When your little one is ready to go from a crib to a toddler bed, bed rails can help prevent accidents. Toddler bed rails are long barriers at the edges of a bed to keep a child from falling in the night.
Whether fixed, fold down, or convertible, the best bed rails for kids depend on the bed size, type, and your child’s size. It should also extend the length of the child’s body and be tall enough to secure your child. Toddler bed rails should fit firmly against the mattress with no loose fabric or parts, so your child doesn’t roll into a gap.
- BEST OVERALL: Regalo Swing Down 54-Inch Extra Long Bed Rail Guard
- BEST BUDGET: Dream On Me, Mesh Security Rail
- UPGRADE PICK: ComfyBumpy Bed Rail for Toddlers – Extra Long
- BEST DOUBLE-SIDED: Costzon Double Sided Bed Rail Guard
- BEST MODERN: Munchkin Sleep Toddler Bed Rail
- BEST RAIL FOR SMALL BEDS: KOOLDOO Toddlers Bed Rail Guard
- BEST RAIL FOR BIG BEDS: TotCraft Bed Rail for Toddlers
- BEST BUMPER: Milliard Bed Bumper (2 Pack) Toddler Foam Bed Rail
Types of Bed Rails for Kids
Similar to most other products on the market, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to bed rails for kids. The type of bed your little one sleeps in and the functionality you need in a new bed rail are just two of the things to consider when deciding which type of bed rail works best for your home.
Here are the most common types of bed rails for kids and how they work.
Fixed bed rails stay locked in place and do not fold down, making them a more permanent fixture of the bed until they are removed by a parent. This type of rail typically attaches in the middle, leaving a gap near the child’s head and at their feet. The rail leaves this space for a toddler to get out of bed by themselves. However, it’s not large enough for them to slide or roll out of bed at night.
A fixed bed rail sits on the outside of the mattress. The importance of this design ensures that the bed maintains the full useful width of the mattress without losing inches to the presence of a bed rail.
As the name suggests, fold-down bed rails can be repositioned. These toddler bed rails can fold down when not in use but are locked into an upright position when a child is in bed, providing peace of mind for the parent.
Fold-down bed rails stay upright when in use, but parents may choose to fold them down during the day. Some parents may elect to use it as a fixed rail, but it gives them the option to lower the guard as needed.
A fold-down bed rail is one of the easier ones to keep beds tidy. It folds out of the way when a parent cleans or makes the bed (unlike the fixed model). Most fold-down bed rails attach on the outside of a mattress, so children don’t lose any space in their bed.
Parents who use a convertible crib should look at purchasing a convertible bed rail to help transition a toddler from their crib to a toddler bed. After the crib rail is removed, the convertible bed rail takes its place, keeping active toddlers safe through nap time and bedtime. Convertible bed rails are made for crib-size mattresses, and not recommended for use in a bigger bed.
Some convertible bed rails are telescopic, enabling parents to adjust the bed rail to a safe length for their child’s bed. It’s often used as a tool to help parents slowly acclimate their child into a big kid bed. These toddler bed rails also attach to the outside of the mattress, so they make no difference to the sleeping area.
Think of a bumper bed rail as an oversize and extra-high foam pillow that prevents your child from rolling out of bed. Instead of attaching a bed bumper to the mattress, it installs differently. These toddler bed rails are held in place by a fitted sheet, preventing a toddler from pushing it off the bed through the night.
Bumper bed rails are considered the easiest to install as they tuck under the fitted sheet instead of requiring special attachments to the mattress. These are not as high as other bed rail options, but they’re still a terrific bed rail for older toddlers. Bed bumpers are easy to take along on an overnight trip with your little one. The one drawback would be the amount of space they take up in the bed.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bed Rails for Kids
Adding a new bed rail to your toddler’s bed is a sign that your little one is growing up. They are no longer a baby, but they still require the safety that the best bed rail provides.
The best bed rail has to be compatible with your child and their bed. Parents should consider the type of bed rail they need, the size of bed rail required, and how it’s installed to ensure you’re selecting the bed rail with longevity.
Every child has different needs in a bed rail. Younger toddlers benefit from fixed guardrails, which mimic the familiar structure of their former crib rails. Little ones younger than 2 should not be in a bed with portable bed rails.
Remember that many toddlers are very active and apt to climb. If they consider their bed a play area, they may accidentally harm themselves on a rail that is not fixed securely to the bed. Children may also try to sit on the rail, which becomes dangerous as children get heavier. If this sounds familiar, try to correct this behavior and pick a bed rail that’s solidly attached, just in case.
