Montessori Floor Bed VS Crib: Which One Is Better?

Montessori floor bed vs crib

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In this article, we compare a Montessori floor bed vs crib, their pros and cons, safety, and developmental impact.

In our experience, Montessori floor beds are better because they are safer and nurture your child’s independence, curiosity, and overall development. 

Our daughter began sleeping on her floor bed when she was 4 months old. We chose the floor bed because of the developmental benefits it provided our daughter.

There is a lot of skepticism about floor beds but believe us, if you set up the right environment for your child, you will witness them blossom into independent and thriving children.

Summary of floor bed vs crib

Floor Bed Crib
Freedom of Movement
Prepared Environment
🤷🏽‍♀️ (Kind Of)
"Yes" Space

Montessori floor bed vs crib: which one is better for your baby?

Let’s go into detail about the safety and developmental benefits cribs and floor beds have on your baby.


Weighing the safety of toddler floor beds and cribs can be a challenging and overwhelming task for new parents as it was for us.

A lot of studies have been done on floor beds and crib safety. Some studies show that floor beds are safer and others show that cribs are safer.

Some studies go into great detail about SIDS or other safety hazards. 

This just makes things more overwhelming because you are divided between the two. If both are safe or bad, which one should you choose?

The truth is that both Montessori floor beds and cribs are safe when you use them correctly

We chose a Montessori floor bed because it provided a natural development and safe sleeping environment for our child. 

We also liked the low height of Montessori floor beds which is about 4 to 8 inches, depending on whether you only use a crib mattress or bed frame.

There is no risk of your baby falling from a significant height because floor beds are placed directly on the floor.

This setup gives your baby the freedom to move around and explore their surroundings independently.

The type of floor bed mattress also impacts the safety of the floor bed. We have the Newton Crib Mattress because it is breathable, firm, and follows AAP sleep guidelines.

Cribs are designed to provide a secure and enclosed space where your baby can sleep without the risk of wandering. 

They have slats that prevent your baby from getting out on their own. Crib walls are usually high and act as a barrier to prevent accidental falls. 

However, cribs can limit your baby’s ability to explore and develop physical skills. Your child could also have a harder time transitioning from the crib to a toddler bed.


Our daughter’s independence improved dramatically simply by adding a Montessori floor bed in her room.

Since it is placed directly on the floor, it allows our daughter to get up and explore her sleeping space independently. 

She has the freedom to play with her Pikler triangle, her Montessori toys that we set up on her shelf, or read a book.

This sense of autonomy encourages her to make choices and decisions on her own. At the same time, she is working on her cognitive development and problem-solving skills. 

When she was an infant, she crawled from her floor bed to her pull-up bar where she practiced standing up and this improved her physical strength.

This repetitive movement of squatting using her pull-up bar and moving from one end to the other helped her walk at only 9 months!

Cribs, on the other hand, prevent your baby from getting in and out independently. They will depend on you to lift them in and out of the crib and this limits their autonomy. 

And because their movements are confined, their physical and cognitive development will be compromised. 

A crib does not give them the same opportunities to explore, make choices, or practice motor skills as freely as those in a floor bed.

And at some point, your baby will transition to a toddler bed. Because your baby has never slept in an open environment, they may have a challenging time adjusting to a floor bed.

This transition can be overwhelming because they are suddenly presented with an open sleeping space they are not used to.

Freedom of Movement 

Freedom of movement plays a crucial role in your child’s physical and cognitive growth.

Montessori floor beds provide unrestricted movement which allows your child to explore their surroundings safely and independently because they don’t have any barriers.

This active exploration improves their physical development and enhances their cognitive abilities. 

Cribs on the other hand do not allow your baby to explore independently because they need you to tell them when to play and explore. 

Crib slats work as a wall that prevents your baby from moving around their bedroom.

And while this confinement may provide a sense of security, it hinders their development of gross motor skills. 

Your baby will have fewer opportunities to practice physical activities, which are essential for building strength and coordination.

The Prepared Environment

the prepared environment for infants and toddlers includes a floor bed

A floor bed aligns closely with the Montessori method of a prepared environment because it allows your child to explore and interact with their surroundings. 

Make sure to always baby-proof your baby’s room and remove potential hazards when you set up a Montessori floor bed.

Also, provide age-appropriate toys and materials that are at your child’s eye level and within their reach. 

This fosters a safe and stimulating environment that encourages active exploration and learning.

