Toddlers are curious creatures. They're also naturally adventurous and willing to take risks. And they don't yet understand boundaries of physical safety. Therefore, it's very normal for toddlers to try climbing out of the crib here and there, some more than others.
Many parents who have babies that climb out of the crib think that they should just go ahead and make the transition to a toddler bed since the baby isn't staying in the crib anyway. When babies climb out of the crib, they at least have to make an effort to get out because there is a barrier. Do you think this type of child will stay in a toddler bed when there is nothing holding him back? He will most likely just be out even quicker! If this is the problem you are facing, don't fret. Here are some "hacks" you can try to prevent him from climbing out of the crib.
How to Keep Toddler from Climbing Out of Crib
Take all of the metal parts off of the crib and lay the mattress on the floor, still inside the crib. This will make it harder for him to reach the top to climb out. *However, you must make sure that the mattress cannot slide out from under the crib. If it can, this is not a safe option to try.
If your crib has a back that is higher than the front, you can try turning it around so the shorter side is against the wall.
Sew a thin strip of fabric between the legs of your child's pajamas. This will allow him to still move around, but he won't be able to get one leg up and over the top of the crib as easily. They also make pajamas with this already sewn on. Try searching for "anti climb pajamas" if you'd rather just buy them.
For the same reason, use a sleep sack. Some brands make sleep sacks through 3-4T sizes (Baby Deedee is one of my favorites) and they come in all different thicknesses too. Even is it's summer and your child doesn't need a sleep sack for warmth, you can still use a thin sheet-like one to prevent climbing.
Some kids will climb out once, get mildly hurt or scared, and never do it again. This was my first, Gideon. He climbed out once around 18 months and fell on the floor. He was perfectly fine physically, but it scared him. He never even attempted again, and I was able to safely keep him in his crib until he was 3 years old! So, don't assume defeat the very first time it happens!
Are Crib Tents Safe?
It may seem like adding a mesh tent over your child's crib would prevent them from climbing out. However, I do not recommend using crib tents. There have been cases of children trying to climb out and falling in between the tent and the crib, causing injury. There is also a risk of strangulation with the ties, since the tent is attached directly to the crib. Multiple crib tents have been recalled for these reasons. Similar to car seat rules, you should not add anything directly to a crib that isn't made specifically for that crib.
Toddler Bed Ready?
If your child is on the older end of the toddler years and is climbing out, then it may be harder to prevent. Also, he may be nearing readiness for a toddler bed anyway. To find out the signs of readiness, read this post: Is My Child Ready for a Toddler Bed?
Before admitting defeat and transitioning to a toddler bed, try these simple and safe hacks to prevent climbing. If you need further help, I'm just a click away!
~Ashley, pediatric sleep consultant