Bed rails help toddlers transition from crib to bed.

How to Pick the Right Crib Bed Rail

by Hillary Marshall

When your child is ready to transition from his crib to a regular bed, you will need to select a bed rail. A bed rail is used to keep your child safe and secure in his bed, so he does not get injured rolling out of the bed and onto the floor. There are a few guidelines to follow that will help you choose the best model for your child’s situation.

Decide on the number of bed rails you need. If your child’s bed is against the wall, you only need one rail. If it is not against the wall, you either need two rails, or a double bumper. Double-sided bed rails are also an option.

Measure the length and width of your child’s mattress using a tape measure. When shopping for bed rails, make sure the rail is long enough to prevent your child from rolling out. Also make sure the rail extends far enough under the mattress to prevent it from falling down.

Decide whether you want a rail that spans the entire length of the bed, or one that leaves an opening toward the foot of the bed. The opening makes it easier for your child to get in and out of his bed. If you child is a wild sleeper, a rail that spans the length of the bed is ideal. Some bed rails can extend, so you can shorten or lengthen them when needed.

Choose a rail that will fit securely against the mattress so your child does not get stuck between the two. This may require you to buy the rail and test it with your toddler’s bed. If there is a gap between the mattress and the rail, return the rail and try a new one. Bumper rails are ideal because they have no gaps.

Look at convenience features. Some bed rails have a pocket for storing a child’s favorite snuggle toy or a remote control. Some fold down so your child can get in and out of his bed easily.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure


  • Never use a secondhand bed rail as it may have been recalled. Check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Consumer Reports for recalls and to make sure your model is safe.


About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images