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What is the Difference Between a Toddler Bed & Twin Bed?

by Sara Ipatenco, studioD

Many toddlers do, in fact, sleep in a twin bed, but a twin bed isn't the same as a toddler bed. The main difference is size, but there are other differences. Learn these differences so you can choose the right bed for your child, so they will be comfortable and wake up well rested.

Size Differences

Toddler beds are much smaller than twin beds. In fact, the mattress that you used in your child's crib will fit most toddler beds. Twin bed mattresses are obviously much larger than a crib mattress. Most toddler beds also sit lower to the floor than twin beds, which can increase your child's safety if you're concerned that he'll fall off the bed as he transitions to his new sleeping spot. Many toddler beds come standard with elevated sides that also decrease the risk that your child will tumble out of his new bed.

Additional Differences

The majority of toddler beds are themed or painted in toddler-friendly colors or patterns. If your toddler is a car lover, a car-shaped toddler bed is fairly easy to find. Princess-themed toddler beds are also quite common. Other designs for toddler beds include Noah's Ark or a rocket ship. Twin beds, in comparison, aren't often themed and usually come in standard colors such as white, black or wood stain.

Making Your Choice

Space is one issue to consider before you choose your child's bed. Toddler beds take up less space than twin beds, so if your child's bedroom is quite small, this might be the way to go. If your child tends to move around a lot while he sleeps, a twin bed would give him more room to move so he stays comfortable. Your budget is another consideration. If you're short on funds, a toddler bed can cut costs because you won't have to buy a new mattress and you can keep using the crib sheets you already have. A twin bed, however, can last until your child is grown. This can save more money in the end because you won't be paying for a toddler bed now and a twin bed later.

Tips and Considerations

If you opt for a twin bed, let your child pick out new bedding. This will give her a sense of ownership, but it can also encourage her to make the transition to a big-kid bed more readily. If you're worried about safety, install bed rails on the twin bed. The rails are available at most retail stores that sell child gear, and they will help prevent your child from falling off the new bed. Second-hand toddler or twin beds can be cost-effective for your family, but always inspect the bed to be sure it's in good repair before letting your child sleep in it. Make sure it's sturdy, that all the pieces are included and that there aren't any broken parts. Check recall lists to be sure the bed hasn't been recalled for safety issues.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images