Pros: Inexpensive, nice neutral color, compact
Cons: Side rails could be a little higher
I know it's terrible to admit this, but I always loved it when my kids were too small to crawl out of their cribs. There are times (like 3 AM) when you really want them to stay put and not wander around the house. I've even been known to make the cage (I mean the crib) a time-out place for the out-of-control toddler tantrums of which my youngest is famous.
Well, sad to say, those days are over. A few weeks ago I put my two-year-old son, Nicholas, in his crib after he bit my arm (the bruise is STILL there). Less than a minute later I heard his door open and he came out with the biggest grin on his face. I know he had completely forgotten about his transgression since he had just accomplished the coveted feat of scaling the side of his crib. It was really hard for me to stay mad in the face of all his exuberance but the bruise on my arm reminded me to follow through with the time-out.
The evening Nicholas was in and out of his crib like a yo-yo. I put him in and said "goodnight" and he was out and on the floor before I could get to his bedroom door. He made it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with his crib anymore. Needless to say, no one got very much sleep that night.
The next day I headed out with the goal of getting him a toddler bed. Though we had moved our older two directly into twin beds from the crib, we just don't have the space for a twin bed in the tiny room that he's sharing with his brother.
I had fantasies about getting Nicholas one of those incredibly cute toddler beds from Little Tikes. You know the ones - the sports car and the big red fire engine. Toys-R-Us had both of these toddler beds in stock but the price ($150) made me pause and then I found out that they still needed a separate mattress support (another $20). Fortunately, it turns out that both of the Little Tikes beds were too wide for the space we had available so I, in turn, went looking for the cheapest toddler bed I could find. At that point, my options quickly narrowed to the Cosco Nod-a-Way Toddler Bed. Forty-one dollars later, this unassembled bed was in the van and headed home.
Out of the Box Experience
The Cosco Nod-a-Way Toddler Bed came unassembled in a large, flat box (35"x46"x7"). I had to fold the back seat down in my van to fit it in so I wouldn't count on hauling it in most car trunks.
When I got it home, I found it a breeze to assemble. I just pointed to the box in the car and said to my husband "There it is - put it together." Of course, he didn't find assembly to be quite as simple as I did (since he had to actually do it).
There are essentially six parts to the bed (headboard, foot board, two bottom panels, and two guardrails) that need to be put together with a multitude of bolts of different sizes. The directions are fairly clear and straightforward but maybe not be as specific as they need to be since my "fix-it" husband managed to put the wrong bolt in one place and stripped the threads on it. Fortunately, he was also able to rethread it (since he IS such as fix-it guy) and eventually everything came together into a complete bed.
The bed is fairly light (especially in comparison to his crib) so my husband was able to carry it by himself and get it through the doorway with no problem. The crib mattress fit very snugly - almost too snugly. However, we have one of the more expensive and thick crib mattresses on the market so I imagine other crib mattresses may fit with a bit less effort.
The Fully Assembled Nod-a-Way Bed
This is a simple little white bed, not much larger in dimensions than the crib that it replaced. The base is a set of white metal tubes that support the mattress. The bed has a high white plastic headboard and a lower white plastic foot board that , together, give the appearance of an old-fashioned sleigh. The two tapered guardrails are also made of white plastic. They extend for 26 inches from the head of the bed and are almost one foot high off the base at the peak height, sloping down towards the middle of the bed.
The first thing we both noticed when we stepped back to look at the finished product is that the extra thick crib mattress came almost to the top of the guardrails, reducing their apparent effectiveness in keeping our son from rolling out of his bed. The two rails only extend 2 1/2 to 3 inches above the mattress. However, Nicholas hasn't fallen out yet so they appear to be doing their job.
The headboard and foot board flare out near the bottom, keeping the bed from being able to be pushed tight against the wall. I'm not really worried about my son falling between the bed and the wall - he's too big for that. However, I frequently have to fish his stuffed animal companions and books out of the gap.
What Does the Uncaged Toddler Think of His New Bed?
Well, Nicholas certainly likes the "idea" of it. He tells everyone he sees that the crib is "broken" (it's unassembled on our porch) and that "I got a new big boy bed!" He doesn't have any hesitation in lying down on the bed. However, he also doesn't have any hesitation in getting up. Let's just say he hasn't yet learned how to manage his new-found freedom.
I finally got him to take naps in his bed by lying down with him for a few minutes. I know that the weight limit is 50 lbs. (and I definitely weigh more than that) but the bed seems to be holding up just fine. Of course, I don't bounce on it. In fact, the two older kids uncharacteristically have avoided bouncing on this bed, probably because we threatened them that Nicholas would have to sleep with THEM if his bed broke. Therefore, I can't tell you how well this holds up to bouncing and rough-housing. I'll up-date this later once I find out.
What Does the Very Exhausted Dr_Steph Think of the Nod-a-Way Bed?
I think this is a very reasonably priced, sturdy, and attractive little toddler bed, though the name is a bit misleading. Our son rarely just nods away in it, but that really has nothing to do with the bed. If only it would come with some sort of magic tranquilizer that just sends him into dreamland. At least I know I can sleep in it if he kicks me too much while he's sleeping in OUR bed.