Can a Floor Bed be a Safe Sleeping Option for Toddlers?

For parents considering a Montessori floor bed for their toddler, it’s important to know its benefits and consider available options. Here’s what you need to know about the safety of floor beds for toddlers and three different models to consider.

Floor beds for kids have become increasingly popular in recent years and are widely available on the internet through platforms like TikTok or Etsy. These beds consist of a simple design with a mattress or mattress and a frame, which rests directly on the floor, without legs. According to Junnifa Uzodike, co-author of The Montessori Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Nourishing Your Newborn with Love, Respect, and Understanding, you can use both a crib mattress or a full-size bed mattress as per your preference. Choosing a floor bed over other conventional cribs not only helps foster independent learning and development but also provides an opportunity for exploration, as children can get in and out without any help while having a sense of autonomy over their sleeping space.

Explore floor bed options and gain inspiration while discovering if this sleeping arrangement is the best choice for your child. You’ll learn about what factors to consider, such as your child’s age, activity level and room space, when determining if a floor bed is a suitable option.

The Background of Montessori Floor Beds

Maria Montessori, an Italian physician, founded the principles behind Montessori education in the early 1900s. These concepts place emphasis on active participation, freedom of movement, student choice, and classroom organization.

According to Uzodike, “Montessori at home” refers to the practice in which parents adopt the Montessori approach to raise their children. This includes creating an environment that supports each child’s unique growth and development, treating them with respect, offering guidance without imposing limits, and encouraging them to pursue their interests freely within the household.

Uzodike suggests that a floor bed is consistent with the Montessori principles, as it promotes a child’s independence by allowing them to get in and out of bed without assistance.

Although the Montessori approach may have contributed to the increased popularity of floor beds, they were prevalent in many cultures well before the 20th century. For example, using a floor as a sleeping surface dates back at least to the 10th century in Japan.

Advantages of Using a Floor Bed

There are indeed several benefits to using a floor bed for your child. These include promoting independence, aiding physical development, providing sensory exploration, fostering feelings of security and comfort, and encouraging creative playtime.

They promote gross motor skills and body awareness in children

Yes, Uzodike suggests that using a floor bed can enhance a child’s perception of their body inside space and provide them with a more emotional experience of their environment. By sleeping closer to the ground, children may become more aware of their surroundings and feel more connected to the world around them. This can also help promote a sense of security and comfort, as they are more in tune with their immediate environment.

They facilitate the development of sleep independence

Dr. Whitney Casares explains that using a floor bed can provide children with greater access to books and quiet toys as they prepare for sleep or when they first wake up in the morning or from naps. This increased accessibility can promote independence and encourage children to engage in quiet, restful activities on their own. This can also be beneficial for parents, as it may give them some additional time to complete tasks or relax while their child is occupied.

Your kid’s self-esteem and confidence can both benefit from them

Uzodike explains that one of the benefits of using a floor bed is that it gives children the freedom to choose when they want to nap or rest. With a floor bed, the child can get in and out of bed whenever they want without feeling confined or restricted. This perception can help promote a more positive association with sleep and encourage the child to view sleeping as a natural part of their daily routine rather than a forced or unpleasant activity.

They make room for intimacy to blossom

Uzodike explains that another advantage of using a floor bed is that it can make it easier for parents to interact with their child during nap or rest time. Because the child is not confined to a crib or raised bed, there is more space for the parent to sit or lie down with them if needed. This option can be particularly useful for nursing mothers or parents who want to read to their children before sleep or soothe them in case of distress without interrupting their rest by having to move them out of bed or change location.

They are cheap and simple to put together

You have the flexibility to construct a floor bed as simple or intricate as you desire.

At What Age Can a Child Use a Floor Bed?

The majority of toddlers are usually prepared to make a transition by the time they can lift one leg over the top of the crib rail. Dr. Casares suggests that, at this stage, you can confidently switch to a floor bed.

Dr. Casares also observes that utilizing a floor bed for your child is preferable because it lowers the likelihood of them sustaining injuries from falling out of the crib or playing on the bed, such as when rolling around.

Dr. Casares notes that every child is different from one another. “For a toddler who may be prepared for a larger bed but is hesitant to depart from their crib, a floor bed can serve as an intermediate measure,” she adds.

Safety Standards for Floor Beds

That’s correct. Dr. Casares indeed cautions against using a floor bed for children unless the bedroom is appropriately childproofed and the bed is installed correctly. Here are some precautions she suggests taking:

  • Position the mattress away from walls or furniture, preferably in the middle of the room, so that if your child rolls over while sleeping, they will not become trapped against a wall.
  • Fasten the furniture securely to the walls, cover electrical outlets, and remove small objects that may cause choking.
  • Do not leave any toys lying around that could cause choking or other injuries.
  • If there are steps outside the child’s bedroom, you should consider installing safety gates.

Dr. Casares suggests that parents allow their child to nap on the floor bed during the day when they are more likely to feel at ease exploring their new surroundings. She also advises that offering positive reinforcement and praise can help toddlers stay in bed for increasingly longer periods without reaching out for a parent.

Floor Beds to Test

If you intend to sleep on the floor, there are several options available to choose from.

1. Sprout Montessori Floor Bed

Sprout places emphasis on their floor bed being able to grow with a child. The bed is reversible, allowing for an easy transition to a larger bed when needed, and it’s available in crib, twin, or full sizes. Notably, the design of the bed accommodates both a child and parent, making it convenient for comforting a child who wakes up from nightmares. The bed boasts quality construction and the ability to accommodate multiple children, while also being easy to store away by flattening it when no longer in use.

2. South Shore Sweedi House Bed

This floor bed, which is shaped like a colorful house, allows the use of a child’s crib mattress. It’s perfect for kids who have outgrown their cribs but still aren’t ready for a full-size bed. The charming and playful design of the house adds to its appeal. Notably, the bed has a detachable crossbar that ensures parents won’t bump their heads while playing with their children. We appreciate this safety feature, as it makes the bed more convenient and safe for both parents and children.

3. West Elm Tent Bed

Designed in collaboration with Pottery Barn Kids, this bed is tent-shaped and sits close to the ground, giving children a realistic camping experience. The canopy can be removed and reattached in seconds thanks to its velcro straps, allowing for customized designs to fit any personal styles. This bed is easy to assemble and provides excellent comfort once assembled, making it a great choice for parents looking to create a special space for their kids to enjoy.