How to Steer Clear of the Toddler Bed Before You’re Ready

What to do when your toddler climbs out of his crib before you're ready to switch to a toddler bed


When you hear the crash from above and run up the stairs you know exactly what’s happened. You have an escapee on your hands and whether done unintentionally or on purpose the moment has come that most parents dread. They’ve climbed out of the crib and now what do we do?

I always recommend keeping your little one in their crib until at least 2.5-3 years of age, if they let you of course. The older they are, the better they understand the sleep rules and expectations. If your child is still young and you are simply not ready, there are steps you can take that can help you avoid this transition and buy you more time.

Establish a Consistent Environment Right From the Start

If you encourage your child to have a consistent sleep environment, one that they feel comfortable and safe in from early on, you'll be less likely to see crib escapes. Your child understands what's expected at bedtime and throughout the night, and already knows the boundaries that are set in place. Because of this he will be less likely to challenge you and climb out of the crib.

Become a 007 Secret Spy

It's time to set up your covert operations and install a video monitor. After bedtime leave the room and stakeout their room. The second you see that leg swing over respond with a firm "no" and nip it in the bud. You may have to do this numerous times throughout the night, but eventually if you are consistent and firm he will get the message.

Rearrange the Furniture

If you have the crib style where one side is higher than the other and that side is against the wall, just turn the crib around. Voila! Now it's a lot harder for your little one to escape. Sometimes the simplest thing can work like a charm. Also clear the crib of any stepping stools in the form of big stuffed animals or blankets.

Sac ‘Em Up!

It’s tough to kick your leg over a crib when it’s enclosed in a sleep sac. This could be the answer you’re looking for. Not all toddlers will keep it on or enjoy wearing it, but it is definitely worth a shot.

Lower the Mattress

Chances are you've already taken that step but you'd be surprised how many don't realize it can go lower. I don't recommend you remove the bottom of the crib and place the crib mattress on the floor. Once we make any changes to the structure of your safety certified crib we no longer meet the standards of the model and that can be dangerous for your little one.

Sometimes no matter what we try the inevitable is upon us, and its time to transition to a bed. If you’re toddler is continuously climbing out we want to make sure they are safe. While the crib to bed switch can be a daunting time it’s an exciting one too! You’ve reached a new milestone with your little one and it may be time to embrace the change and set your family up for continued sleep success.

Alanna McGinn is a mother of three (1 + twins!), Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site, and Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC).  When she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she’s working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. Follow Alanna on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.

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