Toddler Floor Bed: 3 Things to Consider

As I am sure you are well aware, there are some very strong opinions on baby and toddler sleep out there, and a floor bed is one of them. 


A toddler bed is a bed that is on the floor or only slightly raised from the floor. It does not have rails like a crib and as such your toddler has no physical barrier to keep them in their sleep space. They are free to get in and out of bed as they like. 


There are different views on whether or not floor beds are “best” and there are certainly pros and cons to using a toddler floor bed verses a crib. 


If you are wondering whether a toddler floor bed is a good fit for your little one and your family, this blog post goes over the 3 main things to consider as well as my take on using floor beds for toddlers. 


1. What’s the “right” amount of independence? 


2. Different safety pieces


3. Health considerations 


Making an informed decision for your family 

1. What’s the “right” amount of independence?


Toddler playing |The Peaceful Sleeper


A toddler floor bed follows the Montessori method of empowering children with independence and the ability to explore and move around freely. The idea is that it fosters freedom and a child-led approach to when sleep and awake time should happen. 


There are certainly pros to this, however, there are some cons to consider as well. For sure we all want to foster independence in our toddlers, however, how much independence is too much independence for a toddler? 


This comes down to what is a good fit for your toddler. You know your little one best. I recommend considering your beliefs around the value of a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine, how important it is to you to encourage sleep at certain times, and overall how much independence you would like them to have around sleep. 


Once you’ve thought through these pieces, you can begin to decide if a toddler floor bed would be a good choice for your little one. 

2. Different safety pieces 


As with most things in parenting, a risk-benefit analysis should be done to determine what’s best for your family. 


There are safety risks to using a crib and keeping your toddler in a crib when they start trying to climb out of it, and there are risks to using a floor bed and giving your toddler access to their room and potentially the whole house while you are sleeping.  This is where the risk assessment comes in. 



Toddler standing in crib |The Peaceful Sleeper



Although major injuries are very rare, a toddler can injure themselves from trying to climb out of their crib and falling. Of course, there are things you can do to make this as safe or unlikely as possible such as putting pillows or a stool on the ground below the crib, and using a sleep sack to make it much more difficult for them to climb out. 


On the other hand, if you choose to not have your toddler sleep in a crib, then the whole room becomes their sleep space. This means careful consideration of what is a safety hazard. Think about curtains, electrical outlets, small toys they can choke on, cords, furniture that can be pulled down, etc. You would be “baby-proofing” the entire room. You also want to consider if/how you will keep them in their room and what that means for them having access to the whole house at night. 

3. Heath considerations 


Floors, especially carpets, are hard to keep clean. This means that if your toddler is sleeping on the floor or very close to the floor then there is a higher risk of them being exposed to allergens. 


Also, it is not ideal to have a mattress directly on the floor as there is much less air circulation and this can cause mold to grow.  


Toddler bed on floor |The Peaceful Sleeper


Both of these potential concerns can be mitigated by putting a focus on keeping the room clean and well ventilated, and raising the mattress off the floor. 


Make an informed decision for your family 


As always, I want to support you in making an informed decision for your family. Every baby, toddler, and family is different and as such what may work for one family may not work for another. 


With this in mind, here is my take on toddler floor beds: 


I believe the crib is a developmental playground. It is a safe space for babies and toddlers to explore, roll, sit, stand, etc. 


I love fostering independence, freedom, and exploration in my kiddos and I think they get a degree of this in their crib. I also ensure they get many more opportunities for this outside of sleep time. 


I think that having boundaries and containment with sleep is important. Too much freedom invites power struggles that are hard to manage for everyone. 


I often recommend waiting to transition out of the crib until after 3 years old. This is for a number of reasons. 


Reasons to transition to a toddler bed after 3 years old:


1. It is much easier to reason with a 3 year old. They are cognitively able to understand why they have to stay in their room at night and if you do find yourself in a power struggle around bedtime, it is easier to incentivize an older toddler.


2. It can be tricky to navigate how you will support them with staying in their room- definitely something you would want to think through before ditching the crib. Personally, I don’t want to be navigating boundary setting and limit testing at 3am. I am much more inclined to use a crib and instead capitalize on other opportunities for exploration and freedom throughout the day.


3 year old toddler in toddler bed |The Peaceful Sleeper


For parents who are choosing to do a gradual or “no cry” approach to teaching independent sleep skills over the course of months or years, I think a floor bed can be a great option. Parents can lay with their little one and be right there to support them as they wean off of the amount of intervention provided over time. 



Recap on toddler floor beds


The bottom line is that you need to choose what will work best for YOUR family. Whatever your choice is, we are here to support you! If you would like help supporting your toddler to sleep in their crib, or transitioning them to a toddler bed, or making the pivot to a floor bed, we would LOVE to work with you!


Our amazing consultants are dedicated to taking a holistic and collaborative approach to creating an individualized sleep plan that meets YOUR sleep goals in a way that works for everyone in your family. 


Check out all of our consultation options here!


Christine Lawler

Christine Lawler

MS, LMFT, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing for over 13 years. I’ve set out to do ALL of the research and I created a method to optimize baby sleep that is tuned in, empowering and WORKS. There absolutely should be joy in motherhood, and I have learned that every baby CAN get better sleep!

Read more about my team here.

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