Pros: Fun, sturdy, has definite kid appeal
Cons: Pricey if you buy it new, takes up a lot of space
When my son was a baby we got him a gorgeous sleigh style wooden crib that could be converted into a toddler bed and later a full bed (Baby's Dream Generation Next). We were doing great through the toddler bed stage, but then came the news that I was expecting another child. So, we converted the toddler bed back into a crib for the baby-to-be and moved my son (then 3 years old) into a twin sized bed. Things were great at first, and he enjoyed his big boy bed. But, when the baby came along he developed a lot of separation anxiety and some jealousy. More and more he was wanting to be in our room, in our bed. Eventually he was out and out rejecting sleeping in his own bed. This has been a struggle now for 2 years, and I honestly don't know why I put up with it for as long as I did. Well, yes I do. My son is autistic, and admittedly I do coddle him a bit more than I probably should. He's very emotionally fragile and at 6 years old he melts down (akin to something a 2 year old might do) so I elect to pick my battles with him very carefully in order to keep peace. I knew that I had to get him back into his room at night but was at a loss on how to do it without it being damaging and causing even more regression. We tried everything - re-doing his room, a special night time routine, and more. Nothing worked. So I asked him what kind of beds he liked or wanted since he clearly didn't like his own. When asked he would respond to 1 of 2 kinds: bunk beds, or a race car bed. Due to safety concerns, I made the executive decision against getting any kind of bunk or loft bed (even though it was clearly his first choice and would save space in his room). And this is how we came to own a Little Tikes Race Car Twin Bed
About the Little Tikes Race Car Twin Bed
Little Tikes actually makes several different car beds, and if you are in the market to pick one up it can be a bit confusing. Let me take a minute to clarify the different versions that are available.
Roadster Toddler Bed $149 MSRP this bed is made to accomodate a crib mattress. At this time Little Tikes only sells this bed in blue.
Sports Car Twin Bed $299 MSRP this one looks like a speedster and is twin-sized (single mattress), not the small toddler bed. It looks almost identical to the Roadster bed but is in the larger twin size. Little Tikes sells this bed in several different colors including: Cherry Red, Blue, Pottery Blue, White, Pink, Black, Pottery Yellow, Hunter Green, and Lightning Mcqueen versions. They also sell decal sets for $19.99 so that you can customize it, choose from: butterfly, cow, flames, camo, flames, police, or patriotic themes.
Race Car Twin Bed $399 MSRP this one looks similar to the Sports Car twin bed but is the "deluxe" (and even larger) version. The front hood of the bed lifts up to reveal a toy box/storage area. There's also a rear spoiler that doubles as a storage shelf (for books, an alarm clock, or favorite plush friends). At this time, Little Tikes only sells this bed in red. This is the bed that my son has and is the subject of this review.
Purchased new this bed is $399 not including any shipping or delivery charge which could add another $100 easily. This is just for the actual bed itself, not the twin sized mattress and boxspring which you will need to purchase separately. Though this bed has a suggested retail price of $399, I was extremely fortunate enough to purchase one for just $40. I bought it used as one of my friends was getting rid of this bed in order to put bunk beds in her son's room. She had actually purchased the bed used, so this bed is on at least its 3rd owner. When we're done with it, I'm sure I'll do the same. From my experience, the big Little Tikes products have amazing resale value both at garage sales, and online at places like eBay.com or Craigslist. I've actually bought low at a yard sale and turned around and sold high on eBay several years later. Call me crazy, but I get a bit of a charge out of that. My husband can't believe that I'm the same woman that he married as I once said I'd never shop at yardsales! Boy, was I missing out!
The Little Tikes Race Car Twin Bed comes with wooden mattress supports that are slats (like 2X4's) that go crossways on the bed. There are 2 levels you can put these slats on - low or high. We are using them on the lowest level, and have a standard twin mattress and twin sized boxspring set inside. This brings the mattress height up to almost even with the side of the bed and makes it pretty easy to change the sheets since there is a small gap (big enough for a hand) between the mattress and the bed-frame.
You can also use just a mattress without a boxspring, but then you will need to have a piece of plywood or bunkbed support (not sold with the bed). If you are using this bed with a younger child, or one who falls out of bed - then I'd suggest going this route and putting the mattress supports on the lowest level. This has the advantage of the bed essentially having built in rails on all sides to keep your little one safe inside. The downside, however, is that set up like this does make it a pain to change the sheets. One of my friends has this same bed (in blue) and she transitioned her toddler right from the crib into it set up like this. When her son got a bit older she moved it up to the higher level. While her son preferred it on the lower level, now that its on the higher one I no longer have to listen to her complaining about stripping the bed like I used to! Since we already owned a boxspring I didn't even consider setting my son's bed up like this (plus he is 6 and doesn't need the side-rails).
