we particularly love that despite it being wooden, it can be folded down for easy storage. Perfect if you want to be able to store it out the way and store it for your next child when your toddler outgrows it.

  • Size: L110 x H38cm

  • Weighs 3.1kg

  • Fits most beds - ensure the bed rail is min. 16cm taller in height than the mattress and min. 50cm shorter than the length of the mattress.

Review: "I am very happy with this barrier. It's sturdy, moves a bit, but it's expected since it is only held by a mattress (mine is very heavy). My son jumps on it and it's keeping him safe. My mornings are much better since we bought this."

Designed to automatically lock once in the upright position, this bed rail is extra-large and ideal for larger children's beds. Measuring 150cm in length, it fits beds with a mattress that measures 200cm in length and 9-24cm in thickness. It's stable and secure thanks to the wide frame that sits beneath the mattress.

Rated an average of 4.6 out of five stars from over 8,000 reviewers on Amazon, customers found it great for double or king-sized beds.

  • Size: L150 x H40cm

  • Weighs 2.55kg

  • Fits children's beds with a mattress that measures 200cm in length and 9-24cm in thickness

Review: "I purchased two of these bedrails to transition my 2-year-old from cotbed to double bed. I was very nervous about her climbing out of the bed and injuring herself. As these rails almost went the length of the bed it’s almost as though she assumed that the end was just a larger version of her cot. She has not once fallen from the cot and doesn’t try to climb the rail. Happy Mommy here!"

What about toddler bed bumpers?

You can also buy bumpers for toddler beds, including some inflatable bumpers, which work in a different way to bed guards. They generally fit on top of the mattress and offer bumpers down the sides of the beds. However, we haven’t included them in our roundup.

There is advice against using bumpers – especially when it comes to cot bumpers – so we have focused purely on guards and rails. Read more advice from the Lullaby Trust about not using cot bumpers here.

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