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Made of wood, plastic, or aluminum, all-round or only for his side: bed guards ensure that your child can not fall out of bed. But which bars do you attach and how? Do bed rails really offer sufficient protection against falling out of bed? And what do you do if your child wants to get up on its own?
Answers to these questions can be found here.
Bed Rails Ensure The Safety Of Your Baby
No child lies completely still during sleep: just like adults, children move around, turn to the other side, kick their legs, and roll around in their sleep. And like adults, they sometimes fall out of bed. However, this can generate much more serious injuries in children than in adults.
This is because children’s heads are heavier in relation to their bodies. Therefore, in the first years of life, your child will always hit his head when he falls and will never land (like you) on his back, buttocks, or legs. To prevent head injuries, you should secure the crib with a fall-out guard.
Bed rails are attached to most cribs, side beds, and sometimes even the junior bed from the factory. You can remove the gate when your child is older and needs to get out of bed by himself. The manufacturers recommend that the slatted frame of the bed then be set to the lowest level. This way, your child can safely get out of the now low bed without the fall-out guard from the bed getting in the way.
Some children’s beds can be completely converted into a junior bed. In this case, you can usually remove three bars from the bed guard on the long side of the bed. This allows your child to get out of bed when he or she is awake from the age of about one year. At the same time, the remaining bars protect your child when it is asleep.
If you convert the slightly larger crib into a junior bed, you remove the bed rails on the long sides completely and screw the slatted frame to the lower level. Now your child can use the bed without the bed rails until he or she starts school.
This Is Why The Fall-out Protection On The Bed Is Controversial
Before you get into the discussion of whether a bed rail makes sense or not, you should think about your living situation. Where does your child sleep? Maybe you take your newborn into bed with you or let him sleep in a bedside cabinet next to your bed?
For your child, these two options are the best options according to midwives and pediatricians. In the middle between the parents, your child sleeps safely and can’t fall out of bed under any circumstances. Side beds come from the factory with a fall-out guard, they have bed rails all the way around.
However, the practical extra bed is available only in small sizes. The largest variants are 120 cm long and can be used until the age of about two years. After that, your child will need a larger, separate bed.
You can let your child sleep in a bed for teenagers and adults at the age of two. However, these beds do not have a bed rail. There are youth beds that are very low. Then your child lies on the mattress about 20 cm above the floor.
Nothing will happen to your child if he or she falls from this height. A fall-out guard is not provided for the bed and is not needed. However, most beds for teenagers and adults are higher, your child would fall about forty to sixty centimeters in case of a fall.
And that’s dangerous again. With a bed at a normal height, a fall-out guard is needed. With a crib, the bed rail is usually already in place.Many parents resort to a so-called junior bed.
These beds are usually 70 cm wide and 140 cm long and can be used up to elementary school age and can be equipped with a fall-out guard in the beginning. The fall-out protection is firmly screwed to the bed, but can be removed if necessary.
It is controversial that children from the age of about one year are very fond of climbing. Under certain circumstances, they can climb onto the bed rail and then fall even deeper than if they simply fell off the edge of the bed. Deeper falls are associated with greater forces acting on the little head on impact – which is why the fall-out guard on the bed is not popular with all parents.
Alternatives To Bed Rails
If you don’t trust the bed rail or want to prevent your child from climbing, you can also do without the fall-out protection on the bed. If there is a soft mattress or a thick blanket in front of the crib, your child will fall softly. Many families secure the crib in this way when the child becomes mobile.
Because then your child can crawl into the bed alone and also climb out alone. Mattress or blanket in front of the bed does not prevent it. This strengthens your child’s self-confidence and promotes its development. At the same time, blankets and mattresses in front of the bed provide the necessary protection.
Another option is to simply keep the bed appropriately low during the “dangerous time”, i.e. between the ages of probably two and four. You can put a slatted base and mattress on the floor for your child for this time, or you can really make sure when you buy the bed that it is this low from the factory.
