How Does a Convertible Crib Work?

By April Sanders

What are Convertible Cribs?

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How Does a Convertible Crib Work?

Convertible cribs are full-sized, wooden cribs that can serve as both toddler beds and twin-sized beds when adjusted. They are usually more expensive than standard, non-adjustable cribs, but many parents feel that in the long run, they will save money because they won't have to buy a toddler bed, followed by a standard twin bed. Some parents, however, don't like the idea of transforming a crib into a toddler and twin bed. This is because, to them, it still looks like a crib, even when used as a twin bed. These parents would prefer to just buy the new beds for their child.

Converting the Crib into a Toddler Bed

All convertible cribs have different instructions for converting into a toddler bed, based on the design of the crib, but there are some similarities. In all convertible cribs, one side of the crib is removed and replaced with a low safety rail. The safety rails are designed to protect a toddler from rolling out of the bed, but are low enough on one end so that the toddler can crawl into the bed. In drop-side cribs, the drop side is usually the only side that can be removed and replaced with the rail. In cribs with secure rails (designed to drop the mattress, not the rail), either side of the crib can be removed by simply unscrewing the bolts and lifting the side out. Then, the railing can be installed using the same bolt holes, nuts and screws. You will end up with a tall headboard, footboard, one high side and the low, toddler rail side; similar in looks to a daybed. This toddler bed uses the crib mattress and box springs. The side rail can be removed when the toddler is more comfortable sleeping in the bed.

Converting the Crib into a Twin Bed

To convert the crib into a twin bed, the crib must be taken completely apart. Since most cribs need to be assembled before use, this is not too difficult. Simply disassemble the crib as you assembled it, taking care not to scratch the paint, if your crib is painted. Note that cribs with drop sides cannot usually be converted into twin beds. Remove the box springs and mattress completely, and the short sides of the crib. Store these in a dry, cool location. Keep the two wide, tall sides of the crib. These will be your headboard and footboard. Purchase a twin-sized box spring and mattress, and attach the headboard and footboard to the box spring. Some crib manufactures sell side rails that you can purchase to match the headboard and footboard, but not all do.