Guide to Selecting Bed Rails

The bed is very important for many of us, as this piece of furniture is what provides us with good sleep and relaxation whenever we are at home. While beds are relatively safe for a lot of people, they can sometimes be dangerous for those that have no control over their movements while they are sleeping, and these include kids, the elderly, and people that have special needs.

Seniors are often prone to falling out of bed whenever they are sleeping or trying to get out of bed. There are many reasons why the elderly would suddenly fall out of bed, but the common factors include sudden involuntary movements caused by an illness or disorder and the lack of control over their movements caused by weak muscles and bones. [1]

Thankfully, there is a way for caregivers or loved ones to prevent seniors and patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or special needs from falling out of bed, and this is done through the installation of bed rails on each side of the bed. What are bed rails? And are there different types of bed rails available today? Let us find out as we take a close look at the guide to selecting bed rails.

What Are Bed Rails?

elderly man using a bed rail

Bed rails are accessories that are installed on the sides of the bed, particularly on the left and right sides. However, if one side of the bed is right on the wall of the bedroom, then you don’t have to put a bed rail on that side anymore since the wall will already prevent the patient from falling on the side. A lot of us have most likely seen a bed rail on the top section of a double-decker deck, as the rail prevents the person sleeping on the top bed from falling from a significantly high height.

There are a few benefits to using bed rails, and these include:

  • Reduces fall risk for seniors and patients with disabilities and special needs.
  • Provides support for patients, as the bed rails can be held onto whenever the patient wants to get out of bed.
  • Can have pockets where medicines, ointments, and other items can be stored.

In addition to bed rails, there are also alternatives like roll guards and foam bumpers. Caregivers or family members of the patient can use the said alternatives, which are softer accessories that are placed underneath the bed sheets and on each side of the bed. [2]

Unfortunately, these softer accessories don’t provide the same level of support and protection compared to bed rails. So, caregivers may still need to use bed rails during specific situations, which include days wherein the patient is in a deep sleep and doesn’t need to get out of bed immediately. All in all, the bed rail is one of the most effective ways to prevent seniors and patients with special needs from falling out of bed and getting injured.

What are the Different Types of Bed Rails?

simple bed rail

There are different types of bed rails available today that have their own pros and cons. So, by knowing more about these types, you will be able to decide which one is more suitable for your patient. Here are some details of the different types of bed rails that you should know about.

Legless Bed Rail

The legless bed rail is installed on the bed by placing one end of the rail on the mattress while the other end pops at the side of the bed. This type of bed rail is L-shaped, which means that when one end is tucked under the mattress, the other end curves upwards and acts as the actual rail for the bed. In order to add stability to the bed rail, there are straps on one end that can be strapped onto the bed frame.

Legged Bed Rail

legged bed rail

The opposite of the legless bed rail is the legged bed rail, which has legs at the bottom for added support and stability. However, most legged bed rails would still have a section that goes under the mattress so that the rail won’t actually slide away from the bed. The legs of the bed rail have adjustable height so that the rail wouldn’t still work even if the bed is high or low from the ground.

Foldable Bed Rail

The foldable bed rail has hinges on the center that allows the caregiver or the patient the ability to fold one end of the rail upwards or downwards. So, instead of removing the bed rails whenever they are not in use, the bed rail can just be folded so that it won’t get in the way of the patient trying to get in or out of bed. The foldable bed rail can either be legless or legged, and some would even have a built-in step stool that can be used by the patient to step on something first before stepping on the floor. This built-in step stool is useful if the bed is too high.

Dual Bed Rails

dual bed rails on a hospital bed

Dual bed rails have rails that are installed and placed on both sides of the bed, and these rails are connected underneath the mattress using crossbars. Because the support of the bed rails under the mattress is much bigger, dual bed rails are considered the most stable out of all types of bed rails today.

