Toddler Bed Bolster - Or How to Keep a Toddler in a Toddler Bed
March 6, 2012
Last fall, we moved Kid 2 out of his crib in anticipation of the birth of our baby girl. I realize I'm a little slow in sharing this with you, but I forgot to post about it when I made it, and I was reminded of it today when I took Kid 2 upstairs for his nap. Kid 1 went straight onto a twin sized bed when he was two, so we were new to the toddler bed situation. Thanks to a tip from my friend Jaime, who spied it by the dumpsters at her apartment, I got an awesome toddler bed for free. Well, it was almost free. The only cost was that some girl stepped on and broke my glasses while I was taking the bed apart and loading it into my car.
The first night he fell out of bed. Luckily it wasn't very far to fall. Even though his new bed has a partial rail, since he moves a lot in his sleep, he wiggled out through the end. My best idea was to make a bolster to help him stay in. I didn't want something too high, he still needed to be able to climb over it to get in and out of bed, and I also wanted it to be soft. Oh, and free. I didn't want to buy anything new. I really wanted to get by using what I had at home.
What I ended up doing was cutting a pool noodle slightly shorter than his mattress (I used a bread knife for this), rolling it up in some polyester quilt batting, and sewing a quick removable and washable cover.
My cover was made with a big piece of quilted cotton I mysteriously had in my stash. I bound the ends with handmade double-fold bias tape (again, it was just lying around), and added matching blue plastic snaps to keep it securely on. I have a snap press, and I love it. In the past I've used it to make cloth diapers, but I use it every chance I can because it's just so awesome.
Obviously the removable cover isn't necessary. I just made it to protect the batting and foam noddle from 'accidents' and from getting picked apart by tiny hands. If you don't feel like sewing, wrapping a foam pool noodle in batting, or even a blanket, would also do the job. And since it goes under the sheets, it really doesn't matter.
To use the bolster, I slid it in between the mattress and the mattress pad after the sheets were on. If you are like me, it's a major battle to get crib sheets on, (I know you want them snug for safety reasons, but I almost rip them every time I put them on) so it's much easier to do this after the bed is made.
Here is our free toddler bed with the bolster in place. Like I said, it isn't very high, but it's just enough to keep my wild sleeper of a toddler in his bed at night instead of on the floor. Notice the awesome quilt on his bed? It was made by my good friend, the talented Heather Larsen. I helped make one of the wonky log cabin blocks, but she did all the rest of the work. I would show you the front of the quilt, because I love it so, but the blocks spell his name, and I've decided to not share my kids names on this blog. But just so you know, it's pretty cute.