Sunday, September 8, 2013

DIY Toddler Bed Bumper Tutorial

Just before my son turned a year and a half he started climbing out of his crib! This required us to get him into a much safer alternative and quickly. We were completely unprepared for the fact that most toddler beds do not secure the toddler in the bed very well. Most toddler beds like the one we purchased have short stubby rails at the head of the bed only.

After the first night sleepless night with my son I was on a mission to make his bed more comfortable and much safer. At a year and a half he was quite the mover in his sleep and kept inching his way out of the bed. I realized that I needed a bumper that went all the way around the toddler bed. I of course couldn't find one. After doing some research I discovered that what we needed didn't exist! So I did what I do best...I got crafty!

Here is how I created a Toddler Bed Bumper out of Pool Noodles:

You are essentially creating a frame out of the pool noodles...

Step 1: Purchase Supplies (I got mine at Walmart)
  • 1 Roll Duct Tape
  • 4 Pool Noodles
  • 1 pair of good Scissors
  • 1 very curious toddler (hehe!)
4 Pool Noddles and a roll of Duct Tape

 Step 2: Measurements and Cut the Head Board Piece
  • Measure the width of the toddler bed  at the Head Board and cut the Pool Noodle to the width of the bed.
  • Place the first piece in place to double check that you have the length of this piece correct. You want the piece to fit somewhat snugly but so that it can still come out easily. 
  • If you have the length of the piece correct cut a second piece from the same noodle to match and Duct tape them together, one of top of the other. 

All 4 pieces cut for the head-board and foot-board

Tape the pieces on top of one another and tape them together

Step 3: Measurements and Cut the Foot Board Piece
  • The Foot of the Bed should be the same width as the Head of the bed but make sure you double check. Follow the same instructions for above. 
  • You now have two ends of the frame complete.
Step 4: Measure and Create the Side Rails for the Bed
  • Place the end pieces at the Head Board and Foot Board. 
  • Use a tape measure to find the length of the between the head-board and Foot-board pieces. 
  • Measure Twice - Cut Once!
  • Cut only one piece first. Place the piece in place to make sure you have cut it the right length. If you have done it correctly, cut two more pieces the same length for a total of three pieces.
  • Duct tape two of the pieces together (Note: You will have one piece remaining this will be taken care of in the next step).
Measure the space between the head-board and foot-board with the bumpers in place.

Step 5: Measure and Create a Climb-Out Divot
  • Since part of getting a "Big Boy Bed" is having some independence I thought it would be a good idea for him to be able to climb in and out of his bed on his own. Since he still needed a bit of a rail all the way around the bed I kept one of the Pool Noodles the full length of the bed. 
  • Cut one of the Noodles about 1 foot shorter to create the divot or opening.
  • Place the shorter Noodle on top of the longer Noodle. Place the shorter Noodle so that it starts at Head of the bed so that the end of the bed has the opening.    
An example of the corner where the divot is located.

My son taking advantage of the divot.

Step 6: Assemble the Frame

  • Now that you have all the piece cut correctly you are ready to assemble to frame. Since my toddler is going to want to take it apart and play with it I taped the frame so that it essentially become one big piece. Since we are not going to need to fold it up there is no reason to be able to take it apart.
  • I suggest that you place all the the pieces into the bed to make sure you get all of your measurements are correct and that when you tape the pieces together that you do it correctly. Warning: The Duct Tape will destroy the Pool Noodle. It does not pull off easily!!! 
  • Be sure to tape the pieces at a 90 degree angle so that you have a study rectangle. 
  • We reinforced to corners a couple of times. 
Place the pieces inside the bed before you tape them to ensure a correct fit.
The corners are taped at a 90degree angle.

Bed Time!!! 

Now that your Little One has a safe and secure bed to sleep in, it is time to make it comfy too! I still cover the mattress with the fitted crib sheet. I use a fitted TWIN sheet to cover the Pool Noodle Bumper and mattress. A fitted twin sheet allows me to tuck the sheet around the bumper and to create a little nest

The transition to the toddler bed was much easier with the Pool Noodle Bumper in place. I put his favorite blanket in the bed and his favorite stuffed toys.  I kept all of the bedding the same and we also kept the orientation of his bed in the room the same for a few weeks to minimize the changes. He went to sleep with little fuss the first night with the bumper and slept through the night too. He also completed nap time without much fuss as well. 

I also purchased a travel pillow for his bed which is just about the right size for the toddler bed.  I also made a new blanket for him so that he had a matching bed set...

His first nap time in his new bed.
This was before the pillow and matching bed set..

Safety, Travel & Other Comments...

Safety: Since my son moved into a bed earlier than we expected I was concerned about his overall safety in his room. He is also a little monkey and we needed to think of a way to keep him safe in his room. We decided to surround his bed with a play yard gate. I put some toys around the inside of the gate so that when he wakes up he can play. I change up the toys to keep him interested.

Travel: When we traveled this summer we had to figure out the sleeping situation at the hotel. Since we were driving we decided to take the Bumper with us (when we travel I should also note that I pack his favorite blankets and the stuffed animals he sleeps with- I think this makes a huge difference). It worked out perfect!!! He didn't have any trouble falling asleep  and he didn't fall out of bed either!

What do you do with all the cut off ends from the Pool Noodles?

I don't like things to go to waste so I re-purposed the cut off ends and turned them into door bumpers to prevent the door from closing or slamming shut!

Just just them down one side and they then wrap around the edge of your door. They are also quiet too which is great during nap time!!!

Pool Noodle Door Bumper