- The toddler bed versus twin bed debate should be decided based on what is right for your family
- Toddler beds are shorter, narrower and lower to the ground, reducing the impact of falls.
- Twin beds are a better long-time investment and offer more versatility.
Are you here because you’re exploring your options for your toddler once it’s time to move on from their cot?
Maybe they are climbing out of their cot . Maybe they’re insisting it’s time for a “big kid” bed and flat-out refusing to sleep in their cot anymore. Maybe they just seem too big for it and are forever bumping into the rails in the night.
Whatever your situation looks like, you’re entering the toddler bed debate. Do you put them in a toddler bed, or do you move straight on to a twin bed? There’s no one correct answer, but an entire catalogue of pros and cons when we’re talking toddler beds versus twin beds.
So, we’ll clarify those pros and cons here for you, and you can decide which ones are most relevant for your family in order to make your decision.
What is a toddler bed?
A toddler bed is the bed option that sits between a cot and a twin bed (also widely known as a single bed).
The specific features that makes it a “toddler” bed are:
- A shorter length than a twin bed (around 130cm is standard)
- A narrower width than a twin bed (around 70cm is standard)
- Usually has guard rails built in
- Is lower to the ground than a twin bed
Pros of toddler beds
Save money on a mattress
Because toddler beds often suit the same mattress size as a cot, you will not need to invest in a new mattress, unless you have a new baby to occupy the cot.
Potentially an easier transition
As toddler beds are a similar size to their cot, it may be a less daunting transition than putting them in their own “big kid” bed straight away.
Save on room
Being smaller, toddler beds also leave more space for active play. This can be appealing for those living in smaller homes and apartments particularly.
Convenience and safety
When we’re looking at toddler beds versus twin beds, toddler beds do have some advantages when it comes to safety. Toddler beds are designed so that the mattress sits closer to the ground than a twin bed mattress. This makes it easier for your toddler to climb in and out when they are sleepy, but it also reduces the impact of any falls that may occur.
Cons of toddler beds
Unless your cot converts into a toddler bed, it is an additional purchase that may only be used for a couple of years (sometimes not even that long, depending on your child). If finances are tight, a toddler bed may not seem like a great option.
What is a twin bed?
A twin bed is also called a single bed. It is the smallest bed size that is still full-length and so can be slept in from childhood through to adulthood.
The specific features that make it a “twin” bed are:
- A length to suit a single mattress of 188cm
- A width to suit a single mattress of 92cm
Pros of twin beds
If you skip over the toddler bed and transition straight from cot to twin bed, there are a couple of clear benefits.
You don’t have the cost of buying a toddler bed. Some people feel like this is a needless expense when your child will eventually end up in a twin bed anyway. You could even choose to use some of the money you would have spent on a toddler bed to invest in a better quality mattress for a twin bed.
Reduce the number of sleep transitions
You also reduce the number of sleep transitions your child will go through by skipping the toddler bed. For some little ones, transitions can prove to be disruptive times. If the idea of transitioning into a toddler bed, only to transition again to a big bed within a couple of years is too overwhelming, then going from cot to twin bed may be the answer.
Versatility for the family
When we’re talking toddler bed versus twin bed, a twin is a much more family friendly option. In some households, where the kids tend to end up in mum and dad’s bed most nights, one parent may seek out somewhere else to sleep for the sake of comfort. If there’s no “spare room” for them to occupy on those nights, that parent is going to end up sleeping in one of the kids' beds. If you only have a toddler bed, then that just isn’t going to work for them!
A twin bed also provides enough space for a parent to hop into their child’s bed for storytime and snuggles, or if they need comfort when they are sick.
Depending on your choice, twin beds can offer much more versatility when it comes to aesthetics too. That means your little one may be able to sleep in it from toddlerhood right up to teenage years. Therefore it’s a better financial investment than a dedicated toddler bed.
Some twin beds come with storage drawers fitted underneath or even a coordinating trundle bed that rolls under it. If you are looking to get some extra value out of a bed, then a twin bed certainly provides more options long-term.
Cons of twin beds
Doesn’t automatically come with guard rails
Twin beds don’t generally come fitted with guard rails, although you may be able to purchase them as a package with removable guard rails, depending on the retailer. Otherwise you will need to purchase generic guardrails for the bed if you are worried your toddler may roll or fall out of bed.
Extra cost of bedding
When you purchase a twin bed, your cot sheets and blankets won't fit it. That means you’ll be up for all new bedding.
Tips for bed transitions
No matter what you decide in the toddler bed versus twin bed debate, it’s important to make sure the transition for your toddler goes well.
It’s also a good idea to prepare for the transition by explaining to your toddler what will happen , and even read books to them about transitioning out of the cot.
You could also include them in the decision of which bedding to buy, so they feel as though they have some say in the situation.
We wish you luck with your decision - and the transition!