2-Yr Old Climbing Out of Crib

Updated on February 10, 2012
D.C. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
14 answers

Ok, I'm sure this is one that's been asked before but - what did you do when your child started climbing out of the crib? No way he's going to stay in a toddler bed. My current plan is to put him in the toddler bed and put a gate across his door, so at least he won't be roaming the house at night. But I'm hoping for a better idea.

The background is that he did not sleep through the night until he was almost 18 months old. He is finally a good sleeper, and I hate to do ANYTHING to disrupt that, and moving him out of his crib is likely to do that. But I don't want him to get hurt falling out of the crib, so what choice do I have?

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So What Happened?

Well, as always, my little one has a mind of his own. He flat-out refuses to get into the toddler bed. He wouldn't even cuddle with me in the bed. He wants nothing to do with it, he wants to be in his crib at night. So, we are going to look into the crib tent and give it more time.

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M.R.

answers from Cleveland on

They have these wonderful things called crib tents. They are a mesh tent thing that goes over the top of the crib to prevent them from climbing out/falling. I used one for all 3 of my kids and they really do work! I LOVE them!! However,they do not hold up well to cat claws!!

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X.O.

answers from Chicago on

Your plan of the toddler bed & gate are right on the money.

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K.B.

answers from Philadelphia on

You can buy a crib tent and keep him in as long as possible until he matures more.

If you have to take him out for his safety, then yes, put a gate at the door but he may climb over that as well so you can get 2 gates, one on top of the other. Or you can get the "tall gate". It is metal bars with a door that opens and is much taller than your average gate. If he is upstairs you'll want a gate at the top of the stairs as well. You'll want to make his room pitch dark for less movement in his room at night which means no night lights and darken his window. You can buy darkening curtains or do what we did with our triplets and just use a black garbage bags taped onto each window. This way you control his night time light, not nature. You'll want to put locks and guards on any closets. Be creative. You'll want to move his dresser in the hall or another room or turn it around to face the wall and only fill it with off season clothes, so the drawers cannot be used as a ladder. If you keep it faced outward then you'll want to strap it in the back to the wall. These are things you do with a climber, just in case. Cover all the outlets with plugs and anything with a cord needs to be behind a dresser so it cannot be pulled. If he climbs the gate you'll want to lock his door. You can turn the handle around for that. And only give him soft toys in his room so if they're thrown nothing will break. You'll also want to put saftey items on things in the main part of the house if he gets out while you're sleeping. You'd be surprised at the things kids get into when you're sleeping when they won't you're awake, lol.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

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C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Yep, my youngest had to move to a toddler bed at 18 months because she kept climbing out of the crib. And no, she wouldn't stay in the toddler bed either. She hadn't yet figured out how to open doors as long as they were latched, so we just shut her door (if your son can open doors, then a baby gate is your best bet). Most nights, she would get out of her toddler bed and lay right next to the door and peek out under the door until she fell asleep - so before I went to bed, I'd open her door (shoving her along, totally asleep, behind it - eek!), and put her back into her toddler bed. Eventually she figured out that her bed was way more comfortable than the floor, and just stayed in bed!

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J.L.

answers from Chicago on

Time to train him for the toddler bed. If he is climbing he won't stay put in the crib either. Why risk the climb and then him falling one day. Last weekend we bit the bullet and put our son in his own bed from the crib. A gate across his door is fine. That's exactly what I would do.

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L.R.

answers from Washington DC on

I'm glad you do plan to go to a toddler bed. Do it today. Picture this: Look at the top rail of the raised crib side. Look at the distance from there to the floor. Picture your child falling that distance -- head first. Keeping climbers in cribs is asking for injury or worse; my friend's child broke her arm at 18 months the very FIRST time she tried to climb out of her crib.

I know you don't want to hear this, but here it is: You will have to go through another sleep transition with the toddler bed and a gate on the door won't be enough to handle it. He has to be taught that when he gets out of the bed, and he will, that he gets no "reward": No attention, no talking, no playing, just right back to bed.

When he gets up, you quietly say, "Nighttime is time to be in bed," then walk him back to his bed with your hand on his shoulder. Do not fuss at him, don't scold, do not engage him in any further talk, sit him down, lay him down and leave. He will do it again; you don't talk the second time but walk him back. It may take MANY times for some nights to come but it's the only way he learns that getting up gets him zero attention and zero excitement. The gate works for some kids but won't teach him to get back into bed; it will just let him roam his room unless you also go in and walk him silently and firmly to bed. Not a fun period but one all toddlers go through.

