No matter how blessed we parents are to have these little angelic souls, we cannot get used to their jailbreaks. My son was around 15 months when he found his new favorite hobby of escaping crib. The first night when that happened I was working late and seeing him right in front of me scared me to death. I have a weak heart and even a simple scream can get me scared, but seeing him was a different kind of scary. A non-stop series of what if that had happened, chilled me to the bone and I know you have had the same experience. I get it that our babies are trying to explore the new world, but this feat can be seriously dangerous for them. This is why I am going to share some useful measures that you can take to stop this behavior. I know this sounds impossible, but trust me this helps!
When toddlers start developing motor skills they tend to test them through exploring around. Getting out of the crib seems quite adventurous to your toddler but as we know this can go sideways anytime. A little bit of carelessness or slip can result in serious consequences which they are not aware of. Jennifer Garden, a registered occupational therapist and the founder of sleep consultancy Vancouver sleepdreams, advice parents to use lower mattress settings when toddlers start pulling themselves out of the crib. She also suggests putting a soft matt or cushion next to the crib to prevent any major injury from the fall. When your toddler learns to escape he’s going to go anywhere he pleases, for instance, stairs. This is the time that you start gating your stairs, to stop any calamity from happening. Toddlers lack self-control and they hate bedtime because that means no freedom. This is why as soon as they learn to get out of bed on their own they tend to escape at night. To prevent these escapes professionals suggest using sleep sacks as well, as they make climbing out harder. Another helpful trick is to turn the lower side of the crib towards the wall because the lower side makes it rather easier to cross the barrier. Your toddler is a free spirit that minds no limits, which is why reasoning with them is not going to work, mostly because they do not understand the danger that lies behind this adventure. If all your tricks have been failing and your toddler does not seem to get enough of this feat, then it would be better to transition him to a bed.
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How dangerous getting out of a crib can be for your toddler?
Some parents make the mistake of ignoring their toddler’s getting out of crib habit. This is not a phrase that is going to be over with time. Sometimes these seemingly innocent and funny acts can prove to be quite dangerous for your little one. Your toddler is at the risk of head injury and many other injuries that no one would ever wish for anyone. If you still haven’t placed a stair gate then it’s time you do because he is also at the risk of falling from the stairs while attempting to climb down. So, ignoring your toddler’s escaping crib and not taking preventive measures can result in serious incidents.
Ways to prevent your toddler from escaping out of the crib
One of the best options to prevent your little one from escaping the crib is to use a sleep sack. Most baby’s attempt getting out of the crib after their first birthday and not before. However, some babies who are just 8 to 9 months old have been seen to fling themselves from their cribs. Especially babies who learn to crawl, stand, or walk early.
If your baby is one of the great climbers then a sleep sack is the answer to your worries. Sleepsacks have enough space to allow free movement during sleep but they prevent free mobility like climbing. This can prove to be very effective if your baby has just started to climb out of the crib, as little restriction will discourage him greatly from trying again.
Adjust the mattress height accordingly
Sometimes a mattress or the cushions are aiding your child in climbing out of the crib. Which is why you need to make sure that anything like cushion or bumpers that can be helpful in raising an inch or more should be removed. Also, lowering the height of the mattress and turning the lower side of the crib towards the wall will make it harder to climb out of the crib. Even a little difference in height is enough to prevent your toddler from attempting escapes. Your toddler can not understand you at this stage, which is why this is a better approach to restrain them.
I understand that this little adventure of your toddler can be hell scary and catch you off guard, but trust me you do not want to react impulsively to this incident. Your toddler craves attention and reaction, so anything or gesture that incites a reaction out of you is going to stay. If you give a reaction of any kind then your toddler is most likely to do it again, because that reaction acts as a motivator for them. I know it’s easier said than done but you have to act neutral to the things that you don’t wish to happen again.
Avoid a quick decision of ditching the crib
Just because your toddler has figured out getting out of the crib doesn’t mean that it is time to change their bed. Kids are explorers and they will keep learning new things and new ways to adjust to the world. Some of these habits or actions are going to be dangerous as well because they do not know the harmful sides of those actions yet. This is why they need you to guide them and help them understand what`s good and what is bad for them.
Your toddler is most probably getting out of his crib because he has learned something new which is exciting for him. This does not mean that they are ready to shift to a kid-sized bed. In fact, they might feel insecure or trouble sleeping on a new bed with no walls to secure them from falling.
If you feel that it is time to replace the crib with a bed then do so slowly. You can make this transition smoother by encouraging them to nap in the bed at the start, this will help them get used to the new setup. Last but not least, keep in mind that patience is the key to making transitions go smoothly.
Keep their age and safety in mind
Every child is different and your response should be in accordance with their age. If your toddler is getting out of the crib once in a while then he probably needs to stay in the crib, but if he’s attempting escape everyday then this might be the time you shift them to bed. You will have to wait it out to determine the solution.
Why you should never use a crib tent?
Crib tents used to be advertised in the past as a perfect tool to keep your toddlers safe. Though zipped tents can be perfectly adjusted over the cribs and their material is also made of mesh, giving room for air to enter.
But according to consumer reports, they are the most dangerous baby products, since they can strangle your toddler if they got wrapped up in the fabric. So please as tempting as they look, do not give in to the temptation and make the mistake of buying them.
How to know if your toddler is ready for a bed?
If your toddler has reached the age of 2 years then it’s high time you replace his crib with a bed. Most toddlers start outgrowing their crib by that age, and maybe one of the reasons that they are getting out of the crib is that they feel cramped inside the crib.
Some toddlers who are between 18 to 24 months are ready to make the switch, but this is not true for all of them. So keep the age and development of your baby in mind while making the decision.
Your toddler getting out of the crib is pretty normal, but ignoring it is not a solution. Take all the measures to prevent any mishaps but also keep their age in mind. Sometimes this behavior can be an indication of transition.
If you believe that your toddler is ready for a transition from crib to bed then take this transition slowly. Most toddlers that are 2 years old are ready for the transition but take other actions and mental capability of your child into account as well before concluding.
Do not forget to share your experiences and solutions that helped you prevent crib escape, in the comments below.
Hajira is a certified editor, an experienced and thoughtful writer, and a mother of two. Her deliberate passion for writing convinced her to become a writer along with her mom duties. Driven by her passion for writing, she takes pride in providing the best possible. She aims to incite and provoke enthusiasm in her readers.