20 Month Old Son Keeps Climbing Out of Crib at Night

Updated on July 26, 2008
K.E. asks from Fresno, CA
7 answers

Hello Mom's! My 20 month old son wakes up a couple of times a night and climbs out of his crib and runs around the house. This only started recently. Up until a few days ago any time he woke up at night he would just go back to sleep, I never had to interfere. He was always one of those dreams kids that went to bed without a fight and slept for 12 hours straight without complaint. But the last few nights have been nightmares! When he climbs out I just chase him down and put him back in his crib and tell him it's night night time, he'll then fall back asleep for a couple of hours then wake up and do it all over again. I don't know what to do to keep him in his crib. I do have the crib mattress as low as it can go and the adjustable side of the crib is kept up. I guess my question to all you mom's out there is how do I keep him in his crib and is this just a phase that we need to work through? Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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So What Happened?

First thank you to everyone who gave my their insight. After reading all of the responses I decided that my son wasn't ready for a toddler bed, but I did purchase a crib tent and love it! My son loves it too, he thinks he gets to sleep in a fort every night. It keeps him safe, and keeps him from throwing things out of bed and me having to retrieve them for him. Thanks again moms!

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Sad as it may be, as soon as the baby can get out of the crib, it is time for a toddler bed. For safety reasons as well as any other.

I know! But then he'll get up all the time! aagh!

He has to learn to stay in bed. The nanny 911 books have some great stay in bed techniques. You have to be patient and consistent, but the hard work up front pays off. Good luck.

Oh how i miss that crib! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I'm really surprised to hear anyone say to keep a child in a crib when they can get out. My pediatrician said the FIRST time either of our kids could get out of the crib you must get rid of the crib because there are a lot of cases where babies break a bone or injure their head falling out. Both of my boys went into a bed at exactly two yeard old. They both did fine. My oldest slept better in a big boy bed and my youngest woke up once a night for the first week. I put the plastic child proofing knobs on the inside of their doors so they can't get out, and they don't even try since they are used to seeing those knob locks on the bathroom, etc.

My pediatrician said to just start out with the crib mattress on the floor if you have to. If you make it fun and tell them how lucky they are to get a BIG boy bed they should do fine.

I personally think it is crazy to leave a kid in a crib that they can get out of, that's a long fall for a 2 year old. Going to a bed is just like getting rid of the pacifier or bottle, they will get over it, just be prepared and work through it. Good luck to you!

I wanted to add that you should google 'moving baby to bed' and read about suggestions for age and how to do the transition.

When I googled information here some stuff that came up:

"Once your child is able to climb out of his crib, it is time to move him into a toddler bed. If your child is three feet tall, you may want to move him to a toddler bed even if he isn't climbing out of his crib. The usual age is about eighteen months to two years. "

"There is no precise time for making this move, and it is different for every child, though typically it's between your child's first and third birthday. The most common reasons to make the switch:
* Your child learns how to climb and could hurt herself by falling out."
" Mattress on the floor - A common choice is a mattress or futon on the floor. This provides your little one with a big-kid bed, but one that he is capable of getting in and out of on his own and that prevents falls out of bed."



answers from San Francisco on

My 19 month old started doing this a few months ago, and I was mortified. The pediatrician and all those baby books out there don't want a child out of the crib until around 3, and I absolutely agree! Especially with my 19 month old, and your 20 month old, the last thing a mother wants is a screaming tantruming toddler capable of getting out of bed and running around wherever he or she wants wreaking havoc in the rest of the house. I am a child psychologist, and frankly, people that choose to put their toddlers into toddler beds when they start climbing out at such a young age is asking for worlds of trouble - often, toddlers that are allowed to sleep in toddler beds generally regress as far as sleeping goes: children that have slept 12 hours a night in their crib are suddenly getting up 5 times a night to wake everyone else up, and then everyone ends up angry and cranky from lack of sleep. So ABSOLUTELY do not even entertain the idea of putting him in a big bed (though many mothers on here will suggest you do so). Our children are at an age where they do not have the capabiity of controlling themselves and their compulsions, and are unable to really understand why they shouldn't get out of bed if they physically can. SO, that being said, this is how we solved the crib climbing problem:

BUY A CRIB TENT!!! It was the best money I ever spent. Its a mesh tent that is completely see through and attaches to the crib itself with velcro, and zips open and closed. The mattress actually fits into the mesh tent itself, so it also keeps angry toddlers from throwing all their stuff out of the crib and onto the floor when they are pushed out of shape. It also keeps them from getting out, as well as getting their legs stuck in the crib slats. My daughter actually really likes it - its her special little fort, and I sometimes put a blanket on the top of the tent, which she LOVES. She is back to her normal, happy sleeping habits now, and I dont ever have to worry about her getting out, throwing out her blankie or binky, getting stuck, or anything like that. It is very easily assembled and disassembled, so you can take it with you on trips, and even mommy can take it off and on very easily by herself. When my daughter is old enough to handle a toddler bed, then she will have one, but until I am SURE she is ready (which probably wont be until around 3 for most children) the crib tent has been a godsend.

You can buy them at most baby supply stores such as babies r us. They are a little pricey ($50-$75) but the money is WELL worth calm and happy nights sleep for the next year for the entire family.



answers from Visalia on

My son started getting out of the crib and he eventually hurt himself.he is now two and he was about 18 months when he flipped hisself out of the crib, we took the crib away and got a toddler bed he dous ok in the bed the only thing is he sometimes gets up and he comes straight into our bed, but the toddler bed was a sure step into the right track. If he gets scared he comes straight to my bed mabey your son is feeling scared and feeling alone. Mabey a change in beds would do him good



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Dear K.,

Yes, you are right a phase that you have to work through, and you have to win. I would say that you need to just continue what you are doing. He will get the message. Probably he is just awakening and has enough motor skills to climb out of bed and get on with his job of playing.

Really though, this is your chance to teach him that you are the boss and that your wishes about his health and safety are the what rules the house. Of course, that is grown up talk, but he will get the message if you just keep on keeping on with the way that you are handling it. Do not even one time give in. It will go away eventually.

Maybe he will be an explorer when he grows up. Maybe his innate personality is starting to show up.
Aren't they just the best?

C. N.



answers from Sacramento on

Get him out of that crib ASAP! It is extremely dangerous to "allow" him to jump out like that. My youngest started jumping out of his crib at 13 months, and from that day on he was in a toddler bed. Use baby gates to block off parts of the house so he cannot "explore" late at night...



answers from Modesto on

I would get a toddler bed for him just because that would be awful if he fell and hurt himself. You will probably have to continue putting him in bed and telling him that it is time for sleeping, but it is better than him falling and hitting his head or something.

M. *~