When is a Guardrail Required

baby at the edge of the crib

Toddlers tend to move around in their sleep a lot, and sometimes they do fall out of their beds. Of course, every child is different, and there’s no specific age at which you should be taking the guardrails off of your child’s bed.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the general ages where your baby should have a guardrail on their bed, as well as the ages when it is safe to take that rail off. Read on to learn more information.

What Ages Should You Take the Guardrail Off?

Baby experts recommend that you use guardrails on your baby’s bed until they are 5 years old because older children have a much lower risk of getting injured in the event that they roll out of their bed. It is also far less likely for them to roll out of their bed since they generally become more restful and relaxed in their sleep at this stage.

Sure, most 3-year-olds can climb in and out of their beds, and some babies even start to escape their cribs at one year old. However, guardrails are not intended to prevent your kids from climbing out of bed but rather to prevent them from rolling out of bed in their sleep.

So, it goes without saying that if your toddler moves around a lot during the night, you should keep those guardrails on.

Knowing Whether Your Toddler Needs Guardrails or Not

Everybody has a different experience regarding the effectiveness of guardrails because all children are different. No two children will behave the same in their sleep, and your baby’s sleep patterns are going to determine whether your child needs guardrails on their bed after a certain age.

When your child was between 1 ½ to 2 years of age, you probably changed the crib to a slightly larger toddler’s bed (if you haven’t, perhaps you should). Ask yourself this: since you made that change, have you noticed your little one moving around a lot in their sleep?

If yes, you should consider leaving the guardrail on their bed to prevent them from falling out during the night.

Some kids might also be afraid of sleeping without safety rails, in which case leaving the rails on would alleviate their anxiety.

No matter the situation, it will be up to you to decide when your child becomes too old to sleep with guardrails on and start planning for the day you will remove the rails. On the other hand, some little ones have complaints about the guard rails – if that’s the case, you should take the time to explain to them why the rails are in place.

They might not get it at first, but if you tell them enough times, they’ll understand!

mother puts her daughter to bed and kisses her in evening


Bed guardrails are certainly safe if they are built into your toddler’s bed or if your little one sleeps on a twin-size mattress with a box spring. However, there are various kinds of toddler beds, and not all require safety rails.

Children’s bunk beds come with integrated safety rails, which you should never remove. A bunk bed without safety rails is highly dangerous and could even be life-threatening. Accidents occur every single year where children become trapped between the bed and the wall or take a tumble and have a significant fall.

This is why safety guards are essential. Conversely, floor beds or beds that are low to the ground won’t really need guardrails. Some parents might put them on to prevent their child from rolling off of the bed during the night, but the risk isn’t as high with lower beds – if your little one does roll off, they’ll have a bit of a bump, but nothing too serious.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to be aware that, for lower beds, guardrails can actually become hindrances to your little one.

Are Guardrails Really Necessary?

Because many children are often tempted to climb over the rails and get out of their beds, they are at a higher risk of experiencing more significant injuries, such as bruising or, in the worst cases, a broken bone.

Guardrails from the 1990s actually had to be redesigned after the CPC recorded 18 deaths of children under two years who became stuck between the rails and the mattress. Before you freak out, just know that nearly every single guardrail available for purchase will not push away from the mattress that your child sleeps on.

Keeping Your Kid From Taking a Tumble

When the guardrails come off, your little one might become very enthusiastic about all the new space on their bed – this is the perfect opportunity for them to learn some new responsibilities. Of course, you may still be somewhat concerned about their safety and the possibility of them falling out of bed.

Here are some ideas for preventing that from happening:

  • Place their bed next to a wall
  • Place a plush pillow, carpet, or yoga mattress next to the bed

This can help ease the transition when you remove the guardrails from your little one’s bed.

If your kids move a lot in their sleep, even with guard rails, and you’re still worried, don’t be. If you just make sure that the floor next to their bed is as soft as possible so they won’t get hurt even if they fall out at night.

At the most, they’ll be a little disoriented because they could have sworn that they went to sleep in their bed and not the floor. And lastly, some kids never fall out of bed! It’s not the biggest concern in the world and certainly shouldn’t be keeping you up at night.

Final Thoughts

Now you know everything you need to consider when it comes to guard rails for your child’s bed. They can prevent serious accidents from happening, which is of paramount importance when you are keeping your child safe. With the above information, you now know how to keep your little one in the bed and off the floor going forward.