How to Convert a Crib to a Toddler Bed

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

Three-in-one and four-in-one cribs "grow" with your child, providing an affordable way to furnish his bedroom as he moves from infant to toddler to child. If your crib is not convertible, you may be able to buy a conversion kit from the company.

These are the basic steps you'll take to convert any crib to a toddler bed. Always follow the instructions in the manual that came with your individual crib, as instructions and crib parts may vary. If your crib is not a convertible crib and was not intended to convert to a toddler bed, don't attempt to make it into a toddler bed!

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You will need an Allen wrench and a screwdriver for this project. Don't use a power screwdriver!

  1. Unscrew the four bolts that hold the stationary side of the crib in place.
  2. Remove the stationary side.
  3. Move the crib's spring frame to the lowest level, if it isn't there already. (Secure the frame with the same bolts and washers that were already holding it in place.)
  4. Mount the guardrail to the front panel of the crib. It doesn't matter where you attach the high part of the guardrail.
  5. Attach the guardrail using the bolts provided for this purpose. These may or may not be the same bolts that you removed in step 1 [source: DaVinci].

After you screw in each screw, loosen it ½ to ¾ of a turn. Once the toddler bed is assembled, re-tighten each screw [source: Angel Line]. Do not over-tighten the screws and bolts, as this may cause breakage or distortion of the wood.

If you're missing a part, don't try to substitute something similar. Contact the manufacturer for a replacement part.

If you want to convert the toddler or youth bed back into a crib, you may have to fill in the screw holes so the screws will thread properly. An expert at a local hardware store can help you do this properly [source: DaVinci].

Originally Published: May 19, 2011

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Crib to Toddler Bed FAQs

Can you use any conversion kit for a crib?
Yes, you can definitely use a conversion kit. Search for crib conversion kits that are sold with slats of wood running perpendicular to conversion rails so you can add your child's mattress on top.
At what age should I convert a crib to a toddler bed?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but you should typically do so when a toddler seems too big for the crib. Parents generally switch beds anywhere between 18 months and 3.5 years of age.
What is the maximum age for a toddler bed?
The maximum age recommended by most manufacturers is 4 years. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that your child use the toddler bed until they weigh about 50 pounds.
Can a toddler go straight into a single bed?
Yes, it wouldn't harm toddlers if parents shift them to a single bed; however, they should make sure to buy a soft mattress because they don't weigh too much.
How long can you keep a toddler in a crib?
Most children make the transition from crib to bed at the age of 18 months to 3.5 years of age. If possible, wait for your child to be 3 years old and mature enough before trying them sleeping alone in their bed.