Toddler Bed vs Twin Bed-Differences Explained for When you Need to Make the Transition to a Bigger bed

Last Updated on February 27, 2021

The time will come when you are waked up in the night by a not so silent figure in your bedroom. No, not a burglar but your toddler who’s managed to escape from his crib.

Now that you have an escape artist at home, you need a new safe bed for her. If you have a convertible crib, then it’s just a simple matter of turning it into a big kid bed. But if you need to buy a new one, then there’s a decision to make- toddler bed vs twin bed?

Toddler bed vs Twin bed Size- Comparison Table for Quick Overview

Here you can quickly see what’s the difference between a twin bed vs toddler bed and why the later is usually better for young toddlers. Delta Children (check the latest price on Amazon) makes one of the most popular toddler bed options among parents.

Another interesting choice is a car toddler bed by the same manufacturer (also sold on Amazon) which you can turn it into a wider twin.

Toddler BedTwin Bed
MattressCrib Mattress (~27 1/4″ x 51 5/8″)Twin Mattress (~38″ x 75″)
Weight Limit50lb or less>50lb
Side RailsYesNo (Third-Party Options)
Convertible?OftenUsually no

What’s a Difference Between a Toddler Bed and a Twin Bed?

The main difference between a twin bed and a toddler bed is the size. A toddler bed should be able to accommodate a full-size crib mattress, so the minimum inner dimensions are 27 ¼ inches wide and 51 5/8 inches long. Twin bed uses a twin mattress which is about 38 inches wide and 75 inches long.

Another differentiating factor is that toddler beds are meant for kids who weigh less than 50lb (about 22kg). The weight limit can be less though! Twin beds don’t obviously have such a general weight limit so it’s a genuine big kid bed.

Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at this comparison.

What’s a Toddler bed and Who’s it for?

A toddler bed is a transition bed from crib to standard bed. It allows free access to children over 15 months old.

As noted (sorry for repeating myself), the inner dimensions should be at least 27 ¼ inches wide and 51 5/8 inches long so you can use a crib mattress with it.

Toddler beds have a weight limit of 50lb, so heavier children are better off with a twin bed.

Types of Toddler Beds

Toddler Beds Must Meet Certain Criteria

I’ve already discussed the most important numbers when it comes to toddler beds. But as toddler beds need to meet the CPSC and ASTM F1821-16 standards, there are a couple of more things to you may want to know before making the buying decision.

  • All opening in the toddler bed (also the side rails) must meet specific dimensions to prevent entrapment.
  • These standards have set requirements for materials and strength of the product

NOTE! The mandatory CPSC standard was last time revised in 2017, so it’s safest to buy a toddler bed that’s manufactured after June 2017.

Toddler beds are usually lower than twin beds to allow children to comfortably sit on the bed soles of their feet on the floor. This feature also helps to prevent serious injuries if your little one happens to fall out of the bed.

Toddler Bed by Delta Children (Check the Latest Price on Amazon)

What’s a Twin bed and Who’s it for?

In this article, I want to point out that a twin bed means a single bed as it’s known in North America. So it’s about 38 inches wide and 74.5 inches long.

Twin beds are a type of regular bed, so a weight limit isn’t an issue. For the same reason, they may be uncomfortably high for young toddlers. Additionally, they don’t come with side rails, so there’s a higher risk of your little one falling out of bed.

They are usually best for kids over five years old.

Twin Bed by Jusnova (Check the Latest Price on Amazon)

From Crib to Toddler bed or Twin bed- Which Should Parents buy?

Twin bed vs Toddler bed: The Ease of Transition Depends on Your Kid

If you’ve got a convertible crib, then the change isn’t a problem as your kid continues to sleep in the same place. If you happen to read article this before the arrival of your baby, then check out my article about choosing the first bed for your infant (crib vs mini crib).

If you have a sensitive child, then a toddler bed may be a better option than a twin bed because you can keep using the old crib mattress. A smaller bed may also be more comforting for some children.

Buying a twin bed right away means that the child has to do one less transition though. That said, moving an older kid to twin bed isn’t usually very traumatic.

TIP: Some parents have first put a twin mattress on the floor to ease the transition. Others prefer to rip that bandaid off quickly.

If you have to buy a new bed, then it’s best to put it in the same place where the crib used to be. It’s also good to first talk about the transition (keep it positive!) and leave as many things as possible (including night routines) unchanged.

Toddler Beds are Safer for Young Toddlers

Toddler beds are usually safer for kids than twin beds. There are a couple of reasons for that:

  1. First, the dimensions of openings have to meet specific standards to prevent entrapment.
  2. The second point is that toddler beds usually sit low and so the risk of serious injuries is small if your toddler happens to fall out.
  3. Another point is that twin beds don’t usually have side rails so you would have to buy those to prevent your little one from falling out of the bed. It’s worth noting that there’s a wide selection available though. You can even buy soft rails by UBBCARE which are also sold on Amazon. We got a convertible big kid bed precisely because of the rails because my boy is a restless sleeper.

Bigger Bed Offers Extra Space

If you have little room but are expecting to move in a couple of years, then a toddler bed is a good option. Depending on the child, he may be able to sleep there until he turns six. Some convertible models let you make the bed gradually bigger, which still is better than buying a large twin bed right away.

That said, if you have a bigger child who is about to be over 50lb soon, then you may want to consider buying a twin bed. Even most convertible toddler beds have an official weight limit of 50lb.

There’s also another bonus when choosing the larger option. Bigger twin beds provide children with more playing room and enough extra space for all the stuffed animals. And when the storytime comes, there’s even room for you to snuggle.

Price Depends on Many Factors

Buying one is usually cheaper than buying two. So going with a twin bed right away allows you to save some money in the long run. You can check out the latest price of a popular twin bed by Max&Lily from Amazon. You have to take the price of a mattress into account though.

The cheapest option would be, of course, to convert your crib into a toddler bed as you would have to buy nothing new.

Buying a new toddler bed also costs less (about three times, and you already have the mattress and crib sheets) than a twin bed. But keep in mind that in a couple of years you’ll still have to buy a standard bed unless you go with the convertible model.

Take Longevity of use into Account

You can definitely use a twin bed for a longer time. Adults use them. A toddler bed is intended, for…well toddlers. Some parents have said that their seven-year-olds are still sleeping in a convertible toddler bed. It’s worth remembering that the official weight limit is 50lb though.

If you have Another Kid in the House, Consider Also Alternatives

If you have a new baby coming, then you’ll soon need that crib (even if it’s convertible). It means that you have to consider all the factors when making a decision when buying a new bed. One option would be to get a bunk bed. Your older kid could sleep in a low bed until he turns six, and then your younger one could get that spot.

Mother reading to children and a bunk bed

One popular choice among parents is a bunk bed by Stork Craft (also sold on Amazon). It’s made on rubberwood, and you can choose between four different colors

It’s also worth noting that if you have older heavier kids in the house then buying a convertible toddler bed may not be the best choice. Less sturdy than twin beds, they may simply break when the kids are roughhousing.

To Sum Up

After discovering that a crib isn’t safe anymore for you little escape artist it’s time to make the transition to a big kid bed. Hopefully, this article helps you to make the decision between a toddler bed and a twin bed.

If you’re also looking for crib sheets and mattresses for your toddler bed, click on the links for best options.

Thanks for reading!