If people are fussy about their own beds, they can be even more so when it comes to their children’s.
But what is important when it comes to beds for children and are they different from beds for adults?
You can buy a new bed for every age of childhood, but can’t you just buy a big bed straight off?
Yes, says Andreas Kalbitz from the German association More Safety for Children.
“If the child’s sleeping habits allow it, they can sleep in a big bed from an earlier age.”
Instead of a crib, a baby can go straight into a cot measuring 60cm by 120cm, or 70cm by 140cm.
The need for a bed usually comes when the child reaches school age, or a height of 110cm to 120cm, Kalbitz says.
But as children can still roll out of bed at this age, it’s best to have a bar along the side, according to Ursula Geismann from the Association of the German Furniture Industry.
Alternatively, you can use a bed snake, which looks like a large draught excluder, or put cushions on the floor by the bed, she says.
Children’s beds shouldn’t have parts that stick out or gaps in which belts or laces could get stuck, she adds. Corners and edges should be rounded.
In cots, the sides should be at least 60cm high so that toddlers can’t climb over, and the bars should be 4.5cm to 6.5cm apart, so that children don’t get stuck between them.
It can be practical to buy a cot with removable sides so that it can still be used when the child is old enough to get in and out by themselves.
If removing a few bars to allow the child to get out, ”the gap should be at least 20cm wide,” says Geismann.
As babies and toddlers spend much more time lying down than adults, and their spines are still developing, experts recommend mattresses that are medium-hard, which is good for their back and prevents their head sinking too far into the mattress.
”To get an idea of how the child will lie on the bed, you can try it out in the shop,” says Nico Langenbeck from product testing association Stiftung Warentest.
If a child’s head and body sink too far into the mattress, then it’s too soft.
Some children want to get into their parents’ bed in the middle of the night, while others refuse to get into their own beds at all.
”Having a child sleep in your bed is always a compromise,” says Kalbitz, not least because an adult needs a different degree of firmness in a mattress because they are heavier.
Paediatricians advise having babies sleep in their own bed in the parents’ room in order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
What about adjustable beds that grow with the child?
“Adjustable beds have the advantage that you only have to buy one,” says Kalbitz. “But you might also have to buy non-standard size mattresses.”
The joint can also be a problem when the bed is extended.
Any bumps or gaps should be at the foot of the bed, as they are less of an issue down there, she says.
She also recommends adding an extra sheet or mattress protector at this point. – dpa