Many children also like to imitate what they see their parents do. A keen observer with good motor skills may be able to figure out how to unlock a fold-down rail and potentially open it at night.
Older kids are well suited to a bumper bed rail. Younger toddlers who wake through the night may try to climb over it and fall to the floor.
Height and Length
Size is always something to double-check before selecting a new bed rail for kids. A bed rail needs to fit the bed or mattress, as an ill-fitting bed rail is a nighttime hazard.
Consider the height and length of the bed rail that you need in relation to the mattress. Measure the thickness of the mattress to determine where the bed rail will sit to see how tall it will actually be. Thicker mattresses may obstruct the bed rail, so the height of the bed rail needs to be sufficient.
Length also matters. You want to measure the length of your child’s mattress and the length of the bed rail to ensure you select the right size. The bed rail needs to cover the side of the bed, and the gaps must not be large enough for your child to slip through while sleeping.
The right material goes hand in hand with what your child is like and what they need. You want a bed rail of sound structure and materials that are safe.
First, all materials need to hold up to your child’s use. The frame should be made of a solid, sturdy material that can hold up to your child’s weight, such as steel or metal. Plastic can be strong but better used in bed rails for older kids who may not need bed rails for much longer.
For the sides, consider a breathable material. If your child falls asleep against the bed rail you want them to be able to breathe, which is why designs with mesh polyester or nylon siding are so popular. As the siding is made from fabric, find a material that is easy to clean or stain resistant.
Not every bed is made to support a bed rail for kids, illustrating the importance of finding a bed rail that’s compatible with the bed where your little one sleeps. For example, adjustable beds are usually a no-go for toddler bed rails.
Before purchasing a new bed rail, look at the bed where it will be used. Make a list of the features of the bed, including the following: mattress size, mattress thickness, if it has a bed frame or no bed frame, what kind of base the bed uses (slats, wooden board), and whether the mattress is level with the bed frame or not. Read the specifications of the bed rails you are most interested in, and ensure that you can securely and properly attach the bed rails to the frame or mattress.
Ease of Installation
If you can’t properly install toddler bed rails, it is almost as unsafe as not having one at all. The safety of your child relies on a properly installed bed rail. Taking a look at the manufacturer’s online installation instructions or watching their video tutorials of how to properly attach a bed rail should show you what to expect when doing it yourself.
There is no universal installation instruction that suits all bed rails for kids. Some affix to the bed frame, others attach to the slats underneath, and some fasten to the mattress. If you’re looking for the easiest bed rail to install, a bed bumper is the ticket.
Pick a bed rail that you can install confidently, and get help if you are unsure of any facet of the installation.
Our Top Picks
We searched for the best bed rails for kids based on a combination of safety, practicality, and ease of use. Here are our top picks.
At almost 5 feet long and 20 inches tall, this bed rail from Regalo keeps your little one safely in bed. The extra length is good for kids who move around a lot in their sleep. The rail’s steel frame offers a stable protective barrier, and it fits twin, full, and queen beds with box springs.
The rail’s fabric cover and mesh netting are machine washable, and the rail is easy to assemble and install. It swings down when not in use and locks in place when up and in use, so you control when your child gets in and out of the bed.
- Size: 54 by 20 inches
- Material: Alloy steel frame and nylon cover
- Fits: Twin, full, and queen
- Easy to clean with soap and water
- Fits up to a queen-size mattress
- Lightweight and easy to install for sleepovers
- Gap Guard prevents slipping
- Swing-down feature less effective on shorter beds
- Bed requires box spring for installation
Dream On Me’s bed rail is easy to assemble and install without tools, lightweight but durable, and affordably priced. The mesh security rail is designed for twin mattresses. It comes in a range of colors, including pink, blue, gray, and white.
It weighs just 2 pounds, so it’s easy to pack and take with you. Its 10-inch stabilizer bar fits under the mattress, and a reinforced anchor system keeps the bed rail securely attached.
- Size:32.5 by 14.5 inches
- Material: Mesh fabric, metal frame
- Fits: Twin
- Comes in a variety of colors
- Rounded corners for safety
- Lightweight enough to transport, if needed
- Smaller size allows child to get out of bed without assistance
- Does not flip down
- Minimum mattress height of 5 inches, maximum of 10 inches
ComfyBumpy’s quick-install bed rail works with most bed types, whether they’re slats, box springs, or platform beds. Thanks to an extra-large length, it fits on beds as large as a king size. This bed rail attaches tightly to the bed frame, with iron bars that go under the mattress for stability, so it will work with almost any type of bed.
