Transitioning from a crib to a big kid bed is a huge moment—both for a toddler, and their parents. And while we know you’ll never stop worrying about your baby, one way to get some peace of mind at night is to get a bed rail or bumper. And if you pick the right one, you’ll never have to worry about your little one taking a tumble out of bed.
Why Buy a Bed Rail?
When your child reaches a height of around 35” (just under three feet), this is a good time to leave the crib behind. And no matter your baby’s height, if they begin regularly trying to climb out of their crib, it’s a good idea to give a new big kid bed a try.
Bed rails and bumpers are devices you can attach to the side of your toddler’s bed to make sure they stay safe and sound. If your toddler has outgrown their crib, but you don’t feel comfortable leaving them unattended in their new bed just yet, you might want to give a bed rail a shot.
But how do you know what bed rail to buy? There are so many different options; it can be overwhelming trying to decipher which bed rail is the right fit for your family and your needs. Which features really matter, and which are just bells and whistles?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. With this buyer’s guide and list of recommendations, you can shop confidently.
Types of Bed Rails
There are three main styles of bed rails, all with their strengths and weaknesses.
1. Convertible Bed Rails: These are the most similar to a crib. Convertible bed rails are metal or plastic railings you can connect to the side of your toddler’s bed. But as opposed to a crib railing that fastens solidly in place, convertible bed rails can fold down.
2. Foam Bumpers: Foam bumpers are a much more significant change from a crib than convertible bed rails. They are soft foam railings—basically firm pillows that run along the sides of your toddler’s bed.
3. Inflatable Bumpers: These are just what they sound like—bumpers that inflate with air and tuck under the bed’s fitted sheet. But they are much less permanent solutions than foam bumpers, as they need to be regularly re-inflated if you intend to use them every night. Inflatable bumpers are great solutions for families who travel frequently and want reassurance that their toddler will be able to stay put in an unfamiliar bed.
Our Bed Rails Recommendations
I. Best Convertible Bed Rails
Here are our favorite convertible bed rails:
1. Hiccapop Convertible Bed Rail Guard
Weight: 4 pounds 5 ounces
The Hiccapop Convertible Bed Rail Guard is the sturdiest bed rail available, with a solid steel frame anchored to the bed with steel clamps. That means no worries about the rail falling out of place.
The Hiccapop comes together with a quick and easy assembly that doesn’t require any tools. And it folds down so your little one can easily get in and out of bed.
The rail fits all major crib/toddler bed manufacturers besides IKEA.
|Sturdy construction||Can be difficult to fold|
|Versatile—fits on most major cribs||Doesn’t work on regular mattresses|
|Extra tall railing helps with active sleepers|
2. ComfyBumpy Toddler Bed Rail Guard
Weight: 5 pounds 12 ounces
The ComfyBumpy Toddler Bed Rail Guard has three different attachment methods, with velcro, straps, and screws. That means it can securely fasten to just about any style of bed.
Flat bar design gives full, secure protection, without your child feeling the bar through the mattress. That means maximum comfort for your little one.
|Comfortable design||On the expensive side|
|Compatible with nearly all bed frames||Can be tricky to fold up and down|
|Breathable mesh padding|
|Easy to install|
3. Regalo Swing Down Bed Rail Guard
Weight: 5 pounds 5 ounces
The Regalo Swing Down Bed Rail Guard is a budget-friendly bed rail guard that is still very safe and sturdy. It is made with a solid steel frame and has an anchor strap that securely attaches to the other side of the bed.
It is the tallest bed rail of any variety on our list, so it’s sure to keep even the most active sleepers safely in bed through the night. The mesh cover is easily removable and washable, so it’s a breeze to keep the rail clean.
The Regalo Swing Down is compatible with twin to queen size mattresses and requires a box spring for proper installation.
|Affordable||Only compatible with a narrow range of beds|
|Particularly tall||Sturdy frame, but the mesh cover is not as durable|
II. Best Foam Bumpers
The following are our favorite foam bumpers:
1. Hiccapop Toddler Bed Rail Bumper
Weight: 12 ounces
The Hiccapop foam bumper is soft and comfortable and is responsibly made. It is easy to install and completely free from harmful chemicals.
As opposed to larger, more intrusive bed rails, the Hiccapop foam bumper gently nudges your little one when they get close to the edge, causing them to roll back to the middle of the bed naturally.
It is water-resistant, with an easily washable cover, meaning you will have no trouble making it last.
|Easy installation||On the small side—very active sleepers could roll over them|
|Very durable||The bumper is known to slide|
2. UBBCare Memory Foam Bed Rail Bumpers
Weight: 5 pounds
The UBBCare bed rail bumper is made from memory foam, making it the comfiest option available on the market. The anti-skid design means you can rest easy knowing it will stay put, and it couldn’t be easier to install or adjust. It works just as well on top of or underneath bedsheets.
The UBBCare Memory Foam bumpers are certified non-toxic, bacteria-resistant, and come with machine-washable covers.
|Extremely comfortable||Can create a “hammock effect” when placed under a fitted sheet|
|Adjustable/easy to install||On the expensive side|
|Machine washable covers|
3. Modvel Toddler Bed Rail Bumper
Weight: 1 pound 12 ounces
The Modvel foam bed bumper fits any size bed. The foam is hypoallergenic and free of any toxic chemicals. It is durable, water-proof, and has a removable, washable cover.
