I started like I always do, Googling for images of special needs_____, in this case: beds. Just to see how other people solve the problem. What problem? Well, in our case a kid who is too tall for his crib, but doesn’t yet understand how to climb in or out of pretty much anything, much less safely. In addition, we are only just beginning to sleep through the night (sometimes) and don’t really want him roaming through the house when he isn’t asleep at 3am.
The last part was the easiest to solve. We put a baby gate at the entrance to his room and completely child proofed it. Everything is anchored to the walls. There are only two cords and they are both well anchored and hidden. The curtains were pinned up to halve their length and keep out of reach. All edges are padded. And lastly, the toys in there are quiet enough to sleep through…in case he wants to be up when we don’t.
The harder part was the bed. The first pictures I found of Pediatric Beds for Special Needs were basically twin sized cribs. The walls can vary from one to four feet high. The sides can be bars like a crib or Plexiglas, padded or not. No doubt there are kiddos who need this kind of bed for their safety, but I did not feel ‘Buddy’ did. Nor was I willing to pay the $7,000 plus price tag.
Next I looked at day beds. My thinking was they would have three sides, and I would only have to worry about one open side. Then a friend mentioned a trundle bed. If he did fall out, he could land on the second mattress. Again, the price tag was high, for a maybe.
I began to contemplate a custom bed, something that converts to a more traditional bed as he grew. But then I noticed the spring frame in his crib. I noticed the way the corners were reinforced and thought, well there is his new bed right there. So custom I would have. It would be simple and homemade, and very, very inexpensive. Here is what I did…
- -4’x4’x8’ Doug Fir for $10. Home Depot cut 4: 5” pieces from it for me.
- -12 wood screws about 1.5”
- -12 washers
- -Everbilt 2 in. Zinc Plated Double-Wide Mending Plates (4-Pack) $3.22
- -Magic Sliders Round (or similar) (4-Pack)$7.98
- -Paint (I used left over found in basement)
- - drill bit to match your screws
(Oh, I added foam padding to the exposed corner of the frame too. The mattress covers it, but just in case...)