Almost any crib with a fall-out guard will grow with you for a while. For your newborn, set the slatted base relatively high so that you can easily remove your child from the bed. If your child can sit up on its own and perhaps already pull itself to a standing position, you should push the slatted frame down. Common beds have three steps to which the slatted frame can be attached.
If your child wants to go to bed on its own and get up on its own, the slatted frame goes to the lowest level and you remove the bed rails from the crib – this turns the crib with fall-out protection into a stylistically neutral junior bed without bed rails. The fall-out protection from the crib can go to the basement, it is no longer needed.
The Apartment Must Be Safe For Children
The fall-out protection for the beds is not everything. To make an apartment safe for children, it needs more. You should assume that your child is curious and wants to explore everything. At the same time, he or she is not yet able to assess dangers on his or her own.
Stairs, doors, cupboards and drawers, even tables and chairs can be dangerous. You should keep areas of the home that are particularly difficult to secure inaccessible for your child.
These include, for example, the kitchen and stairwell, but also workshops and utility rooms where cleaning products are stored. If your child is still small, closing the door is probably enough.
But by age one and a half, most children can open doors. From this point on, you should install a door screen. This looks a bit like a bed rail, but can only be opened like a door via a sluggish and somewhat complicated mechanism.
Cabinet doors and drawers can be secured with special holding devices and small latches that are difficult for children to get open. Here, it’s not so much that your child can’t reach dangerous items. It’s also annoying when children around six months of age start cleaning out all the cabinets.
A lot of things get broken in the process, not to mention the mess. Until your child learns that it’s better to leave the cupboards alone because daddy’s socks, mommy’s underpants, and the stirring spoons in the kitchen really aren’t interesting, the little protectors do a good job.
When your child makes his first attempts at walking, you should safely stow away cables and secure the sockets. In older apartments and houses, the sockets do not yet have integrated protection.
You can buy socket protectors for a few euros and simply plug them in. The edges of tables, cupboards, shelves, and chairs are more difficult: Your child will not be deterred from climbing and romping around.
Make sure that your child does not hit his head in case of a fall. You can simply stick silicone pads over the edges of the furniture. If a room is equipped with valuable furniture that you do not want to provide with edge protection, you should secure the entire room.
Important: Remember to childproof your home in time. In particular, you should pay attention to child safety in the kitchen.
When your child starts crawling at the age of six months, you should know the dangers and have secured them as far as possible. Remember that nursery furniture must also be safe.
Are Bed Rails Suitable For Travel?
Most bed rails are quite large and heavy. They don’t pack well and are too bulky to take on vacation. But some manufacturers have thought of the fall-out protection for traveling: if there is no fall-out protection on the bed at the vacation destination, a portable bed rail can ensure your child’s safety.
The most common models can be used from about one and a half years and hold up to 22 kg. Exactly how the fall-out guard is attached to the bed differs in each case.
Some bed rails are L-shaped and are simply clamped between the mattress and slatted frame with a longer side. Other models are screwed to the bed or fastened with clamps.
Custom Made: The Fall-out Protection For Folding
A few manufacturers have thought about how even older children can sleep safely and still go to bed and get up independently. The result is bed rails that can be folded away. This folding mechanism can be operated independently by children when they are awake.
This means that children can simply fold the bed rail to the side when they get into bed. Then they fold the bed rail back up and are safe during the night. This fall-out guard is a bit more exclusive and not available in every specialty store. Also special is the fall-out protection for the bed in the long version. Usually, the fall-out protection covers only about one meter.
If your child sleeps particularly restlessly, it sometimes lies completely in the foot area of the bed or completely on the pillow. A fall-out guard on the bed that covers the middle doesn’t do much good then.
Therefore, some manufacturers have bed guards in their range that can be extended lengthwise. You can easily adjust these safety gates to the length or size of the bed that you actually need.