The Modvel’s gentle raised-foam edges nudge your little one back away from the edge, without disturbing their sleep. It fits comfortably under fitted sheets, and it is easy for your child to climb over at bedtime.
In all, the Modvel Toddler Bed Rail Bumper is a reliable, mid-market option at a very competitive price.
|Fits any bed size||Bulky/can take up a lot of space in smaller toddler beds|
|Durable||Can be slippery|
4. Tebery Toddler Bed Rail Bumpers
Weight: 2 pounds 8 ounces
The Tebery Toddler Bed Rail Bumper is made from soft, comfortable high-density memory foam. The cover is 100% waterproof and easily removable for washing. The bed bumpers themselves are made without toxic chemicals and are hypoallergenic as well.
These bumpers are a touch on the small side. That means they fit smoothly under fitted sheets and are no problem to climb over at bedtime. They are even foldable, making them a breeze to bring along on trips or vacations.
|Convenient size||Too small for particularly active sleepers|
|Comfortable memory foam||Can be slippery|
|100% waterproof cover|
III. Best Inflatable Bed Rails
Here are our favorite inflatable bed rails:
1. Sunnyglade Portable Bed Rail Bumper
Weight: 2 pounds 5 ounces
The Sunnyglade Portable bed Rail Bumpers are sturdy and convenient, and sure to keep your child in place throughout the night. Their air-tight construction can support up to 220 pounds without a leak, meaning you can rest assured that the bumper will be just as inflated when you wake up as it was when you put your child to bed.
The bumper is soft and gentle, keeping your little one safe without waking them up. And it even comes with a convenient carrying case, making it a perfect option for travel.
|Easily portable||Must be regularly reinflated|
|100% Waterproof||The included air pump has received poor reviews|
|Fits any size bed|
|Sturdy design can withstand 220 pounds|
2. Hiccapop Inflatable Bed Rails
Weight: 2 pounds 3 ounces
The Hiccapop inflatable bed rail comes with cutting-edge design to ensure it stays put on the bed. While most bumpers rely solely on non-skid surfaces, the Hiccapop inflatable bumper also uses an extension flap so that your child’s weight anchors it in place.
The bumper itself is fully waterproof, and the cover is made from water-resistant nylon, meaning it will easily stand up to accidents and spills.
The Hiccapop inflatable bumper comes with an easy-inflate valve and deflates quickly with the flip of a switch. It is puncture-proof and leak-proof, and safely made with no toxic chemicals.
|Safely anchors to bed||Does not come with an air pump|
|Thick, sturdy design||On the expensive side|
3. Shrunks Inflatable Bed Rails
Weight: 1 pound 5 ounces
The Shrunks Inflatable Kids Bed Rail inflates in 30 seconds with minimal effort, thanks to its handy foot pump. And with its large release valve, it deflates just as quickly for easy packing and storage. The smaller size leaves plenty of room for your child in the middle of the bed.
It holds in place with grip strips on the bottom of the bumper. It comes with a portable travel case to take with you on the go. And you can be secure in your purchase thanks to the 30-day money-back guarantee and lifetime warranty.
|Easy to inflate; foot pump included||Smaller size makes it easy to roll over for particularly active sleepers|
|Non-intrusive size||Must be regularly reinflated|
What to Look For when Shopping for Bed Rails
There are a wide variety of factors to consider when shopping for a bed rail. When your baby’s safety is in question, it’s essential to get this purchase right. Here are a few of the most important things to consider:
How Tall is the Rail?
Bed railings can vary dramatically in height. Bumpers especially can sometimes be somewhat close to the bed. If your child is a particularly active sleeper, it’s crucial to get a taller rail. Active sleepers can roll right over lower bumpers.
If your baby is a sound sleeper, we recommend using a foam bumper. But if they are active at night, it’s probably best to go with a convertible rail and a particularly tall one at that.
What Is The Rail Made From?
The importance of the bed rail’s material is two-fold. First of all, the higher quality material from which it’s made, the more durable it will be, and the longer it will last. If you want one bed rail to last the entire time your child is transitioning to their big kid bed, be sure to look for one made from solid, durable materials.
Second, you must get a rail that isn’t manufactured with any harmful materials. The bed rail is going to be in your child’s bed after all, and many plastics can leach toxic chemicals. Every item on our list meets all necessary safety standards in this regard.
Does it Have a Sturdy Hinge?
Convertible bed rails can fold down and out of the way. That is convenient around bedtime and helps your child learn how to get themselves in bed. But the last thing you want is for the rail to fall down in the middle of the night. Make sure you look for a stable, sturdy hinge when shopping for convertible bed rails.
Is it Compatible With Your Bed frame?
This last factor is purely practical. Foam bumpers and inflatable rails are simply placed on top of the mattress so that they will work with any bed. But convertible bed rails need to be fastened onto the bed frame itself. You don’t want to buy a bed rail and then find out that it isn’t compatible with your toddler’s bed.
Make sure you check this off the list before you make a purchase.
The Final Word
Bed rail bumpers can be a tremendously useful product to keep your child safe as they make the jump from a crib to a big kid bed. And with so much at stake, and so many options to choose from, this can be a stressful shopping experience. But if you follow this guide, you’ll know exactly what to look for.
You can shop confidently, knowing you’ll find the right bed rail for you and your child.
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