pool noodles in an urn

image by Ed Gaillard via a Creative Commons license

We had a problem in our house, and you may have it, too. Tell me if this sounds familiar:

Girl gets big, graduates from crib to bed. Girl brings seventy-kazallion small essential toys and dolls with her from crib to bed. Bed, unlike crib, has no bumper. Toys fall into abyss. Girl wails.

Sound familiar? It’s a problem we first faced with our now-five-year-old. But I solved it, and so we never had to endure those particular wails when her sister moved up into The Age of Real Furniture. And when their toddler brother is released from baby jail, I’ll have my tools at the ready. Never again will you or I face that dreaded bed-to-wall gap.

The solution is so easy it’s brilliant: repurpose one of those foam pool noodles.

Stick a pool noodle in the crevice between your kid’s bed and the wall, and make the bed over the noodle.  The comforter will fall gently on it so it becomes barely visible, but rest assured that you’ve created a sturdy yet subtle toy dam that will save you from the agony of spraining your wrist at 2:32am because Daddy Peanuts has fallen into the Dark Beyond.

Bonus points for double-dipping: is your little one protesting the use of a bed rail? Get another pool noodle, and put it on top of the mattress, at the edge, under the fitted sheet. The small bumper it creates will help Miss Independent stay atop her bed, without the indignity of a bed rail.

Both of my girls happened to transition from crib to bed in the spring time, so I probably paid full price for our toy-catchers. But it’s August, so I’m sure you can find a pool noodle on clearance somewhere. After all, retailers need to clear out all their summer inventories for their back-to-school Halloween Christmas displays.

At least you can rest assured that whatever new toys they acquire this holiday season, you won’t have to worry about them falling through the cracks.