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Is a Floor Bed Right for Your Baby or Toddler?

Considerations, Safety & How-To 


So, you’re considering a floor bed...


If you're contemplating transitioning your baby or toddler to a floor bed but feel uncertain about whether it's the right move, you're not alone. I recognise the significance of making well-informed decisions regarding your child's sleep environment. 


In this blog, we’ll dive into the different factors you should consider prior to making the change. We'll also cover how to ensure your space is set up safely and provide practical tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.  


Let’s get to it! 


Why you might consider transitioning to a floor bed: 


There are quite a few valid reasons that parents consider transitioning to a floor bed. Some of the common reasons are: 

  • They have a physical difficulty with transferring to a crib/cot.

  • Their baby doesn't transfer to their crib/cot well. Ever or recently.

  • They wish to transition away from bedsharing, either all or some of the time (a floor bed can be a great tool to make this easier!) 

  • Their toddler has learned to climb out of their crib/cot

  • They feel like trying something different


Age considerations:


Contrary to popular belief, there is technically no minimum age for introducing a floor bed. However, it’s potentially easier to use a bassinet or bedside sleeper until 4-6 months of age. 

It's important to note the recommendations of safe sleep guidelines, which advise room-sharing with your infant (day and night) until they are 6-12 months old. These recommendations differ depending on where you live. Be sure to check safe sleep guidelines in your region for most current information. This may be especially relevant to you if a floor bed cannot fit in your room. 


Whatever their age, you need to be mindful that different ages carry different risks and considerations - and set your bed and space up accordingly. 


Safety guidelines for babies (birth - one year)

 

When selecting a mattress for your baby's floor bed, opt for one that offers firmness in accordance with safe sleep guidelines for cot mattresses. You’ll want to position the mattress in the middle of the room, away from walls. This can help mitigate the risk of entrapment.


As your baby becomes mobile, you need to ensure that you baby proof the ENTIRE room - top to bottom. Removing any risks or hazards. While they will likely call for you if they wake, you need to act as though they may crawl or move around their room on their own. 


Avoid any loose blankets or pillows, just as you would in a crib. Per Red Nose Australia, a comforter is okay after seven months of age. Although, in some other areas around the world such as the United States and Canada, it is advised that baby does not have a comforter (or anything else) in their sleep space until one year of age. 


Safety guidelines for toddlers:


If you’re moving your toddler to a floor bed and are concerned about them falling out, you may opt for a floor bed frame with sides. Alternatively, you could place a soft rug or mat beside/under the bed just in case. The great thing about floor beds is that they are inherently close to the ground and the risk of any injury, even if they do fall out is unlikely. I mentioned this above but it warrants being said again: Ensure the entire room is thoroughly childproofed. 


Tip: After you safety proof the room, get down on your baby or toddlers level. Look at the room from their view to see if you notice any other potential hazards. 


Do keep in mind, pillows and loose blankets/doonas are not recommended until two years of age. 


Safety proofing your baby or toddlers room (not an exhaustive list): 


-Mattress in middle of room for babies 

-Long side of mattress at least one foot away from the wall for toddlers (again, to decrease risk of entrapment) 

-Windows locked 

-No loose electrical cords 

-No loose phone chargers 

-No loose curtain cords 

-No wall art/decorations that baby or toddler could pull down on themselves 

-Furniture anchored to the wall

-No toys that could be a potential hazard/choking hazard

 

Practical tips for transitioning your baby or toddler to a floor bed:


First remember, this is likely a big change for your little one! And change is generally hard for all of us. Even so, there are ways that we can make the transition a bit easier for everyone. 


First, begin by introducing the floor bed (and in some cases, the new room!) during the daytime. Spend time playing in the space so they can get comfortable and begin to have a positive association with it. 


During the day, practice getting on and off the floor bed. While they are low to the ground, it’s still good practice to show them how to get on and off if they need to. 


Once they’re comfortable with the space, start by napping in there! If possible, plan to stay with them the first few days. This way when they wake, you’re there and they know they’re safe.

 

If you have an older toddler (2 years +), involve them in the process wherever possible. Toddler’s love having some autonomy and will get excited to help pick out bedding or a new toy for the space. 


If you are using a floor bed to transition away from bedsharing (which is a great idea!), consider putting the floor bed in your room first, if you have the space. If you don’t have the space, plan to stay with them for the first few nights - or however long you think they’ll need to feel comfortable in their new space. Remember, you know your child best. Gradually, leave them in their space for longer periods and go to them when they call. 


Additional tips and recommendations:


If space permits, opt for a bigger mattress so there is room for you and your child if needed. 

Choosing a bed frame that slightly elevates the mattress from the floor can promote better air circulation, reducing the risk of mold growth. If you are using a mattress that is directly on the floor, be sure to lift it up and air it out frequently.  



If you are moving your older toddler to a floor bed, it might take some time for the novelty of their new found independence to wear off. It is generally never as much of an issue as we fear, but it is possible you'll find them getting out of bed. Be patient and know the exact trajectory can vary depending on your baby or toddler - but they all get there, in time!


Tip: If your toddler isn’t getting out of their new bed, don’t bring it up! It may not even cross their mind. 


Will you transition to a floor bed? 


Overall, the decision to transition your baby or toddler to a floor bed requires consideration of various factors, including age, safety guidelines, and whether you are up for helping them through the change at this time. 


Remember, every child is unique, so be patient and adaptable as you make the transition. How long this change takes to become their new normal will depend on things like age, temperament and personality. 


Hope this helps! 


Jess





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