The rail folds down when not in use. Made from a steel frame covered in polyester fabric and nylon mesh, the rail allows for proper airflow. It also has a small storage pocket.
- Size: 59 by 19.5 inches
- Material: Stainless steel, polyester, and nylon mesh
- Fits: Twin to king
- Fits virtually any bed style and size
- Curved pull-down bars leave no gaps
- Flat bars don’t create bulges or issues with the mattress
- Small storage pocket
- Different installation methods depending on bed types
It’s safer to have younger toddlers in a bed with a double-sided bed rail than have one side of the bed pushed against the wall. Costzon’s toddler bed rails have washable mesh covers with high visibility for parents and terrific breathability for kids. Flat bars between the mattress and box spring help keep the bed rails in place without creating unevenness under the mattress. These rails work on virtually all bed types but work better for mattresses that aren’t too thick.
A lift-and-lock joint makes it easy for parents to lower the guardrails through the day, and rounded corners make this set of bed rails even safer for younger toddlers. Available in four color choices, these toddler bed rails can be selected to match a kid’s room.
- Size: 59 by 22 inches
- Material: Steel frame, nylon mesh
- Fits: Convertible crib to queen
- Flat bars eliminate lumps and bumps under mattress
- Tool-free assembly
- Fits most bed types
- Non-angular design
- Not as useful for taller mattresses over 10 inches thick
- Proper installation can be tricky
Munchkin offers a compact, functional bed rail that’s sleeker looking than most toddler bed rails. Its durable aluminum frame is sturdy, and a push-button folding hinge tucks it away. It fits all adult-size mattresses up to queen size and has an easy-to-wipe-down covering.
This rail attaches to the bed with safety straps. It weighs just under 6 pounds, making this bed rail portable to take along, so your little one can sleep safely away from home.
- Size: 36 by 18 inches
- Material: Polyester and aluminum metal
- Fits: Convertible crib to twin
- Rounded edges for safety
- Folds up easily with a push-down button
- “Leans” into the mattress to eliminate any gaps
- Available in a variety of colors
- Can make it difficult to change bedsheets
This bed rail from KOOLDOO can be used on crib beds and larger beds, too. It has a fold-away design to stay out of the way when your child is awake. Its adjustable gear settings allow you to customize the rail height based on the thickness of the mattress. It attaches to the bed with metal rods and a safety belt.
The rail has a steel frame covered in formaldehyde-free fabric and padded with foam, and it’s easy to assemble. It’s also compatible with most types of beds, from platform to box springs.
- Size: 43 by 22 inches
- Materials: Metal, polyester, and foam cotton
- Fits: Single to king
- Easy-to-clean, machine-washable fabric
- Height-adjustable rail to accommodate thicker mattresses
- Folds down for storage, if needed
- Mesh cover is slightly looser than other leading brands
At 59 inches, TotCraft’s bed rail is a good pick for protection in a big bed. This bed rail fits on any bed type and on sizes up to king. It fits different types of beds, including box spring, slat, or platform. The design is load-bearing and fits around the bed frame, so your child won’t feel bars beneath the mattress while they sleep.
The folding design makes it easy for your child to get into bed, and it has a locking latch to keep the rails secure. Assembly is simple, with no tools needed. The rail has a metal frame covered in machine-washable mesh fabric, and it makes a gap-free connection to the mattress for safe and secure sleep through the night.
- Size:59 by 19.5 inches
- Material: Mesh fabric and metal frame
- Fits: Convertible crib to king
- Fits any bed frame type
- Rounded corners to prevent injury or snags
- Doesn’t raise or create bumps on the mattress
- Latch ensures children cannot accidentally open the rail
- Weight from heavier mattresses holds the rail in place better
- Mesh fabric windows not as large as those of other brands
It only takes seconds to install Milliard’s bed bumpers, which is one of their most appealing qualities. Parents only have to position them under the fitted sheet when making the bed. These lightweight bumpers are hassle-free and don’t detract from a room’s aesthetic. Families can even take these lightweight bumper rails on vacation and use them as dividers when kids need to share a bed.
Made with a foam core and a waterproof, washable bamboo cover, this hypoallergenic bed bumper is the coziest option on our list. The flat, nonslip bottom prevents the bumpers from moving, even in beds with active sleepers.
