17 answers

Toddler's Leg Getting Stuck in Crib Slats

My very active 18 month old has recently been getting her leg wedged through the slats in her crib, and I am concerned she may hurt herself. She has long skinny legs that seem to get really stuck. A few times it takes two of us and some lotion to get her leg free. We suspect it happens when she may be trying to climb out, but I haven't witnessed it happening. Her crib mattress is really low, so I don't think she could actually climb out. I was wondering if anyone has experienced this with their child, and if you have any suggestions. Is this a phase that will pass?

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I put one of those breathable bumpers around the bottom of my crib slats and that stopped my little one getting stuck in the slats.

Yes! I had this same problem with my daughter. Fortunately, she learned her lesson after it happened a few times and it no longer became an issue. But 2 of my friends had continuing problems with this, so they simply re-inserted the bumper, which solved the problem for them. Maybe give that a try. : )

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The same thing happened to my daughter when she was about 8 months old. Her legs were getting caught near the ankles though. She would sleep wildly and put a foot through the bars, then try turn over in her sleep and get caught terribly. My husband nearly had to saw the bars to get her out. We took her to the ER in the middle of the night for X-Rays and the Dr. told us to notify the manufacturer of the crib and the store we bought it at. We had gotten it at Target. They didn't seem to care at all, not even the corporate headquarters. I called Good Housekeeping magazine and they investigated the crib. Unfortunately the Consumer Safety Board's regulations for the width apart of the bars were the same as my crib. I asked them if they could do something to alert people that this was happening or change the regulations on bars to make a little further apart, or do away with bars completely! I ended up buying my daughter a twin bed shortly after that because she got stuck in the crib bars a few more times after. It is sad that after talking to so many people involved with product safety, that no one really wanted to do anything. None of the cribs recalled were for the reason of the kids getting stuck in the bars. The manufacturer made me feel like my kid was weird or something for having this happen. You can't tell me this doesn't happen more often and we just don't hear about it because no one wants to advertise it. I was glad to see that you wrote about your experience, something needs to be done. I think the only solution is to try a bed or toddler bed.

One of my twin daughters went through this too. I was not ready to give her free access by putting her in a toddler bed yet, so I needed a solution as well. We never used the bumper guards that came with our crib sets because of the smothering risk they imposed, but since at 18 months, that is no longer an issue, we put them up. Luckily, we had kept them, and it worked. Then 6 months later when they started playing with them, we took them away again. By that time, their legs no longer fit thru. We opened up their beds 6 months later for potty training.

Yes! I had this same problem with my daughter. Fortunately, she learned her lesson after it happened a few times and it no longer became an issue. But 2 of my friends had continuing problems with this, so they simply re-inserted the bumper, which solved the problem for them. Maybe give that a try. : )

Have you thought about ditching the crib altogether? Some have already mentioned that here. Our daughter has been sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor since she was around 10 months old. She loves it and sleeps well. Plus, being that it's on the floor, we didn't have to buy those side rails. She is 17 months and has only rolled off the bed maybe 3 or 4 times. I keep pillows next to her bed for that reason. She has never gotten up in the middle of the night and gotten into things either.

We also used the crib shield.

Hi M., I also have a 10 month old who is very active, he also would get his legs caught on the crib slats, I did some research & found this great website (securebaby.com) that has great child safety products for all type of cribs. Hope this was helpful.

A little about me:

Mommy to Mario Jr. 12yrs. & Adorable 10 month old Diego......

We used a Crib Shield to keep my son's limbs inside his crib. He wasn't trying to climb out and he loved his crib, he just rolled and moved a lot while in there so his limbs got caught sometimes.

Here's a link to one:

If you do a google search on Crib Shield you should find some options for about $30-$40.

Good luck!

When our son was 18 months old he wouldn't stay in his crib at all. Plus, we also had another one just born. We put him in a twin bed with the saftey sides so he didn't roll out. He slept so much better (no waking at night especially with the other bb crys). Try the breathable bumper.

My almost 3 year old son STILL goes to sleep with his legs through the slats. He doesn't usually get stuck, but ocassionaly he does. He actually lays down and scoothes all the way down to the bottom and purposely sticks his legs out of his crib when he's ready to go to sleep so I wouldn't assume your daughter will automatically stop soon.

My 16 month old was doing the same thing so we bought breathable bumpers (not to stop him from sticking his legs out so much, but more to keep his paci's in his bed.) It has helped with both. Occasionaly he will have a leg on top of the bumper and through the slats, but for the most part his limbs stay inside his crib. He also can't use the bumper to climb out...it's too thin and flimsy. It was well worth the $25. Good Luck!

I second the suggestion for the crib tent. We got one for our daughter when she was trying to crawl out of the crib and we weren't ready to put her in a big girl bed. She loved it. Aside from keeping the kid and limbs inside, it also keeps whatever she is sleeping with inside, which is an added bonus!

Yes, it will pass.....once she is in a toddler bed. My daughter jumped out of her crib at 17 months - and I do mean jumped! My son was done with his crib around 18 months (he crawled out much more gracefully.) When a crib becomes a hazard, it's time to transition to the new phase in their lives. Good luck.

It's definitely time for her to go to a big girl bed. Start talking to her about it now and to encourage her select a couple of beds you'd be okay getting and get her opinion. Our second child started climbing out of the crib at fifteen months and we got lucky she didn't hurt herself. It wasn't until we heard her talking to her sister on the baby monitor that we realized what was happening. She said, "Hep me Jacrin, Hep me," ...then a big thud! We went to the store that afternoon!

My son used to do this at her age - and also successfully climbed out and dove head-first onto the floor. We didn't feel like he was ready for a toddler bed so we bought a crib tent - it's a mesh lining that goes all around the inside of the crib and then forms a "tent" up above that you can zip them in - that way she can't get her feet in-between the slats. We sold it to our son as his "special fort" and he didn't mind it; he used it for almost a year til we got him a big-boy bed when #2 was on the way.

She's definately trying to get out. My daughter did that also. We had to get her a regular single bed and put it in a corner with a guardrail on the open side. She got up when she wanted in the a.m. but always came to wake us up right away. At least she was safe and she still slept 11-12 hours a night so who could complain??? Just enjoy the stages and you'll learn to "go with the flow".

Hi M.,
We have our 19 month old grandaughter living with us, and she just this weekend, got her leg caught in the slats as well at her thigh. I don't really want to take her out of the crib yet, but I don't want her to get hurt either. She was sleeping and in her sleep, stuck her leg through the slat. The bumper pads were out already so she wouldn't use them to climb out, but it makes it easy for her to stick her legs through when she's turning around in her sleep and gets sideways. It hasn't happened again, but if it does, I'll probably take her out of the crib and put her in a mattress on the floor or bed with siderails, with a gate on the door so she can't get out and run around if she wakes up. I don't remember ever having that happen with my other kids, so it's a new one for me too. She was really stuck though, and my husband had to come and pull on the slats while I got her out. If he wasn't home, I don't know if I could've gotten her out without calling for help. That was scary. Good luck.

J. B

Recently, my son started doing the same thing (when he was about 13 months) and I thought it was strange, since he had been walking for almost 4 months. I thought about putting the bumpers back on, but decided not to, since he is a climber and the bumpers would give him a bit more height. (But there is no way he could climb out yet...he's still too little.) He got a leg caught about 6-8 times in three weeks, and then it just stopped happening. (I also had to use lotion or liquid soap to get his leg out.) From my experience, this is a temporary thing that you don't need to worry about too much. It is a phase and she will figure it out!

I put one of those breathable bumpers around the bottom of my crib slats and that stopped my little one getting stuck in the slats.

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