You might be wondering what a floor bed is, how to use one, or if its safe and viable for your little one. In this blog we’ll cover:
- What is a floor bed?
- When might a floor bed be useful?
- When a floor bed may not be appropriate.
- Safety guidance when using a floor bed.
What is a floor bed?
Floor beds have been around for many years around the world, but they have become popular in the West in recent years. The popular Montessori method, where the focus is on giving the child independence & freedom promotes a bed that they can get in and out of easily themselves
Some families will have a mattress directly on the floor (although it will need ventilation) or have a bed in low bedframe. Hence the name, ‘floor bed.’ The child may sleep on their own, or bedshare with parents.
When might a floor bed be useful?
· If you are bedsharing with your child and you are worried about them rolling out of your usual bed.
· If you are physically unable to lift your child in and out of a cot.
· If you are breastfeeding and concerned about falling asleep feeding (it is much safer in a bed than on a sofa for example).
· Families who do not have the room for a separate sleep space for their baby.
· For working on independent sleep, whilst supporting your child. (You can work on gradually removing your support whilst laying with them).
· For moving away from contact naps.
· An ‘in between’ tool for moving between co-sleeping and getting your child into a cot.
· You simply prefer to use a floor bed for your toddler.
When a floor bed may not be appropriate?
· If you are unable to baby proof your room, or surrounding areas.
· If you have any pests in your home such as mice for example.
· If you have a pet who is likely to sleep on the bed – it is not advised for little ones to bedshare with pets.
· If your home is very cold (it can be colder to sleep closer to the floor), or if you have any issues with damp/mould in your home. Mattresses need airflow (which is why it is better to have a low bedframe designed for purpose ideally).
· Bear in mind your physical health – if you have any limitations getting in and out of a very low bed (this could be difficult if you are pregnant or recovering from birth).
· If you or your child has a dust mite allergy. It could exacerbate it.
FREE Nap Transitions Guide
Learn all about what nap transitions are, when they tend to happen, what the signs are is time to drop a nap and how to approach it.
Safety guidance when using a floor bed.
‘Baby proofing’ is essential if you are using a floor bed:
· Make sure all cabinets, chest of drawers, wardrobes or any other furniture is secured and anchored to the wall.
· Either hide or protect plugs & wires.
· Cover any sharp corners.
· If you have any large or heavy items that could fall or be pulled down then remove them.
· Do not have your floor bed next to the radiator, and hide or cover your radiator.
· Be mindful of any small objects in the room that could become a choking hazard.
· Windows must be secure, with cords, curtains or ties removed or out of reach.
· You might consider a gate on the door of the bedroom.
· Remember – no adult bedding, loose bedding, or soft toys for babies of under 12 months.
· Ideally the mattress is in the centre of the room so that your little one can’t get trapped between the bed and a wall or other furniture.
· If you are co-sleeping, The Lullaby Trust provides safer sleep guidance.
So, what are our thoughts?
All parents and their children are different. We don’t routinely recommend floor beds, though for some families it can be a good solution whilst transitioning from cot to bed, or bed to cot, assisting night weaning, or changing bedtime boundaries. It may also be useful for some family’s long term, who like to share their sleep space with their child. However, we need to be really organised with making sure the bed set up, bedding and surrounding area is 100% safe, and to be consistent with that going forward.
Babies can be unpredictable, so we always need to be prepared for the next milestone – we never know exactly when they are going to start rolling or crawling for example. We need to make sure we are keeping up with their milestones and making sure everything is safe for them. Toddlers lack impulse control, so there is the possibility that they will be in and out of bed exploring, when they should be sleeping. We really do need to be on high alert, to keep our little ones safe.
How can I help my baby sleep better?
We know that making changes to how and where our little ones sleep can feel a little daunting at times, but don’t panic. As our babies and toddlers grow and develop it is natural for their sleep needs and routines to develop too.
If you feel like you’re struggling with your little ones sleep, then we are here to help! Our online sleep courses include suggested schedules for every age & stage and guide you through how to create a routine that works for your baby or toddler’s current sleep needs. The key to finding a routine that works for your child is understanding their needs and how you can support them to get the sleep they need.
They cover everything from understanding the science of sleep, creating a great sleep environment, forming a predictable nap routine and creating approaches to settling that are sustainable for your family.
These approaches and guidance can be compatible with a families who want to move their child to their own room, co-sleep, use a cot or toddler bed or a floor bed.
Check out the courses and we’ll show you how…