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How To Stop Your Baby From Climbing Out Of The Crib

Three separate parents in clinic yesterday brought up the problems of their young child crawling out of the crib. In all of the cases, the parents ended up moving the child to a toddler bed before the child was developmentally ready because they were appropriately worried the child would get hurt. Crawling out of the crib creates a two-fold problem. First, the child can fall and get hurt. Second, the child is up and out of the crib at all hours of the night.

As many of you know, I have a nearly 2 year old. She’s cute, but a complete monkey. The first time she climbed out of the crib, I came up with this solution. This is a picture of her crib. All I did was take the metal frame out of the crib and put the mattress directly on the floor. I left the wood frame completely assembled. As you can see, it works because the wood side slats come down farther than the top of the mattress (there is no gap where she could crawl out). It’s a simple solution to the scaling toddler.

Most kids need to stay in a crib until they are potty training age (generally 2-3 years old). And some kids do better in the crib until they are over 3 years old; it depends a bit on the child. Most young children roll around when they sleep. If they are contained to a crib, most will wake briefly and go back to sleep. If they are in a toddler bed, many will get out of the bed (seeking mom and/or dad) and be up at night. And let’s be honest, all parents could use more uninterrupted sleep. May you have more restful nights. Feel free to share the tip!

Quick Tip: What To Do With The Child Who Climbs Out Of The Crib

Twice this week, I had parents tell me that their one year-olds were climbing out of the crib (even with the mattress at the lowest level). Both times the parents were resigned to feeling like they had to move the child to a toddler bed to prevent injury. I think a one year-old in a toddler bed is a terrible idea. Usually the child doesn’t have the age/maturity and verbal abilities to understand staying in the bed, and so, the child is up and out of the bed multiple times at night. You end up trading one problem for another.

My simple solution is to take the entire metal frame that holds the mattress out of the crib altogether. Put the mattress directly on the floor and keep the wood portion of the crib all around the mattress still up. The only caveat is that your crib has to be the style that has the wood frame come down below the mattress. There can’t be a gap between the mattress and the bottom of the wood on the crib (that would be an entrapment risk). When your child stands up on the mattress, the top railing is usually at or above the child’s head (simply making it harder to swing a leg up and over).

To increase the difficulty for the child to scale, you may want to make the child wear footed jammies to bed as well. Bare feet are a little sticky and make it easier for a kid to monkey style climb out of the crib.