Crossbar Bed Rail

The crossbar bed rail is the type of bed rail that covers all sides of the bed, including the sides where the feet and head are located. The crossbar bed rail is primarily used on the bed of babies and kids, although there are some hospitals and nursing facilities that use this type of bed rail for maximum support and protection for seniors and patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or special needs. A lot of crossbar bed rails usually have coverings made of textile that has mesh at the center so that patients can peek through the rails and see their surroundings better.

Tips for Picking the Best Bed Rails

With so many bed rails to choose from, it can be quite difficult for a lot of people to pick which specific bed rails to buy. However, by knowing different aspects or details of bed rails, you will have an easier time finding the bed rails that are suitable for many seniors and patients. Here are some tips for picking the best bed rails.

Check for Good Reviews

wooden bed rail

One of the first things that you need to do in order to make it easier for you to find the best bed rails is to check for good reviews. These reviews are available on review websites, as well as online stores that offer different kinds of bed rails. The reviews would give you information about the features and details of the bed rails, as well as each bed rail’s pros and cons. So, instead of spending hours checking different bed rails, you should just read or watch reviews online that will give you everything you need to know about the most popular bed rails.

Here are five bed rails that have good reviews online:

  • OasisSpace Bed Rail – this is a legless bed rail that doesn’t take up too much space on the side of the bed but is still wide enough to prevent seniors and patients from falling off the bed. The bed rail can support up to 250 lbs of weight, and it also features a toolless assembly for easy installation under the mattress.
  • Medline Bed Assist Bar – a legged bed rail that is very sturdy and stable. Much like the OasisSpace bed rail, the Medline Bed Assist Bar also features tool-free assembly so that you can easily install the bar on the patient’s bed. This bed rail also includes a storage pocket for storing different kinds of items.
  • MedPro MGrip Contoured Bed Rail – this legless bed rail features an ergonomic M-shaped grip that provides seniors and patients with different ways to hold onto the bed rail for support while getting in and out of bed. The grip also features soft foam that is comfortable to hold or grab.
  • Elderly Assis Bedside Assistant – this bed rail features a foldable design that allows the caregiver to fold the rail downwards. The rail can support up to 250 lbs of weight, and it can also accommodate different sizes of beds.
  • Able Life Bedside Mighty Rail – a portable bed rail that features a padded grab bar for a comfortable grip and holds. In addition, this bed rail only weighs about 1.5 lbs, making it perfect to bring for outdoor trips where the senior or patient would be sleeping on a rail-less bed.

Keep an Eye for Additional Features

There are some bed rails that have additional features, which include a grab bar, a step stool, a LED light that can help the patient see in the dark, and storage pockets. These features can be beneficial for both the caregiver and the patient, as the bed rail can be used for different purposes besides providing safety for the patient. However, having too many features on the bed rails can also be a disadvantage, as they will start to get too confusing for the caregiver and the patient to use. So, get a bed rail that has additional features but is simple enough for the patient to use conveniently.

Choose the Correct Length or Width for the Bed Rails

elderly person holding onto a bed rail

Not all bed rails are alike, as there will be some that are shorter, while there will also be a few that are longer. So, it is important to choose the bed rail that is suitable for the size of the patient’s bed so that it will fit nicely without any problems or complications. To ensure that the bed rail you will be buying will fit on the bed, you would first need to measure the dimensions of the patient’s bed, which includes its length, width, and height. Then, use those dimensions to choose the appropriate bed rails that can fit within those dimensions.

Bed rails are essential accessories that seniors or patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia, injuries, or special needs should have, as these rails can make their beds much safer. We are hoping that this simple guide has helped you (as a caregiver or a family member) to choose the best bed rails for your elderly patients or loved ones. 


[1] TerraBella Senior Living Blog. (2021, December 24). Why Seniors Fall Out Of Bed And The Associated Risks. TerraBella Senior Living. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from 

[2] Hipp, D. (2022, August 1). How To Pick The Best Bed Rails For Seniors. Forbes Health. Retrieved January 5, 2023, from