Best beds for kids

Sep 15, 2010 at 9:34 p.m. ET

If your child is transitioning from a crib to a bed, or you have decided your teen has outgrown his or her twin bed, find out how to pick out the best bed for your child because a good night's sleep is vital for growing children.

Boys in bunkbedRegardless of the type of bed you buy, make sure you get it from a reputable source. "Always buy from a reputable manufacturer that uses quality materials and steel bolts that have long extensions to ensure they
have a sturdy solid connection," says Kim Gellman of, a store specializing in children's furniture and bedding.

Quick TipLook for beds made of hard wood like maple, birch, or beech, and avoid pine, which is a softer wood that tends to have splinters.

Toddler beds

A toddler bed sits low on the floor and is the same size as a crib, it even uses a crib mattress. Many come with guardrails and are frequently shaped in kid friendly designs such as a train or a race car. These beds are good for kids around age 2 ½ or 3 who are transitioning from a crib.

If your child is resistant to sleeping in a "big boy bed," or a regular twin-sized bed, a toddler bed is a good option. On the downside, kids quickly grow out of toddler beds (most have a weight limit of 50 pounds) and many parents skip them altogether and move straight to a twin bed with attached guard rails.

Twin beds versus full size beds

A full bed measures 54-inches wide while a twin bed measures 39-inches wide; however, they each measure 75-inches long.

"We recommend twin size beds from toddler to middle school and sometimes high school depending on the height and size of the child," says Gellman. "However, some of our customers prefer full size beds to get the child through high school and into college. It really depends on the space options."

One child will be able to sleep comfortably in a twin bed, but for sleepovers, or for adult guests, a twin bed might be a touch too small. If you have the space in the room, a full size bed might be a better option in the long run.

"We also recommend bed systems that can convert from twin beds to low loft, mid lofts, and high lofts, and reverse back to twin beds when needed. This ensures a bed that can grow with the child and adapt to their needs. As the child gets older, they can utilize a higher bunk or loft system with a dresser and/or a desk underneath it," says Gellman.

Trundle beds

Another option for kids is the trundle bed. This is a twin bed that has a trundle stored underneath that easily pulls out for sleepovers. The trundle bed would be a great option when space is limited; however, you will want additional sleeping space for guests.

Bunk beds

Bunk beds are a great option when siblings are sharing a room or for smaller spaces. Plus, kids love climbing the ladder up to their own personal space! When buying a bunk bed, look for drawers and additional storage underneath.

What is the right age for a bunk bed? Consumer Reports says that the upper bunk is safe for kids at least 6 years old. If your child is under the age of 6, make sure he or she stays on the bottom bunk. Also, make sure the ladder is well attached.

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