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Converting Your Crib Into A Toddler Bed

Make Sure You Get A Crib Rail
Posted February 11, 2009

Want to convert your crib bed into a toddler bed?  In order to do this, your crib must be a convertible one.  Ours is a Bellini Isabella crib that allows us to remove the side lift rail so we could convert it into a junior bed when the time came.  However, without that tall side rail there, we need something so baby won't roll out of the bed when she naps or sleeps, like a low bed rail.

I researched various models of bed rails, and most parents said that the conventional bed rails marketed for children are actually best suited for twin beds and twin bed size mattresses, not convertible crib beds.  For convertible cribs, most parents recommended the Kidco Convertible Crib Rail and said they were very pleased how well it worked.

We purchased one and it was pretty simple for me to assemble and install.  It comes in unfinished wood, so you can stain it to match the color of your crib's wood.  We have just left it as is, and may stain it later.  

As you can see in our photo of Keilani enjoying her "new" bed for an afternoon nap, we've put the Kidco Convertible crib rail closer to the top end of the bed.  That way, she can now climb in and out of the open/lower end of her bed whenever she likes.  She just loves being able to do this, versus being "trapped" in her old crib configuration.  It's working great, so far, in keeping her from rolling out of her bed while she sleeps.  We're also glad we're going to be able to get another year or two years of use out of the crib thanks to the fact that it's convertible like this. 

By the way, the crib mattress we purchased is also awesome.  It's an organic cotton one from Abundant Earth, so she can sleep free of the harsh chemicals found in conventional crib mattresses.  We also use an organic wool puddle pad that we made from fabric purchased from Near Sea Naturals; the wool fabric is water resistant and has actually prevented her "accidents" from leaking through to the mattress.  If you get this wool fabric, make sure to wash it in a cleanser made for wool, like Lamby or Lanacare wool wash to help it retain its water-resistancy.

And don't forget to install a working smoke monitor and CO-2 monitor; sign-up with Consumer Reports to get their best recommendations based on tests they do on these units to find out which ones actually work.

Have any tips for getting your baby to fall asleep on his or her own?  Have any fun or frustrating experiences to share?  Please post them on our companion Green Tara Baby blogsite so other parents can learn from your tips and advice!