How To Prevent Toddler From Climbing Out Of Crib From An Ex-Crib Escapee.

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 09/19/23 •  Sleep / Sleep Tips

Is your little one a proven escape artist when it comes to bedtime? No matter what you try, they find their way out of their crib at night and into your bed? You’re not alone.

Many parents have to learn how to handle crib climbers. Here’s how to prevent toddler from climbing out of crib to keep them safe and give you back your peaceful evenings.

Why Do Toddlers Try To Climb Out Of Cribs?

Toddlers are naturally curious and adventurous by nature, and they like to explore their surroundings. Climbing out of the crib is a new challenge for them, and they are eager to test their physical abilities.

In fact, I was a crib escapee and would jump up and down until the bottom fell out of my crib and then crawl out!

While modern cribs would make this impossible today and they are so much safer than the old ones that I slept in…

Toddlers can be very creative in their attempts to escape their crib.

Understanding what motivates your little one to climb out of their crib can help you come to terms with the situation and come up with solutions to address safety issues.

Here are some of the main reasons why toddlers try to climb out of their cribs:

  1. Curiosity: Children are curious about the world around them, and they want to explore and discover new things. Climbing out of their crib gives them a sense of adventure and excitement.
  2. Independence: Toddlers are learning to be independent, and they want to do things on their own. Climbing out of the crib gives them a feeling of accomplishment and independence.
  3. Discomfort: Your toddler may try to climb out of the crib if they are uncomfortable or in pain. They may be too hot or too cold, feel tight in their sleepwear, or they may have a dirty diaper.
  4. Inability to self-soothe: They may also try to climb out of the crib if they are having trouble falling asleep independently. They may think that getting out of the crib will help them feel better or they may just want to come and find you.
  5. Fear of the dark: If your toddler develops a fear of the dark they will be highly motivated to come and find you which can result in them climbing out of their crib.
  6. Learning a new skill: If your toddler has just learned to climb, they may see climbing out of their crib as an ideal opportunity to practice this new skill.
  7. Check the bedtime routine: If necessary adjust your toddler’s bedtime to ensure they are ready for sleep when you put them down. If your toddler is either not tired enough or is overtired, they may be more likely to climb out of their crib. Consider moving their bedtime earlier or later, depending on their sleep patterns.
  8. Is it a sleep regression? If your toddler is experiencing sleep regression, it’s important to address the underlying causes. This may involve adjusting your child’s sleep schedule or just providing comfort and reassurance.
  9. Needing to transition to a bed: If your toddler is climbing out of their crib it could be because they feel cramped in the crib and want more space to move around. If this is the case then it is time to transition to a big bed.

How To Prevent Toddler From Climbing Out Of Crib Featured

How To Prevent Toddler From Climbing Out of Crib

It can be a dangerous situation if your toddler is climbing out of the crib and it can lead to falls and greatly increases the risk of injuries.

So what can you do to end the crib escapes? Here are a few tips to help prevent your toddler from climbing out of the crib.

1. Lower The Mattress

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “children are most likely to climb out of the crib when the mattress is raised too high for their height, or not lowered properly as they grow.”

Therefore, lowering the crib mattress can make it more difficult for your toddler to climb out of the crib. Make sure the mattress is at the lowest possible setting that still allows your child to be comfortable and safe.

2. Turn The Crib Around

Often, a simple furniture rearrangement can do the trick in helping keep your toddler in their crib. If you have a crib where one side is higher than the others, turn the crib around.

Usually, for aesthetic purposes, you would have the higher side against the wall. Turning the crib around can make it more difficult for your toddler to climb out.

3. Use A Sleep Sack Or Anti-Climb Pyjamas

Toddler sleep sacks provide comfort to young children in a similar way to swaddles for babies. An age-appropriate sleep sack will restrict your child’s limbs just enough to make crib climbing difficult, while still allowing them to move around and sleep comfortably.

If your toddler has learned to unzip their sleep sack and then climb out… try turning the sack inside out so that the zipper is on the inside.