These bed bumper rails generally deter falls but are more intended as a transitional device and sense of security for the child. As the bumper rail is only 4.5 inches tall, kids can still find their way over it at night. These bumpers are best suited to big kids and kids whose beds aren’t far off the floor.
- Size: 52 by 7 by 4.5 inches
- Material: Bamboo
- Fits: Convertible crib to king
- Softer than rails with hard edges
- Waterproof cover protects foam interior
- Can be used as a divider
- Super-easy installation
- Child may roll over bumper and fall out of bed
- Not recommended for young toddlers
The Regalo bed rail guard is ideal if you aren’t sure which bed rail to choose, or if there’s a bed upgrade in your child’s future. Nice looking, safe, and with a reinforced anchor system, this one is a crowd pleaser.
Parenting is expensive, and all the items your child needs will slowly start to add up. Picking a solid budget option like the Dream On Me security rail keeps your child safe and secure without compromising on quality or features.
How We Chose the Best Bed Rails for Kids
We developed our list of recommended products after assessing the top-rated designs on the market and ranking them based on certain criteria.
- Safety is paramount, especially for items used by children. Any bed rail we picked had to pass safety requirements. The best bed rails for kids have virtually no gap between the mattress and the rail, have rounded corners, enable children to breathe properly, and stay secure with proper installation.
- Materials had to be comfortable and safe for children. We looked for materials that are breathable, nontoxic, and stand up to heavy use from a toddler. The materials also need to be easy to clean, with our preference going to machine-washable covers and easy-wipe frames.
- Height and length were assessed for each award category. Of course, rails for toddlers and smaller beds are shorter than rails meant for adult-size beds. Our picks needed to be high enough to still be useful for standard children’s mattresses.
- Brand quality, reputation, and customer service also came into play. We favored toddler bed rails that came from reputable brands with years of experience providing safe products for children.
- Aesthetics aren’t as important as safety and materials, but we didn’t want to select items that took away from a beautiful nursery. Though this feature didn’t rank as high on our list, we thought appearance was worth considering.
Tips for Using Bed Rails
By using our list of purchasing considerations above, you’ll be well equipped to purchase the right size and type of bed rail while keeping in mind any bed considerations you need to think about. Each manufacturer’s bed rail designs are slightly different and though they look similar to competitive products, don’t ignore the instructions.
- After installation, check the bed rails before a child uses them. Roll into it, feel around for gaps, and notice if it’s loose. If anything causes concern, revisit your installation or return the product.
- Do not use toddler bed rails for babies, as they may get stuck in an unsafe position or fall off the bed at either end of the bed rail.
- Before choosing a bed rail, get a sense of how your child sleeps. Spend some time before you go to bed watching how they move in their sleep to understand what kind of bed rail will work best for them.
- Function is more important than appearance. Narrow down which type of bed rail you need for your child’s age, and find one that works with their development.
- If you’re having difficulty installing a bed rail, see if the manufacturer has a video tutorial instead of trying to decipher written instructions.
When it comes to child safety, you can never have too much information. It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out which are the best bed rails for kids, but we’re here to help. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about bed rails for kids.
Q: Are bed rails safe for children?
Bed rails are safe for children as long as they are installed correctly and the product meets the requirements set by health authorities of your country (in the U.S., it’s the Consumer Product Safety Commission). Check the bed rail regularly to make sure that it is still as safe as when it was installed.
Q: At what age do kids need bed rails?
Typically, children transitioning out of cribs and into beds are 2 to 5 years old. When they move into a bed with no sides, that’s when they need toddler bed rails.
Q: Can you put bed rails on a regular bed?
Bed rails can be put on a regular bed; just make sure you pick one that fits the type and size of bed you own. When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s recommended bed size.
Q: Can you put bed rails on a bunk bed?
Bed rails are not needed for the top bunk of a bunk bed or a loft bed, as the top bunk is required to have guard rails in order to be safe. Guidelines recommend not putting anyone younger than 6 years old on the top bunk. Bed rails can be added to the lower bunk, if required; just make sure they fit the bed and mattress.
Q: How do you install a bed rail?
Each manufacturer provides instructions with their toddler bed rails to ensure you install them correctly per their guidelines. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer instructions to ensure a correct and safe fit.
Q: How many bed rails should I put on one bed?
Bed rails are meant to provide safety and security for children, with many parents opting for two bed rails and sometimes more. It is important to use as many as needed, as long as it’s safe to do so. You should not use a wall as a bed rail, as it is dangerous and not secure.