The floor bed can also create a cozy and inviting atmosphere where your child feels comfortable and secure.

You can still set up a prepared environment with a crib but the benefits may be limited.

You can add age-appropriate toys and mobiles in the crib but make sure that the toys you provide are developmentally appropriate to stimulate your child’s senses.


We felt more closed and connected with our baby because the floor bed allowed us to easily attend to our child. 

Whenever our child cried or felt uncomfortable, we responded quickly to her needs, especially throughout the night.

Our baby woke up many times at night and we lay down next to her floor bed to provide comfort and reassure her that everything was fine.

If you are breastfeeding, the floor bed makes it easy to tend to your baby. 

You can breastfeed your baby on the floor bed and simply leave them there when they fall asleep instead of carrying them from the nursing pillow to the floor bed.

Overall, the floor bed brought us closer and created a special bond and trust.

Creating a “Yes” Space

When your child’s environment is not properly set up, you will constantly tell your child, “No, don’t do that. Stop that!”

So how do you go from telling your child “No!” to “Yes, it’s OK.”? Create a YES space.

A “yes” space is simply an area where your child can safely explore and interact with their environment without constant restrictions or hazards. 

A Montessori floor bed is part of your child’s “yes” space because it allows your child to make choices within a secure and controlled environment.

Common myths about floor beds

Common myths about floor beds often lead to misconceptions about their safety and effectiveness for infants. 

Here are 5 common myths that need to be dismissed:

Myth 1: Floor Beds Are Unsafe

No, floor beds are not unsafe. 

Floor beds are safe sleeping options if you set them up correctly and in a safe sleeping environment.

They eliminate the risk of falls from crib heights, and babies can safely roll or crawl off the mattress onto the floor, which is generally a low-risk surface.


Myth 2: Babies Will Never Sleep Alone

Another misconception is that babies who sleep in floor beds will never learn to sleep alone. Our daughter has been sleeping alone on her floor bed for months.

She learned to self-soothe and developed better sleeping habits.


Myth 3: Babies Will Never Stay in Bed

This is far from the truth. 

Yes, you are giving your baby freedom to move but a well-prepared environment and consistent sleep routines can encourage your baby to understand and respect bedtime.


Myth 4: Babies Will Be Unsupervised

Setting up a Montessori floor bed and a “yes” space does not mean that you will just leave your child unsupervised.

You should still supervise your child, especially when they sleep. In fact, you’ll probably monitor your child more during the first few days when they sleep.


Myth 5: Floor Beds Are Only for Certain Parenting Styles

This is also far from the truth.

You can set up a floor bed regardless of your parenting style as long as you focus on the developmental benefits it provides.


Best practices for using a floor bed

I want to share some best practices to ensure safety and promote your child’s healthy development:

  1. Baby-Proof the Room: Thoroughly baby-proof your baby’s sleeping area. Remove any potential hazards, add child-size furniture, cover electrical outlets, and ensure there are no small objects or choking hazards within your baby’s reach.


  2. Choose a Firm Mattress: I encourage you to get the Newton Crib Mattress because it follows sleeping guidelines set by the AAP. Check out our full review of the Newton Kids Mattress.


  3. Provide Safe Bedding: Avoid pillows, thick blankets, or stuffed animals that could pose suffocation risks. You can buy appropriate bedding with the Newton Crib Mattress.


  4. Supervise During Sleep: While floor beds promote independence, you should still supervise your baby during sleep. Ensure they are positioned on their back, and follow safe sleep guidelines to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


  5. Create a Bedtime Routine: Establish a consistent bedtime routine so your baby learns when it is time to sleep. Activities like reading a book, singing, or gentle rocking can help create a calming bedtime ritual.


  6. Transition Gradually: Don’t expect things to go smoothly at first. You can begin the transition by allowing your baby to play and take naps on the floor bed. This will help them get familiar with their new sleeping environment. 

What to do next?

Both floor beds and cribs are safe for babies to sleep in but a floor bed offers more developmental benefits and sets the foundation for lifelong skills.

See my article on the benefits of Montessori floor beds so you better understand the impact on your child’s development.

When you are ready to buy a floor bed, I recommend the floor bed by Sprout Kids and the Newton Crib Mattress.

About Leslie - Latinx Montessori

Hello, I am Leslie. I am on a mission to help you support the growth and development of your child. With the right tools and proper guidance, you can navigate parenthood with confidence and assertion! My goal is to equip you with knowledge to help you construct a strong foundation for your child’s life.

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