Is a Montessori Floor Bed Safe for Infants and Toddlers?

There are many opinions out there when it comes to safe sleep, and how sleep should be done. Let’s look at the safety of a Montessori floor bed for infants and toddlers. As a Montessori-trained guide, and mom to identical twin toddlers who have been sleeping on a floor bed since shortly after birth, I have many reasons why I think a Montessori floor bed can be safe for infants and toddlers. Let’s dive into what Montessori floor beds are and some of the common safety concerns parents have when it comes to having their child sleep on the floor. 

A Montessori floor bed with text overlay that says "Safety for Montessori floor beds"

What Are Montessori Floor Beds?

A Montessori floor bed is a bed on the floor. It can be just that simple, with just a floor mattress. You can also get a bed frame that lifts the mattress off the ground. This will allow better airflow under the mattress. For the best floor bed options, check out my blog post on top Montessori floor beds. In that post, I share recommendations for using a twin mattress or a full-size mattress. Whatever best meets your needs!

Purpose of a Montessori Floor Bed

The purpose of a Montessori floor bed is to allow freedom of movement within the sleeping space for young children. Instead of a traditional crib, use a firm low mattress on the floor. A floor bed frame and a mattress on the floor will allow a child to have greater autonomy in their own room. I have found the Montessori-style bes to be an amazing way to create healthy sleep habits. It respects the child’s need for movement and offers a great way to connect with your child through sleep.

A Montessori Floor bed.
Sprout Sosta Bed

Pictured above is the Sprout Sosta bed. Use my code “TWINMAMA10” for 10% off any Sprout order! Or check out their other floor bed options!

When using a Montessori floor bed, it’s essential to baby-proof the room and eliminate potential hazards. By preparing a Montessori bedroom, we are simply expanding the space available for the child to fall asleep. Rather than the four sides of a crib, we are giving them the whole room. Montessori families that use floor beds recognize that a child’s development requires them to move freely. Floor beds allow us to offer this freedom safely when we take the necessary steps to secure the room. This might include adding safety features outside the room, such as a baby gate at the top of the stairs. 

Addressing Specific Safety Concerns

All of the choices we make will come with safety concerns. Here are some common concerns about using a Montessori floor bed for infants and toddlers. These answers are based on my personal experiences and are not intended as medical advice.

What if they fall off their bed?

There is a good chance if you use a Montessori floor bed with your infant or toddler that they will fall off of their bed. Remember, a fall of 4 to 6 inches carries a low risk of injury. As your child adjusts, they will learn where the edge of the bed is and likely stay on it more often. It’s a good idea to place a carpet or rug where they might fall. Just make sure the rug doesn’t pose a risk to safe sleep. Although my twins occasionally fell off their beds, they were never hurt by it. They were learning to get off and back on, exploring and using their freedom. The floor bed provided them with many opportunities to explore and experiment with their bodies and new skills they were developing like rolling and scooting.

Baby sleeping on a floor bed with his head resting on the mattress

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Won’t they get out of their bed and stay awake to play?

It is possible that at some point they may wake up during their nap or at nighttime and get off their bed and find something to do. We can keep a few activities on a low shelf in their room. They may go back to their bed when they are ready or fall asleep right on the floor. My boys have done both of these things and it has worked out just fine. A way to minimize this is by observing their sleep cues and putting them down for naps and bedtime when they are tired but not overtired.

How do I secure cords and outlets?

Outlets and cords pose potential risks in a Montessori bedroom and the entire room needs to be baby-proofed if using a floor bed. Check out this blog post where I dive into everything you need to do to baby-proof your Montessori nursery. Make sure to add outlet box covers and cord covers. Also, anchor any furniture to the wall. 

Outlet box with cord covers

​Will mold grow on the mattress if it is placed directly on the floor?

There is the potential to get mold or mildew on the mattress if used directly on the floor. It will be best to get a bed frame that lifts the mattress off the ground to allow for good airflow. Placing a firm mattress directly on the floor may be a safe option if you live in a dry climate and are diligent about airing it out and vacuuming underneath it. 

