Foam Bed Guards for Toddlers

So you have decided to move your toddler into their first ‘big bed’ (or take the sides off their cotbed). Having done your online bed guard research you have a good idea about the options out there. The foam bed guards for toddlers look ideal you just want to double check that they are are good as they seem before you take the plunge.

Here is everything you need to know about buying a foam bed guard. What they are, how the work, what are the pros and cos and even some DIY alternatives you may prefer to try.

What is a Foam Bed Guard?

It is a firm foam wedge, often around 100cm long, that sits under the fitted sheet of your toddlers bed. Once fitted correctly it looks like a speed hump under the covers. They can be used on either side of the bed to stop your little one from falling out and/or banging against the wall. It will also keep teddies, dummies and other precious cargo in bed too.

They should be made from flame retardant foam which has been safety checked for use in a child’s bed. Not all foams are ‘safe’ so please take care to check what a particular foam may or may not contain before you buy. You can ask the seller to provide certification of testing if you feel at all unsure.

Wedge shapes vary, some have flat sides, some rounded but essentially they all provide a 10-15cm high bumper. This is sufficient to ensure a bump-free night for your little one.

How does a Foam Bed Guard work?

These foam bed guards for toddlers are so simple to use and can be in place and ready to use in seconds.

In 3 simple steps –

  1. Start with an unmade bed, no waterproof covers, just a bare mattress.
  2. Place the bed guard onto the mattress 5cm from the open edge of the bed.
  3. Remake the bed pulling the fitted sheets (and any mattress protector) over the foam. Now tuck the fitted sheet securely under the mattress. Voila!

I’ve read that the foam bed guards work based on the principle of “Passive Safety Protection’ ie that the gentle touch of the bumper subconsciously triggers your toddler’s natural “Passive-Safety’ response. This reminds the child that they are close to danger and they should move away.

I have no idea if that is correct but I do know that they work brilliantly.

What are the pro’s & con’s of a Foam Bed Guard for Toddlers?


  • Portable – as they are lightweight and bendable, even squashable, they can be taken in and out of bed easily. It is so simple to pop it in a bag, into the car and off to grandma’s house. Ideal for us in the caravan or on holiday with you.
  • Simple to install – as detailed above they can be in place in a matter of seconds. No fixing or inflating is required so they are kind to all joints, fingers and lungs!
  • Discreet – hidden under the bed sheets and covers they are unobtrusive. For parents whose toddlers want to feel like big boys and girls the minimalist design is a great choice.
  • Affordable – the average price for a 100cm foam wedge is around £10. With the more traditional metal, mesh and wooden bed guards costing closer to £20, and more, the foam bed guard is excellent value for money.
  • Story-time friendly – Storytelling is an integral part of most parents bedtime routine and the foam guard can be sat on during this precious time. Once stories are over and last kisses given the bumper will pop right back to its original shape.


  • Sleep safety only – the foam bed guard will not keep your little one in bed if they are wide-awake and have a mind to ‘escape’. It is effective and safe for sleepy or sleeping toddlers only.
  • Reduces bed space – particularly if you are using a guard on either side it will reduce the amount of space left from you little one. In a standard simple bed this isn’t a problem as mattresses are 90cm wide and 2 bumpers would take up less than 25cm of that. In a cotbed where mattresses are 70cm wide things may be rather more snug.
  • Extra deep sheets may be needed – most standard fitted sheets can fit a single foam guard under them. However with 2 in a bed you will need to either size up (eg single to double) or buy an extra deep fitted sheet. If you don’t you will probably get a ‘tent’ in the middle of the bed. This will be great fun for your tiny human during the day but not what you want them to be burrowing under at bedtime.

D.I.Y alternatives

For a laugh I’ll share with you several of the do-it-yourself bed guards I discovered online – please don’t try these at home!

Pool Noodles – I can see how these might seem almost the same but being round and skinny they do have a tendency to roll and bend. Also they are not accredited for use in a bed. Unless you are prepared to strap several together even the tiniest and lightest of our children will roll over them.

Pipe Insulation – yes, you read that correctly. Some entrepreneurial parents have resorted to using lengths of pipe insulation under the sheets. Again, rather flimsy (hollow!) and packed with chemicals.

Towels – this is a slightly better option than the pool noodles or pipe insulation as they tend to be cotton and therefore chemical free. The idea is that you roll up several towels and shove them in a line under the fitted sheets. I think this may work as a temporary fix.

I hope you have found this blog informative and now feel equipped to confidently choose to buy a Foam Bed Guard for your Toddler.