As a professional baby and toddler sleep consultant, I frequently hear from frantic parents whose children are climbing out of their cribs. I can hear the fear in their voice and I feel for them. It is a scary thing when you see your child pulling themselves over the crib rails. And I’m often asked how to prevent crib climbing.

Many parents think that switching to a toddler bed is the only option once they see their child trying to be a little escape artist. But they often end up dealing with a child who will not stay in their bed! It is much easier for a child to crawl out of bed than escape from a crib.

Children under the age of 3 have very little impulse control and will constantly be tempted to get out of their bed at night. It is difficult to keep a curious child contained. That is why I do not recommend transitioning from the crib to a toddler bed until at least 3 but preferably 3.5 years old. This is the cognitive age when children are able to understand consequences and cause and effect.

So, what can we do to prevent these bedtime gymnastics? Here are the 5 tips that I like to share with families to help keep their little one safe and secure in their crib and help prevent crib climbing.

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Table of Contents

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LOWER THE CRIB MATTRESS to prevent crib climbing

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GET A SLEEP SACK

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TURN YOUR CRIB AROUND SO THAT THE HIGH BARS ARE IN FRONT

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REMOVE TOYS AND PILLOWS FROM THE CRIB

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MOVE ANY NEARBY FURNITURE AWAY FROM THE CRIB

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Prevent crib climbing by LOWER THE CRIB MATTRESS

This may seem obvious. But make sure the crib mattress is set to the lowest possible setting to prevent crib climbing. Many cribs are designed so that the mattress support frame can be removed. That allows the mattress to lie flat on the floor while still contained within the frame of the crib.

This can add an additional 10 inches of depth approximately. If the mattress can slide out underneath the bottom of the crib, then do not use this method. The crib must be designed to contain the mattress within the crib frame.

GET A SLEEP SACK

Keep your baby in a sleep sack the entire time they sleep in a crib to prevent crib climbing. This is a great safety measure because it will prevent your little one from swinging a leg over the crib railing as they try to escape. Sleep sacks enclose your child’s legs. This leaves enough room for them to move around comfortably but not enough room for them to climb.

Sleep sacks also act as a wearable blanket and since babies are such active sleepers, it will stay on your baby all night long. My favorites are the Bitta Kidda and the Kyte.

TURN YOUR CRIB AROUND SO THAT THE HIGH BARS ARE IN FRONT

If you have a crib with a higher crib railing in the back, then flip it around so that the higher rail wall faces out and the shorter rail is pushed up against the wall. You can even push one of the crib sides against the wall too, in a room corner, to really limit your child’s escape path and prevent crib climbing.

This may not look pretty but it is effective. For safety reasons, make sure there is nothing hanging on the wall by your child’s crib that they can grab. Also make sure that the crib is located away from curtains, dangling cords, or window blinds.

REMOVE TOYS & PILLOWS to prevent crib climbing

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep on a firm sleep surface covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft objects to reduce the risk of SIDS and suffocation. Even when your child is older, it is still best to keep the crib bare for the safest sleep environment. This also helps prevent them from piling up toys and pillows to create a step ladder out of their crib.

MOVE ANY NEARBY FURNITURE AWAY FROM THE CRIB

Move any furniture near the crib to another part of the room to prevent crib climbing. Many children will try to climb out of their crib onto nearby furniture. We just need to simply move it further away so that they cannot reach it. The safest environment is to have a bare crib (expect for a fitted sheet) and no objects near the crib.

These 5 tips should help prevent crib climbing. But if your child is the exception and still manages to escape, then the safest option is transition to a toddler bed. Your child’s safety is the most important thing.

If your child has always been a decent sleeper, and this crib climbing is something new, these tips should help your little one sleep safely in their crib. If your child has never slept well, and crib climbing is yet another nighttime ordeal for you, it might be time for a change. I’m just a phone call away if you would like to discuss this issue further or any other sleep questions on your mind. I would love to help get your whole household sleeping better with one of our baby or toddler sleep plans!

Simply give me a call at (832) 646-7727, or schedule your Complimentary Sleep Evaluation call today. I’m here to help!

To healthy sleep,

Whitney Rich

Baby & Toddler Sleep Consultant

832-646-7727 whitney@livelovesleep.com

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