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Do you have a toddler who keeps climbing out of their crib?
Toddlers are curious by nature and love to explore their surroundings, so it’s no surprise that many of them eventually try to climb out of their cribs.
As exciting as this can be for your little explorer, it can be worrisome for parents.
Luckily, there are a few tips you can try to help keep your toddler safe and prevent them from climbing out of their crib so that everyone can get a good night’s sleep!
Reasons why your toddler is climbing out of the crib
Before we talk about some possible solutions to keep your toddler from climbing out of their crib, it’s helpful to understand why this is happening to begin with.
Here are a few possible reasons.
If your toddler is climbing out of the crib during bedtime or right after being put down for a nap, it could be a sign that they aren’t comfortable with where they are sleeping.
Babies go through a lot of physical and developmental changes. They get bigger and may feel cramped up, especially if you have a lot of toys or other items in the crib with them.
They’re bored or want your attention.
Toddlers may be little, but they are really smart!
Once they learn that a certain behavior gets your attention, they may repeat the behavior simply for the thrill of getting your attention.
Or, they may be climbing out of their crib because they’re bored and not quite ready to go to sleep.
They’re becoming independent.
In case you haven’t noticed, toddlers have an independent streak.
Once they learn they can do something new themselves (without the help of mom or dad), they are going to go for it.
It’s time to transition to a toddler bed
Sometimes the reason is that it’s time to transition to a bigger bed– But this isn’t always the case. We’ll talk more about this shortly.
Safety measures to take when your toddler can climb out of their crib
As soon as you realize you have a climber on your hands, there are a few safety measures you should take right away.
Our goal here is to prevent your toddler from climbing out of the crib, but if your toddler climbs out again, it’s best to be prepared.
Be sure to childproof the rest of your home
If your little escape artist tries to roam about the house once they’re free from the crib, this is especially important.
Childproof areas such as
- All doors that lead outside– If your toddler can unlock doors, you may need to add doorknob covers or an extra lock that your toddler can’t reach.
- Kitchen cabinets and drawers (Here is a quick DIY hack you can try if you have cabinets with knobs)
- Electrical outlets by adding covers
- Stairs by installing a sturdy baby gate
These are just a few examples. Use your best judgment and be sure to double-check iffy areas of your house as soon as you realize you have a sneaky toddler on your hands.
Should you transition to a toddler bed?
If your child is climbing out of the crib, it’s natural to wonder if now is the time to transition to a toddler bed.
However, just because a toddler has climbed out of the crib once or twice (or a few times)– This doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready for a toddler bed yet.
In fact, if you transition your child to a toddler bed before they are actually ready, you can open up a pandora’s box of problems.
If your toddler is less than 18 months old, they may not yet have the self-control that’s needed for a toddler bed.
If they are 18 months or older, it could be time to transition, but there are more signs to look for– More on this in a few.
7 Solutions to keep your toddler in the crib
Want to keep them in the crib for a little longer? Here are a few solutions you can try that may help prevent your toddler from climbing out of the crib.
1. Lower the mattress
When your little one was a baby, you may have kept the mattress at the highest position to make it easier to pick them up and put them back down to sleep.
But your toddler isn’t a little baby anymore. They may be 15 months old climbing out of the crib now.
To prevent your toddler from climbing out, you need to lower the mattress as much as you can.
By lowering the mattress, their leg may not reach the railing as easily now, making it much harder to climb out.
2. Remove any toys or other items
If you have any stuffed animals, toys, pillows, etc.– Remove them from the crib.
As mentioned earlier, toddlers are clever! They won’t hesitate to use these items as stepping stones to help them climb out of the crib.
3. Change the position of the crib
Another solution you can try to prevent your toddler from climbing out of their bed is to change the position of the crib.
For example, if your toddler’s crib has a shorter railing on one side and they’ve been using this to their advantage, you can push that side against the wall.
Parents often find that this hack does the trick– At least for a little while longer!
4. Try a toddler sleep sack
Sleep sacks aren’t just for babies. Did you know you can get them for toddlers too?
A toddler sleep sack with feet is the perfect solution because it gives them a little mobility, but not quite enough to allow them to raise their foot high enough to climb out.
(If you’ve never seen a toddler in a sleep sack, they look like adorable little baby penguins!)
5. Clear the clutter from the room
If your toddler’s room has a lot of clutter lying around, such as toys or books, make sure you clean up before you put them to sleep.
(You can make clean-up time part of their bedtime routine and encourage them to help!)
If these attention-grabbing items are still available, they may be tempted to try to climb out and start playing instead of going to sleep.
6. Plan enough physical activity during the day
Like most toddlers, our son was the very definition of active and energetic.
The only thing that helped him wind down at bedtime was ensuring he got plenty of opportunities during the day to run off his energy.
If your toddler is climbing out of the crib because they aren’t tired when it’s bedtime, they may not be getting enough active play during the day.
It’s recommended they get at least 30 minutes of structured activity and 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity daily (source).
7. Don’t overreact
This one can be hard, but one of the main things I have learned when it comes to toddlers is– The bigger deal you make about something, the more they may try to do it.
If you overreact and make a dramatic scene when you find your toddler climbing out of the crib, they may continue to climb out just so they can see your reaction again– It’s basically entertainment for them.
Signs your toddler is ready for a toddler bed
Now, if you have already tried all of these tips and none of them have been successful for you and your child is closer to 2 or 3 years old, it may be time to move them to a toddler bed.
Here are a few signs to watch for to see if your toddler is ready to make the swap from crib to toddler bed:
- Your child is between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old (source)
- They continue climbing out effortlessly, despite you trying everything
- Even with the largest sleep sack, they are not comfortable or cannot fit properly
- They are begging you for a new bed (so they can be like mom, dad, brother, or sister!)
If you notice one or more of these signs, it could be an indication that it’s time to shift them to a toddler bed.
While it’s definitely a nerve-wracking experience when your toddler starts climbing out of their crib, there are some things you can do to help keep them safe.
By using these tips, you can keep them in the crib a little longer– At least until they’re ready to move on to a big kid bed!
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