The Little Tikes Race Car Twin Bed comes disassembled and is in 4 main pieces. Disassembled it took up the entire back of my mini-van with both rows of seats down in order for me to transport it home. Purchased brand new the box size is enormous at 75.75"L x 22.02"W x 53.48"H and weighing in at 145 pounds. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with that massive (and heavy) box and instead had to deal with 4 (5, if you count the lid for the hood) lighter yet still quite bulky plastic pieces. My girlfriend and I got it loaded into my van by ourselves without husbands help. When I got it home, I unloaded it from my van and carried the pieces to my front lawn where my husband took it from there. I'm strong but I'm also short and the idea of carrying pieces that are bigger than me up 2 sets of stairs was his job. My husband put this bed together in less than 10 minutes (including taking apart the old bed and putting in the mattress & boxspring!) with no complaints at all. The pieces all just snap together with no extra hardware required. Note: whoever bought our bed brand new had to attach the hubcaps onto the wheels which screw on). I'm aware that the newer versions sold by Little Tikes have gone to a decal version of the hubcap! Our bed is actually missing one hubcap which is why it was only $40. Missing one hubcap wasn't a deal breaker for me because the bed is up against a wall anyways so unless I told you its missing you wouldn't even know.
Once assembled this Race Car Bed from Little Tikes looks great. Many a child (boy or girl) would love to sleep in this fun bed that looks like a red sports car. The bed is made of Little Tikes sturdy plastic and is very easy to keep clean. The plastic can get scratched up a bit but unless you look right up close any 'wear and tear' damage is not noticeable. My son, daughter, and the previous owner have jumped and climbed all over this bed and I have no fear of it falling apart or breaking. The piece which is the hood of the car and the lid to the toybox is the piece that has shown the most damage (a small dent in the plastic). Little Tikes has a recommended weight limit of 200 pounds on this bed. I've laid down on it to read to the kids, and so has my husband and I'm fairly confident that it can hold 200 pounds and then some.
The lid is completely removable and not hinged, which means it comes pretty easily. Inside the hood is a toy storage area, always useful. I should say that it is especially useful because there is no under-the-bed storage because the plastic frame of the car goes all the way to the floor. The spoiler styled bookshelf can also store some favorite toys (stuffed animals), books, or an alarm clock. I like that the Race Car Twin Bed has the in-the-hood storage and headboard bookshelf, though it also adds an additional $100 to the pricetag over the Sports Car Twin Bed models. Do know that this bed also takes up significantly more space than a standard twin bed and is both longer and wider - the assembled dimensions are 103.00"L x 57.00"W x 37.00"H. If you are putting this up against a wall it will not sit flush right up against it because the side of the car is curved. This bed is definitely not for a small bedroom, thankfully my son has the biggest bedroom in the house. Lucky Kid!
When setting this Race Car Twin Bed up in my son's room I put on a set of Disney's CARS sheets since this bed looks like Lightning McQueen. Little Tikes actually sells a version of their Sports Car Bed complete with McQueen decals. They also sell several different decal packs should you want to detail your bed and make it your own such as flames or police lights (the sets are $20). Unfortunately they don't list the Liqhtning McQueen decals separately, else I may be tempted to pick them up for my son who is a big fan of the movie. Even without adding on the stickers (lets face it, thats what decals are!) it looks enough like Lightning McQueen for my kid!
My son has been enjoying his race car bed and is actually sleeping in it. The fact that its gotten him out of our bed and into his own is enough reason for me to endorse it. My 2 year old daughter is also completely smitten with this bed. I'm sure part of it has to do with the fact that it is her big brothers, but also because it looks like McQueen. She willingly climbs into it to read and take naps in while her brother is at school. Being that she is a small 2 year old she has a hard time getting into the bed because of its high sides but figured out that the easiest way for her to get on and off is via the hood (very adorable to watch her climb up and slide down). As for the age recommendation on this bed, Little Tikes suggests 3 and up. I am sure that my son will reach a point where this may be too childish for him. I don't want to think about that sad day however. Secretly I wish I could sleep in a bed like this and hope we can hold onto it for as long as possible. I anticipate we'll get several more years of use out of it before it can go onto its next owner. My suggestion if you are looking for a car bed and have the space is to skip the smaller Roadster Toddler version and opt for the Little Tikes Race Car Twin bed.
We love it!