How to convert a crib into a toddler bed

VD November 11 2021

A baby crib, also known as a cot, can be converted into a toddler bed in different ways. This applies to both the height of the cot and the possibility of converting it to a toddler bed. The latter variant depends on the size of the cot. If there's a chance of converting a cot into a toddler bed, one should pay attention if the distance between the bars or board and the floor is too wide.

The feet of a baby crib can be lifted with wood, bricks, or paper cartons to make it higher. If they're still too short, boards from old drawers might come in handy as well. In order to prevent any scratches on the floor, one could cut out pieces from an old piece of carpeting and place them underneath the blocks or boards before putting them under the crib's legs.

If one doesn't have any spare material at home for raising her baby's cot, she could go to a carpenter and ask him for help with making a new set of legs for the cot. This is, however, very expensive.

A baby crib with drawers might be turned into a toddler bed by removing all the drawers and cutting down one side to make it shorter. If the board is too wide at any point, it should be cut or sawed off. A mattress can still fit inside - but if not, one could always ask for help from a local carpenter again.

It's also possible to turn a conventional baby crib with wheels into a toddler bed if they're removed first. The place where the mattress would have been pushed in will now lie on top of three boards which are inserted between bars everywhere except under one bar which should be left open so that the child can be carried out of his bed.

Lots of parents decide to buy a new, smaller toddler bed with rails for their children. These beds are specifically made for the transition from baby cot to toddler bed and come in different colors and designs. They can also be used as normal single beds if necessary - but it's best not to move on before the child himself is ready for it.

The latter variant is mainly recommended for children who are at least two years old because some medical advice suggests that they should not sleep in a room by themselves until they're older. However, this might vary depending on how fast or slow the growth of each child is individual which means that some toddlers might already be able to make the switch after one year while others will only do so after two.

Children don't sleep as soundly as older people and might fall out of their new toddler bed sooner or later if it's not close enough to the ground and has rails that are too wide (which is not recommended anyway). A child shouldn't be too old when he's moved into a smaller bed with rails - even though he might appear to be very grown-up for his age. Older children who already walk can climb out of the new bed on their own which means one won't have to watch them as closely as before anymore.

In order for a baby cot with high bars to become a full-fledged toddler bed, one will have to saw off all but three bars. These should be left just a few centimeters away from one another so that a child can move his legs and feet around easily when he's in the bed. One should also check if there is enough space between the bars for a small pillow or cushion which will have to be pushed under the remaining bar before the mattress is put on top of it.

This variant does not enable a cot to be turned into a toddler bed immediately - this especially applies to baby cribs with low bars. In order for it to become higher, all one would have to do is cut off four-centimeter strips from each side of an old drawer and screw them onto the crib (with some screws that don't stick out too much). Again, some pieces of carpet might come in handy in order to prevent scratching of hardwood flooring.

When the cot looks much higher, its bars should be sawed off - but not all of them at once! They could always be taken away one by one until the child can climb into his new bed on his own. Again, it's best not to move on too quickly if there's no need to do so and not before a doctor or pediatrician has said that it's okay to take the next step.

The same goes for little children who still use diapers because they cannot yet control their bodily functions properly. It should never be expected from them to sleep without having grown-ups nearby during the first months after moving into a bigger bed with rails unless they are used to it at their daycare center, for example.

Although this article might seem to be against giving children more freedom and independence by having them sleep alone in a room that they barely know, the fact is that one should not get too far away from his or her child if he's still unable to fall asleep on his own after he's been put down in his new bed with rails. One should always be ready to go back into the room and readjust the cover or pillow so that he doesn't get any ideas while lying there and getting more and more worked up about things - especially when he starts having difficulties falling asleep because of all thoughts going through his head at night.

Converting a crib in height

Almost every crib can be converted in height regardless of its size. This means that the slatted frame or floor can be adjusted in height. Depending on the needs and, above all, the age of the child, the mattress can either be positioned at the bottom of the floor or at the top. In many cases, it can also be locked in the middle.

The cot can then be height-adjusted 2-3 times. This has the decisive advantage that your baby is easier for you to reach and can be lifted more easily. Of course, this position is only possible and advisable as long as your baby cannot move and roll independently.

As soon as your child becomes more independent and/or can already stand, the middle position and lower position of the cot are advisable.

When is it the right time to convert a crib into a toddler bed?

As your child gets older, bars on the crib are completely unsuitable because the child is simply too big for them. After all, the little offspring shouldn't be locked up. 

But there is no specific fixed date on which the crib should be banned. Of course, every child is different and so some are struggling with the change, others think it's great and sleep better from now on. As a rough period of time, it can be said that most children are for it from the age of 18 months to 2 years at the earliest. 

However, the cot can also be converted into a junior bed much later if the offspring simply wants or needs the safety and security of the bars. Sometimes the children are only ready for it when they are around 3 years old.

Converting the crib into a toddler or junior bed

Some baby cribs can be converted into junior beds or even cots. These are mostly the larger baby cots measuring 70 x 140 cm.

Conversion to a junior bed: one or both sides of the lattice are replaced by a normal low side part. The result is a junior bed that has a classic appearance and is no longer reminiscent of a baby bed. The lying area is then not increased. Your child then no longer has the feeling of sleeping in a baby bed and can then feel a little bigger. This variant is then ideally suited for the transition period between baby and children's bed.

Conversion to a cot: Some manufacturers also offer constructions in which the crib can be converted directly into a bed - with a lying area of ​​90 x 200 cm. To do this, the head sections of the old bed are combined with large side sections. These side panels are available as accessories and must be reordered separately.

Conclusion on converting a baby crib

A crib that can be converted opens up more options and flexibility in terms of time. Your child can get used to the new feeling of sleep without having to move to another bed. As parents, you gain time, which can be an invaluable advantage when it comes to a new bed, especially when it comes to the design and layout of the children's room.