Transitioning to a Child’s First Big Kid Bed

Updated on May 2nd, 2021
Written by risi

Every parent of a toddler wonders the same things: when is it time to transition my child to a big kid bed? Is my tiny child even big enough for a bed? And what are the best beds for kids? Choosing the right time for the crib to bed transition along with the plethora of bed options available for small children can be overwhelming. You aren’t alone – and we’re here to help. We will break down all of the ins and outs of the crib to bed transition. Soon, you’ll feel better about this new milestone in your toddler’s life.

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How to know if your child is ready for the crib to bed transition:

crib to bed transition

If you’re wondering when to put a toddler in a big bed instead of keeping them in a crib, there are a few telltale signs. One sign that your child is ready for a big kid bed is climbing out of their crib. Once they climb out, the crib is no longer safe as they can fall and injure themselves. Potty training is also a great time to transition your little one out of their crib – they need easy access to the bathroom! You might find that your child has just grown too big for the crib, or maybe you need the crib for a new baby. If you do need the crib for a new baby, make sure to transition your child out of the crib a few months before the new baby arrives. You don’t want them to feel like they have been kicked out of their crib for someone else!

Toddler bed vs twin bed

big kid bed

Your child fits one of the descriptions above and is ready for a big kid bed. Now what? When it comes to beds for toddlers, you have a choice to make: toddler bed vs twin bed. Do you get your little ones a small bed specifically for toddlers? Or go all-in and get them a regular twin sized bed? Opinions vary from “a toddler bed is totally unnecessary” to “we chose a toddler bed for our kid and would do it again!” There are pros and cons to each. Keep in mind that:

A Space-Saver

Toddler beds can be a great choice for those with limited space. How big is a toddler bed? They are smaller than traditional twin-sized beds and will allow for more floor-space for play. Typical measurements are 27 inches wide and 52 inches long for toddler mattresses. It’s also a good option for those with another baby on the way who are concerned about fitting both a crib and a bed in one room.

Easily Accessible

This will be a pro for some and a con for others, but toddler beds are easy for your child to get in and out of. When they need to get out of bed in the night to go to the toilet, toddler beds are lower to the ground and are an easier option for your little one.

Limited Lifespan

Though a toddler bed is small and cute, it is not completely necessary and your child will quickly outgrow it. It may make the transition out of a crib somewhat easier, but at the end of the day, it is another thing for them to transition out of.


Toddler beds will last your child for just a few years. Eventually, you will need to move them to a twin (or full). Many parents opt to skip the extra expense of a toddler bed and go straight for the twin-sized bed.


Kids tend to enjoy the space of a twin-sized bed. They have room for their cuddly stuffed animals, as well as space to spread out and roll around.

How Big Is a Toddler Bed Mattress?

Toddler mattresses are actually the same size as crib mattresses. Avocado sells flippable crib mattresses: one side is for babies and the other for toddlers up to age 4! They have different firmness levels on each side to properly support your little one as he or she grows and develops. These mattresses measure 28” x 52” x 6”. Avocado mattresses are also made with organic materials, so you can feel good having them so close to your child’s skin.

Avocado toddler mattress
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Many parents are afraid of making the leap straight to a twin sized bed. They may feel that their toddler is not yet big enough for a bed, and they are afraid of safety issues such as their child falling out of bed. Many people recommend putting guard rails on both sides of your child’s bed so they can’t fall out. Even if the bed is against a wall, it is a good idea to put up a rail as some toddlers can fall through the crack between the bed and the wall. You can also have your child sleep on a mattress on the floor until you feel they are comfortable in this new sleep environment and will not roll out of bed.

Time for a big kid bed!

big kid bed

It’s time for a big kid bed, which means that now it’s also time to shop! If you have decided to save money (and heartache of multiple transitions) by skipping the toddler bed and going straight for the twin, we have some recommendations of the best beds for kids.

  • The Dreamcloud mattress comes in twin-size and comes with a 365-night trial period. This is great for your little one’s first bed, as you can make sure that it is really right for them. It supports any sleep position, so it will accommodate your child’s sleep needs as they grow, even if they change their sleep habits.  The twin-sized mattress is priced at $599, with free delivery, and an “everlong” warranty.
  • Nectar mattresses are made with all types of people and sleep preferences in mind. The mattress offers optimal comfort, no matter your sleep position. This mattress comes with a lifetime warranty and 365-night sleep trial. This allows you to ensure that your child is comfortable in their first big boy bed (or big girl bed!). The eco-friendly Nectar twin costs just $524.
  • All parents worry about whether their child is too hot or too cold at night – that is where Zotto-Bed comes in. Zotto was launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign generated enough funding. The mattresses are made completely of foam and are very good at regulating temperature, courtesy of the trademark ThermaPhase technology. The twin costs $650 and comes with a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.

Final Words

Beds for toddlers come in all shapes and sizes, and don’t necessarily have to be a “toddler bed.” Whether you ultimately choose toddler bed or twin, either can work for your family when the time comes to move your little one out of the crib. We know that these bittersweet milestones can be almost as difficult for the parents as they are for the children, but know that you’ll all get through it successfully in the end.

risi avatar


Risi is an avid reader and writer with a creative spirit and an eye for detail. She spent years as an in-house writer for a fast-paced startup in the travel industry. In that position, she learned all about the world of content, including writing blog posts, SEO, emails, social media, and more.

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