Toddler Beds and Bedding
Once your child gets to be about three feet tall, more or less depending on the height of your crib bars, he may start to try to escape! You'll want to think about making the transition to a toddler bed.
Practical Concerns of Toddler Beds
The biggest adjustment is usually for the parent rather than the child. Kids tend to love the newfound freedom of a bar-less bed! Parents, on the other hand, have to come up with new ideas to keep the child safe and contained.
For safety's sake, you may want to try simply putting the crib mattress onto the floor. There's not much of a fall that way. However, it might be too cold on the floor, or maybe you don't feel comfortable with this. Another option for the transition is to take off the crib bars and place another mattress on the floor next to the crib. I love this technique on the video clip for teaching the child about the freedom of getting into and out of bed independently.
You can use the same idea with a regular toddler bed, putting mattresses on either side to catch the fallout! You could use pillows, or even those nap pads they sell for Kindergartners - you can find them at Wal-Mart. If you have carpeting, you're probably fine without the padding. It's not going to hurt the child to fall out of bed a few times. Mine did it on the hard wood floor and they score high on standardized tests today!
Many toddler beds also come with guardrails to prevent falls. I caution spending too much money on these unless you plan on having a string of children to use it in the future. You may want to consider using a regular twin bed, which is not much taller than a toddler bed if at all.
Shopping For Toddler Beds and Bedding
If you decide to go all out, there are a million cute choices out there. Plan a budget and stick with it because you can really get carried away with all the adorable bedding and coordinating accessories.
Everybody loves Pottery Barn!
If not here are some other great shopping sites:
Another option to pre-made bedding is to go to a fabric store and find something you like. Many times they have workrooms on site to fashion custom bedding for you. If they don't provide sewing services, they can recommend someone. It's always nice to have something unique. You could even have your little one "help" to choose the colors or designs.