Sometimes you want to try something out before committing and investing money into it. If you are uncertain if the use of floor beds is right for you, temporarily using a mattress on the floor may be a great way to determine whether you want to invest in a floor bed. Just be sure to clean underneath it regularly. Check out some of these great Montessori floor beds to find the best option for your own space.

Does a Montessori floor bed follow safe sleep practices?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only a “crib”, “bassinet” or “portable play yard” with firm mattresses and a fitted sheet are considered safe. We need to ensure the child’s sleep environment is a safe space. To do that while using a Montessori floor bed, you should use a firm mattress approved for use with infants and toddlers. If using just a mattress on the floor that doesn’t have a frame, keep as many sides open and away from walls. This will ensure your child won’t become wedged between the mattress and the wall. Given all the information, you must make the right choice for you and your family! I think you can follow all of the safe sleep guidelines and use a Montessori-style floor bed, but that is my personal opinion. 

Montessori floor bed in a bedroom.
Sprout Birch Montessori Floor Bed

Pictured above is the Sprout Birch Montessori Floor Bed. Use my code “TWINMAMA10” for 10% off any Sprout order!

How do I make my child’s room safe when using a Montessori floor bed?

The Montessori philosophy isn’t a free-for-all; it emphasizes the importance of creating a safe sleep environment for your child. It’s about respecting the child by setting clear boundaries while allowing for greater freedom. This is precisely what we achieve with a floor bed. By preparing a safe sleep space, we make the entire room accessible to the child.

In our Montessori nursery, this involved using outlet box covers, cord covers, a baby monitor with full room visibility, anchoring furniture to the wall, and providing only safe toys. When using a floor bed with an infant, we also ensured that there were no extra blankets or stuffed animals in the sleeping area. There are many safe ways to create a Montessori bedroom using a floor bed.

What size floor bed should I get?

The size of a floor bed that you get is a personal preference. A crib mattress will work as well as larger sizes. Some families like to get a larger bed to allow them to lie down next to their child. I found this very helpful, especially with middle-of-the-night wake-ups.

How do I keep my child on their floor bed?

A floor bed is a place for the child to sleep but also allows for freedom of movement. You may not be able to keep your child on their floor bed at all times. However, they will learn that their bed is the place they sleep and they will even go get into bed all on their own.

I remember the first time my twins did this, it was amazing! I watched them get off their bed, go play with something, and climb back up into bed to fall asleep. By preparing an environment that allows the freedom to sleep, play, and move, they are learning how to meet those needs within themselves. Sometimes, if it seems that my twins are having a hard time settling in, I will go into their room and return them to their bed and remind them that it is time for sleep. This often is enough to help them settle into sleep and stay in their bed. 

When is it safe to begin using a Montessori floor bed?

There are no clear guidelines on when using a Montessori floor bed is safe. We can look to the AAP safety guidelines. They recommend an infant sleeps in their parent’s bedroom until at least 6 months of age. I found we were able to both meet that recommendation and use crib-size mattresses on the floor with a safe environement. This made for a smooth transition into the use of a floor bed in their own bedroom. 

After 1 year of age but definately between 2 to 3 years old would be a great time to transition a young toddler to a floor bed. It is around this time that a child transitions out of a crib into a toddler bed anyway.

Tips for Ensuring Safety with Montessori Floor Beds

Every family needs to develop a sleep philosophy that meets their individual needs one they are comfortable with and find safe. If you decide that a Montessori floor bed is a good option for your child and your family there are things you can do to help ensure your child’s safety. 

  • Baby-proof the entire room.
  • Prepare the environment with a safe firm mattress.
  • Keep the mattress away from as many walls as possible, unless used with a frame.
  • Clean the bedroom regularly, and vacuum under and around the bed.
  • Be present in the room or have a baby monitor that allows you to see all parts of the room. We have loved this baby monitor in our Montessori nursery. 
  • ​Maintain a clutter-free and safe room.
  • Always double-check the room before leaving your child unattended to sleep. 

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