Floor beds & toddler beds

I am often asked when a child can be moved to a Toddler or Floor Bed.

I am a big fan of floor beds: it allows children more space, respects their right to get up and play if they are not ready to go to sleep and supports their growing independence. Parents can lay next to the child easily for close support and comfort if a child needs this and removes the risk of the baby or child climbing out of their cot and falling.


Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

The idea of floor beds has been around for a long time and is encouraged by the Montessouri ethos: children should have space to move, to be able to explore and be respected. Montessouri believes babies as young as 5 months old are suited to a Montessouri bed, however many parents would prefer waiting until their child is around 18 months. The American Academy of Paediatrics states that the youngest recommended age for floor beds is 1 year. The Lullaby Trust states that all babies under 6 months should be in the same room as the parent or carer day and night for all sleep.

There is no real right or wrong way and there are pro’s and con’s for both beds and cots.

Freedom to play

One concern parents often have is that their child will get out of bed and start playing when it’s time to go to sleep. However, this is rarely a long term problem as the bed becomes a safe and comfortable place to fall asleep as well as giving a sense of freedom. It’s alsos much nicer for the child than looking out through the bars of a crib!


Two children playing pillow fight on a bed
Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

Clearly, safety is of upmost importance if using a proper bed. Here are some points to consider:

  • Have a child safety lock system on the door or a high stairgate that the child cannot climb over.
  • Have a stairgate at the top of any stairs.
  • Ensure that the child cannot access the bathroom alone (this point is, of course, dependent on the age of the child).
  • Ensure there are no choking hazards from toys and ensure any batteries are removed.
  • Ensure the mattress choice is age-appropriate: firm, flat with a waterproof cover. As the child gets older, they may find a softer mattress is more comfortable but I recommend waiting until school age for this.
  • For younger children and babies there should be no soft or bulky bedding.
  • Avoid placing lamps or heavy items which can be pulled over nearby.
  • Ensure blinds and curtains are cordless, cover plug sockets, fix furniture to the wall so it cannot be pulled over or preferably move any furniture out of room.
  • Ensure the mattress is the correct size for the bed and where possible avoid second hand mattresses.
  • Cotton mattresses are best as they help regulate temperature and prevent overheating.
  • Place the bed away from windows and heaters.
  • Turn off any heaters in the child’s bedroom when they are in the room on their own.
  • Parents should be mindful that for children sleeping close to the floor there can be more dust exposure. Therefore, keeping a clean, dust-free environment is important.
  • To reduce risk of entrapment, it is important that a floor bed is 12 inches from the wall and any furniture if there are no sides.
  • If there are slats/spindles they should be no further apart than 2 inches.
  • Avoid placing the mattress directly on the floor as there is an increased risk of mould. You will want to have slats under the mattress so that air can circulate.

Remember: you as a parent will make the choice which fits right with you and your child.

Safety Equipment

www.fredsafety.com is a good place to look.

(I am not affiliated with them in any way so do not receive commission)

Further guidance

For further guidance around safe sleeping please refer to The Lullaby Trust.