While toddler beds sleep children from two to around six, single beds are for adults but easily sleep children from about five.
Which is best depends on how old your child is now and how long you want the bed to last before your child grows out of it.
When to get a toddler bed
If your child is between two and four, a toddler bed will be the best choice because the smaller size will keep your child in a natural sleeping position. Too big a bed at a young age increases the chances of sleeping strangely!
Another reason to choose a toddler bed for this age group is the addition of a guard rail to the side of the bed – essential for safety. While you can add one of these to a single bed, it will never be as good as a purpose-made bed guard.
When to get a single bed
Most children grow out of toddler beds by age six, and some feel constricted by age five. You should consider a single bed if your child is between four and five and get one once your child reaches six.
The benefit of buying a single bed instead of a toddler bed for a kid between four and five is that you won’t need to buy another bed in a few years – single beds are designed for adults, so they stay with your kid right through primary care school. Make sure to take an authentic review before purchasing the single bed.
What’s the difference between toddler beds and singles?
Toddler beds, also known as a small single bed, measure 70cm x 140cm – 20cm narrower and 50cm shorter than singles.
They are for children and have a rudimentary foam mattress or spring mattress only around 10cm thick.
Single beds are for young children and adults, measuring 90 cm x 190cm – a significant increase over toddler beds. They have a more sophisticated mattress up to 30cm thick and can accommodate two young kids who top and tail.
What if my child is a baby at the moment?
The next step up from a cot is a toddler bed if you have a baby. It would be best to buy a toddler bed when your child is around two.
However, if you have a cot bed (cot beds are the same size as toddler beds with a 70cm x 140cm mattress), you don’t need to do anything until your child is between four and five, by which point they might grow out of their bed.
If you have a newborn and are looking at beds, a cot bed will save you money versus a cot by happily sleeping your kid up to around six.
Bed size for bigger kids
Bigger kids need a single or small double bed. Single beds are fine for children up to around fourteen, by which point they might want more space.
The best bed size for teenagers wanting more space is a small double, also known as a three-quarter bed. Small double mattresses are 120cm wide and 190cm long – 30cm wider than singles but the same length.
If your child’s bedroom accommodates a single bed, it will probably accommodate a small double (only 30cm wider).
A quick word on UK and EU sizes
While most beds/mattresses sold in the UK are UK sizes, you can sometimes pick up an EU bed/mattress without realising it.
You need to know that an EU single mattress is 90cm x 200cm versus 90cm x 190cm with a UK single mattress – so the EU size is 10cm longer.
If you are buying a single bed and mattress separate, make sure they are both a UK size to avoid getting two incompatible products. Thankfully, toddler beds are the same size in the UK and EU, so there is nothing to worry about.
If you enjoyed this article, read this one on How To Choose Your Child’s First Bed.