You know that sound….thud…. And then you hear those little footsteps running down the hall. Your child figured out how to climb out of the safe confinement of their crib.
Not only can this be a headache for parents but it is also a safety concern. Little ones climbing out of their cribs can lead to bumps, bruises, and even broken bones.
If your toddler has been attempting to climb out of their crib, you want to find solution fast. Read on for tips and ideas on how to keep your little one safe in their crib.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics almost 10,000 children are treated in the emergency room as a result of an injury from a crib or playpen and over 65% of these were because the child fell or climbed from his/her crib.
As a mother who has personally had a child who was a crib climbing aficionado it can be a scary, frustrating, and somewhat endless struggle to get them to stay in bed. But I can say it DOES get better and there are ways we can keep those little ones in their bed!
Why Do Kids Climb Out of Their Crib?
Kids try to get out of their crib for many reasons some of the top reasons are:
- The dreaded sleep regression. Some children will go through a sleep regression around the ages of 12 months, 18 months, around 2 years and again around age 3. Usually these sleep regression periods last anywhere between two weeks and a month. So don’t fear there will be an end in sight.
- Separation anxiety. It is easy to get a bit frustrated when your child continually climbs out of bed and drags naptime/bedtime out. But it is important to remember that they may be going through some separation anxiety and bedtime can be a scary time for them. Make sure to reassure your child that you will be there to greet them in the morning.
- They need something. A lot of children crave independence (at least I know mine all have) and so if they need something, they get it. It is common for children who are potty training to attempt to get out of bed themselves to use the restroom.
Solutions to Get Your Toddler to Stop Climbing Out of the Crib
Once you’ve discovered the reason that your child is trying to escape the crib, you can figure out how to stop them. While every child is different, if your toddler is climbing out of their crib, there are solutions!
Here are a few that works for some of my kids to prevent them from injury while trying to climb out of their crib. These will either stop them from climbing or prevent them from getting hurt if they do decide to climb.
- Lowering the crib mattress
Most cribs are adjustable so you can alter the height of the mattress. By lowering the crib to the lowest setting it can make it that much more difficult for your child to try and climb out.
Some parents even opt to remove the mattress from the crib all together and place it on the floor. This wont stop them from escaping their room but it will stop them from hurting themselves or falling from their crib.
- Turn crib around
If your crib has a lower side try switching it so that the lower side faces the wall. This was a trick we used when my oldest daughter was climbing out of her daybed. Once we turned the daybed around she never got out of bed again.
- Try a Sleep Sack
We are used to babies using a sleep sack but did you know they now make them in toddler sizes? These may be a great option because it will keep their legs from being able to swing over the side of the crib rail.
Another tip is if your child has houdini hands and can unzip themselves, try putting the sleep sack on backwards so the zipper is on their back!
- Have a bedtime routine and stick with it
Most children thrive with routine. By having a routine and making sure to discuss and talk about the bedtime expectations depending on the age of your child it will help them to understand what bedtime is and why it is important to stay in their bed.
Make sure that this routine is calming and not a fun play time. Try reading books, talking about their day, cuddling with their stuffed animals or signing lullabies.
One of our families favorite bedtime books is “Night Night Farm”
- Try a toddler bed or “big kid bed”
Transitioning to a toddler bed or big kid bed is another option to keep kids from climbing. This is something your family will have to discuss and decide if it is the best option for you.
Most toddler beds are set up so the mattress is very low to the ground so the risk of falling and getting hurt is much lower. Some cribs even transition into a toddler bed so make sure to check your model.
If you do decide to move your child to a bigger bed you may think about investing in a bed rail. These are an inexpensive way to ensure your child is safe in their bed without totally inhibiting them from getting out of bed.
- Make the crib a “sleep zone” not a “play zone”
It will be important to remove toys from the crib. It helps kids to understand that the crib is for sleeping and not for play.
Another tip is to keep the area and floor around the crib clean and free of objects that your child could be using to help boost them out of bed.
These objects or toys could also become dangerous and cause an injury if your child lands on them.
- Avoid sleep tents.
Though they may be cute and complete the look of your nursery, crib tents or sleep tents are a very dangerous addition to your child’s bedroom. Many companies recently recalled their products due to children suffering injuries related to sleep tents.
These injuries ranged from entrapment, suffocation, and even strangulation. This comes from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
I know it may seem like an impossible task but I can assure you there are many ways you can keep your child safe and in their bed. It will look different for every family and it may take secret attempts or methods but if you stick with it eventually your child will learn to stay in their crib.
And if you decide to transition to a big bed check out How to Know When to Transition to Toddler Bed and 10 Tricks to Make it Easy
My Name is Shelby Allan, I am an RN, mother to four kids and a wife to a busy farmer/cattle rancher. We live on a farm in Central Nebraska. Educating people/patients has always been a passion of mine, so that’s why I created my freelance writing business “Cultivating Words” . I love to share evidence based research and real life tips for moms, wives, and nurses!