Also, ensure the sleep sack is the correct size. Big sleep sacks are easy to get off, especially if you are a determined toddler!

Here are some of my favorite sleep sacks:

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4. Consider Using A Pack ‘n Play

If your toddler is consistently climbing out of the crib, it may be time to transition to a toddler bed. However, if you’re not quite ready for that transition, consider using a Pack ‘n Play.

Pack ‘n Plays are portable cribs that can be used for sleeping or playtime, and they often have higher sides that make it more difficult for toddlers to climb out.

They’re a great space and money-saving option for a short-term temporary anti-climbing solution.

My Top Pick
Graco Pack 'n Play Portable Playard

This playpen takes very little time to set up and putting it away is a breeze thanks to its clever design. Small but perfectly suited for indoor and outdoor use, this play pen will keep baby safe no matter where you are!

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Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Toddler Safety First and Foremost

When learning how to prevent your toddler from climbing out of crib, safety should always be top of your priorty list. To keep your little one safe both in their crib and if they escape, do the following:

Our Pick
Sense-U Smart Baby Monitor + App

Unique easy to set up and use baby monitoring system. It even tells you what position your baby is sleeping in and monitors baby's heart rate and temperature. Comes with an easy to use App that connects to your phone with an excellent working range.

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Transitioning To A Toddler Bed

If your toddler is constantly climbing out of bed no matter what precautions or attempts you have made to prevent them from doing so then you have no choice but to make the move from crib to bed.

This can be a big change for both you and your child, but there are some things you can do to make the transition easier.

  1. One option is to purchase a toddler bed. These beds are smaller than twin beds and often come with side rails to prevent your child from falling out. They also come in fun designs that your child will love.
  2. Another option is to use a twin bed with side rails. This allows your child to grow into the bed and use it for years to come. However, you may need to purchase a step stool to help your child get in and out of bed safely.

To decide whether you want a toddler bed or a twin bed, read this post: Toddler Bed vs Twin Bed: Choosing The Best Option For You.

When transitioning to a bed, it’s important to involve your child in the process otherwise you will have a difficult time convincing them to move:

Overall, transitioning to a toddler bed can be a big change, but with the right preparation and expectations, it can be a smooth and exciting process.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Prevent Your Toddler From Climbing Out Of Their Crib

Looking for more information about how to prevent your toddler from climbing out of their crib? Here’s everything you need to know.

At What Age Do Babies Start Climbing Out of Cribs?

Babies start climbing out of cribs at around 18 months old. However, some babies may start earlier or later than others. It’s important to monitor your baby’s milestones, behavior and development to ensure their safety. Using a video monitor is ideal to do this.

Are There Any Anti-Climbing Pajamas for Toddlers?

Yes, there are anti-climbing pajamas for toddlers available in the market. These pajamas have a special design that makes it difficult for toddlers to climb out of the crib. The most commonly known pjs are Little Grounders. However, it’s important to note that these pajamas are not a substitute for proper crib safety measures.

What Is Little Grounders and How Can It Help Prevent Climbing?

Little Grounder’s is an anti-climbing item designed to prevent toddlers from climbing out of the crib. These climb-limiting pajamas are essentially footie pajamas with a strip of fabric sewn between the legs. They give enough movement that your child can walk around in them freely, but restrict movement enough to stop them from lifting their leg up high to get out of a crib.

What Is a Crib Tent and How Can It Help Prevent Climbing?

A crib tent (also known as a crib net) is a mesh cover that fits over the top of a crib to prevent toddlers from climbing out. However, I have serious concerns about the safety of these items and would not use them myself as a solution to a toddler climbing out of their crib.

If you do decide to use a crib tent it’s important to choose one that is safe and secure and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Sleep Schedule Further Reading

As I mentioned earlier, helping your toddler get adequate sleep can go a long way to reducing the change of them climbing out of their crib.

To learn the best schedule for your little one, read these posts:

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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