My two youngest children were born 17 months apart. That should be enough to put fear into the heart of any parent, but as my youngest was finally getting to the point where he was ready to sleep in a crib, I realized that the older boy was a crazed sleeper, all over the crib.
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I didn't want to make the investment by getting a second crib or a toddler bed, since we already had some hand-me-down bed frames for the boys' room, but at the same time, everything I'd read about traditional bedrails had me afraid that Buster's wild sleeping would result in him and the bedrail on the floor. Then, a search of Babies 'R Us online at Amazon.com netted the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail.
::: The Basics :::
The Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail consists of two bedrails connected between the mattress and the box spring to keep them securely together. Fitting beds from twin size to queen size, this bedrail consists of two traditional-looking bedrails with fabric and mesh sides over metal supports connected beneath the bed by woven polyester straps and tightened with a ratcheting mechanism.
The rail fabric is blue, with white mesh sides to ensure air flow and prevent possible suffocation, white mechanisms with green levers for the ratcheting, and blue straps.
::: Assembly :::
Assembly for the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail warrants its own section in my review, because if you truly want to experience hell on earth, you should try assembling the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail by yourself. I possess a unique talent that I can follow any instruction sheet, often taking over for my "who needs an instruction sheet?" husband after he gives up searching through all those mean old words telling him what to do, but even following the instructions, I put pieces on backward, upside down, and I swear inside out. Many tears were shed during the assembly of the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail, and not all of them were mine.
To put it together, you have to put the metal rods together, put the fabric over the rods, and then place the rails into the center supports. Of course, I had to take things apart a few times, but I found that once I discarded the instructions and went by common sense, things went a lot faster. Each side rail fits into center supports that are held together by threading the strap through the bases that go under the mattress. After about 40 minutes of struggling and swearing, you will be ready to ratchet the straps until the rails are tight against the mattress. The ratchet mechanisms lock automatically so there is no worry that the straps will loosen.
Warning: Do not attempt to assemble this bedrail right before bed. You might go insane.
::: Actually Using the Bedrail :::
Once the painful assembly process was completed, I actually fell in love with this bedrail. Neither side flips down for easy bedding changes, but I'm willing to sacrifice a bit more effort in changing the bedding for a very secure fit, which the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail excels at.
In six months of use, I've never had to tighten the straps after determining how tight they actually needed to be over the first few nights. The coverage of this bedrail is more than adequate; I think that my son has about a foot at the top and bottom to get in and out of his bed, but the bedrails protect him during his wild nights of sleeping. He hasn't fallen out of bed once with the bed rails, which is an accomplishment for a child who can fall out of his chair during dinner, or my arms if he falls asleep in them. I've checked on him in the middle of the night to find him wedged up against the rails in all sorts of ways, even kicking at them in his sleep, and they haven't budged.
::: Additional Notes :::
Like all bedrails, the Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail is not suggested for use by either the manufacturer or the Consumer Products Safety Commission for use with children younger than two years of age. It must be installed with a standard-sized bed with a mattress and box spring preferred, or a mattress and solid wood support. The Summer Infant Sure & Secure Double Bedrail is not designed to be used with toddler beds, cribs, or any other type of bed.
::: Update: Customer Service ROCKS! :::
This morning, I went into the boys' room with Bug to assess whether or not he will be big enough to go into a bed when the new baby comes, as he is a little peanut, and I have to budget to replace all the baby things I no longer have. Lo and behold, the rail cover on the bed's front side had ripped. I shrugged, chalked it up to the wear and tear Buster can put on anything, and fired off an email to Summer Infant Products asking if I could purchase a new cover rather than replacing the rail, as Buster is still a crazy sleeper. A super-fast email response said that they would be happy to send me out a new set of covers and asked for nothing more than my mailing address. Wow.
::: Update #2: The New Version :::
Of course, almost immediately after I received the new covers, I decided Buster could be done with the rails and I would use them for Bug's big-boy bed. The very night I decided I would uninstall the bedrails the next day, Buster decided to use them as a vault apparatus the next morning to get out of bed and snapped the plastic (note: 40-pound boys should NOT use the rails as gymnastic equipment).
Having had such a good experience with the first version, I went ahead and ordered another one, not realizing that there was a design change. The new version of the Summer Infant Sure and Secure Double Bedrail has a center bar on both rail sides (I'm guessing I'll have less chance of them ripping this time), and a fold-down mechanism for easier sheet changes.
The problem with the new design is that the assembly takes even longer (and I didn't think that could be possible!) In addition, the strap-tightening mechanisms are now on the opposite side of the bed, so if you are using the rails without plenty of room on either side of the bed, it can be difficult to get the rails tightened or loosened without some contortionist abilities. The fold-down mechanism is a bit difficult to use, but seems to work fairly well, and does make changing the sheets more convenient than it was in the past. They also contain Bug in his new big-boy bed just as well as they contained his older brother, a big plus for me since Bug is a tiny little thing; even at almost three, he's about the size of an average 18-month-old, and I worry more about him being in a big huge bed and falling to the floor.
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