5 Tips to Prevent Crib Climbing

Babies are natural explorers, and when they discover that they can attempt an escape from the crib is can be extremely stressful for parents.  Crib climbing is not only is it a serious safety concern, but it can also lead to disrupted sleep!  We don’t want that!  I am about to provide you 5 tips to prevent crib climbing, before they are ready to transition to a big kid bed!

Why is Crib Climbing Dangerous?

Crib climbing is dangerous for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s the risk of your baby falling out of the crib and injuring themselves. This can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries such as broken bones or head trauma. Secondly, climbing out of the crib can lead to disrupted sleep, which will have an effect on your baby’s development and wellbeing. Finally, if your baby is trying to climb out of their crib, it may be a sign to some parents that they’re ready to transition to a big kid bed, which can be a step taken before the child is actually ready.

Tips on Preventing Crib Climbing

Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to prevent your baby from climbing out of their crib.

  1.  The first step is to lower the mattress as far as it will go. This will make it much harder for your baby to climb out of the crib, and should buy you some extra time before you need to transition to a big kid bed.
  2. Another option is to use a sleep sack or swaddle to restrict your baby’s movement while they’re sleeping. This can help to prevent them from trying to climb out of the crib in the first place.
  3. If your crib has a side that is higher than the other, turn the shorter side against the wall, so that the tall side is the front.  This extra height can prevent climbing.
  4. Put the crib in a corner to limit exits.
  5. Be sure to remove any objects from the crib that your baby may be using to climb out. This includes toys, pillows, and blankets. While these items may seem harmless, they can provide your baby with the extra boost they need to climb over the side of the crib.  Move any furniture that is close to the crib that they may try to use as leverage to climb.

I do not recommend crib tents for the purpose of preventing climbing out of the crib. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the crib is properly assembled and in good condition. A wobbly or unstable crib can also be a saftey hazard.

Safe Sleep

Preventing crib climbing is just one part of creating a safe sleep environment for your baby. There are a number of other things you can do to ensure that your baby is sleeping safely and soundly. Firstly, it’s important to place baby on their back to sleep every time until at least 1 year of age. This has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and is the recommended sleeping position for babies until they’re able to roll over on their own both back and forth.

Additionally, you should ensure that your baby’s sleep environment is free from hazards such as loose bedding, soft toys, and crib bumpers.  Babies should not have a stuffy until 12 months of age, and no pillows or blankets until 18 months. These items can pose a suffocation risk to your baby, and should be removed from the crib before your baby goes to sleep. Finally, you should ensure that your baby’s sleep environment is at a comfortable temperature.

When to Transition Your Baby to a Big Kid Bed

First,  you should ensure that your baby is ready for the transition.  As a sleep specialist, I do not recommend transitioning your child to a big kid bed until they are at least 3 years old.  If we transition at an earlier age, the child has a hard time understanding the expectation of staying in the bed.  This can lead to dangers of them coming out of the room and falling down stairs, climbing on other furniture and other potential dangers.  It also leads to interrupted sleep for the whole family.

If your child is 3 year of age or over, you should involve them in the process as much as possible. This can include allowing them to pick out their new bed and bedding, and involving them in the assembly process.  Go over the expectations of sleeping in a big kid bed.  Additionally, you should ensure that the new bed is placed in a safe location, and that your child is able to get in and out of bed safely.

Final Thought

Preventing crib climbing is an important part of creating a safe sleep environment for your baby. By following my tips above, and waiting to transition to a big kid bed until the proper age,  you can help to ensure that your baby is sleeping safely and soundly, giving your entire family the sleep that they need!  Be sure to download my 5 Steps to A Better Night Sleep here, to help your little one sleep better at night.

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