It helped us a lot that the first week I stayed in the room but in silence and in the dark, until my daughter was asleep. Then for a few more weeks I stayed where she could see me just outside her cracked-open bedroom door (I sat and read in the hallway--nice reading time!). Then iin later weeks I just checked on her after 10 minutes, then after 20 more, then after 30 more. She always knew I was there and she felt secure and eventually would go to sleep without my having to be within view or nearby and did very well after that.

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M.S.

answers from Philadelphia on

My little guy (now 2.5) started doing that about 6 months ago. We turned the crib around so the tall side is in the front. We are very lucky.... He still stays in the crib for nighttime and naptime, but he can climb out in a second during time-outs. Ha ha. ;) I know my 'crib' days are numbered.

Good luck!

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F.B.

answers from Harrisburg on

It is definitely time for you to move him to a bed. With all of my kids, they were out of the crib well before they turned 2. I didn't use a toddler bed for any of them. I just put them directly on a twin bed with bed rails. Yes, they all got out of bed until they learned to stay in bed. I just put a gate across the door opening so that they couldn't leave their room. I just let them play until they fell asleep. With each one, when I knew they were asleep, I would go in and gently pick them up from wherever they fell asleep and put them back in bed. Eventually, they would climb out to play for a little bit then climb back in bed for sleep. The whole process lasted about a month or two and then they started staying in bed all on her own.

The point to this is that children will react to new experiences. Yes, your son may climb out of bed. That is normal. And yes, he may not go to sleep right away for awhile. This is also normal. But, as long as you place a gate up to prevent him from wondering and hurting himself, he will be fine. Try making a bedtime routine such as bath, then story, then bedtime to relax him. Eventually, when he adjusts to the new experience, he will stay in bed all on his own.

Gook Luck!

M.J.

answers from Milwaukee on

Toddler bed and gate will work but if he is still napping you may loose his naps.

I use the crib tent for my 2.5 year old. He is a good napper and I don't want to loose that. If he could get out at naptime he would want to play instead of nap. At night he is so tired it would be fine but not during the day.

M.S.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My son didn't start sleeping thru the night until last week (knock on wood) and he'll be 4yo in May. He climbed out of his crib at 14mos (his crib was in a 7x10 dormer in our bedroom), and our house was under construction, so there was no where else to put him. I made our room/bed safe for bedsharing, which he did until 28mos. Construction was done, he had his own room and moved in at 28mos with a full size bed (he's a very active sleeper) and foam wedges on the sides. The only times he's gotten out of bed are in the morning, to snuggle with me. When he wakes at night, he calls us into his room.

So, putting him in a big boy bed might make things better.

A friend of mine had success with a crib tent. I've heard other moms say those things are controversial.

Good luck!

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

Our son was never one for roaming the house at night.
All wanted to do was come to me when he couldn't get back to sleep and our room was right across the hall from his.
He fell out of his crib once, and after that he had climbing from his crib figured out and he had no trouble getting out or in.
We left the crib side down and he was happy in his crib till he was 3.5 yrs.

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T.M.

answers from Philadelphia on

My older son went right to a toddler bed when he was not quite 2.5, we put a gate up and after a few days of getting used to the difference he napped and slept as well as he did in his crip (we're talking nice long naps and straight through the night which was great for me since I was pregnant with his brother)
My younger son climbed out of his crib at an early age, maybe 18 months. We weren't ready for him to be in a bed so we bought a crib tent. While we were worried about how he would take the tent at such an 'old' age, he was fine. We made a game out of it and his big brother acted jealous. Now we were huge slackers and didn't take him out of it until he was almost 3.5. He has a gate on his door, but he's climbed over the gate almost everyday since. We're pulling our hair out and would love to put him back in his tent 😊 The big brother never did that and stays in his room until called even at 6.5.
Good luck. Whatever decision you make will be the right one for your family. And if it doesn't work? Don't stress, try another solution. Or turn yourself gray like we are.

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J.M.

answers from Dallas on

One day - I just took the side rail off of the crib and my toddler loved being able to climb in all by himslef. He was about 26 months old. We put up a crib rail and he would climb out 2-4x's a week. We bit the bullet and bought him a full size bed (so it was big enough for either my husband or myself to lay down with him) - ever since we did that - and let him pick out dinosaur sheets - he has stayed in the bed. Even when he wakes up in the morning - he calls for one of us to come and get him. Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

If he had moved to a toddler bed when he became a toddler he would not have these issues. The younger they are moved the less likely they are to figure out they have freedom. Bed is just bed. Not an avenue to get up whenever they want.

Now that the child is a pre-schooler I suggest going straight to a regular bed. He will outgrow a toddler bed very shortly. They are for kids that are about 12 months to 24 months.

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