At What Age Did You Convert to a Toddler Bed or Offer a Pillow?

Updated on December 13, 2012
S.H. asks from Harned, KY
17 answers

My 22 month old son has been a climber for quite some time, but just last night tried to climb out of his crib. I woke to his screaming at 2am and found him straddling the wooden rail of his crib. For fear that he will fall and hurt himself, we now have to convert his bed to a toddler bed. However, I don't think he is ready for a toddler bed at all. He does not sleep through the night regularly yet, and he would likely wander around the house if he were able to get out of his bed easily. I wondered if giving him a pillow or getting fun new bedding might give him some incentive to stay in his bed. I am open to any suggestions. Thanks.

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answers from Green Bay on

A pillow or fun bedding might help, but it also might not. If you are concerned about him wandering the house, what about putting up a baby gate in his doorway? That would confine him to his room.

There are lots of kids who are put into toddler beds for safety reasons and it is all a learning/teaching process to get them to stay in bed.

He doesn't sleep through the night regularly?? Why is he getting up?

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answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter slept in a toddler bed when she was about 20 months. She did fine. She was a climber so I thought it was safer than a crib.

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answers from Phoenix on

Personally, I would make sure all his big furniture (dressers, changing table, book shelves) is anchored to the walls, put a baby gate across his doorway (you can get extra tall ones if you think he'll climb it) AND get a crib tent. I wouldn't convert his crib since he's so young, especially if he's not a good sleeper, but you have to do something to keep him safe. The crib tent will keep him in his crib and prevent him from climbing out. The other things are just safety precautions in case he does manage to get out of the crib tent.
We converted my daughter's crib to a toddler bed when she was 26 months, when she started showing signs of being ready to potty train. As for the pillow, we gave them to our children around 20 months. Both started with a Pillow Pet.
Good luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

We started with a mattress on the floor at around 18 months with all three of ours. No worries about falling, and if/when they got up they came into our room. I really don't think a 22 month old would wander around the house at night, isn't it dark and scary? Likely he would come into your room. But if you want to keep him contained close his door or set up a baby gate.

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answers from Boise on

I did give pillows very young, younger then recommended, but I co-sleep so I figure as soon as they are stealing mine, they are ready. the age varies with each child.

Toddler beds were usually around two, again if they could climb out of my bed they could handle a bed of their own.

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answers from Chicago on

With our oldest we gave him a pillow and converted his crib to a toddler bed on his first birthday. My second child was a scheduled c-section 10 days after my oldest's 1st birthday, so since I was not going to be able to lift him out of his crib after his brother was born we got him a stool and taught him how to crawl in and out of the toddler bed. We put one of the child safety locks on the inside of his door so he couldn't wander. Since we did that with the first, it became a tradition to change the crib to a bed for their first birthday (they got toddler bedding as a present). He also loved board books, so we would leave a few books and a favorite stuffed toy in the bed with him so he could look at those if he wanted.

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answers from San Francisco on

My kids (twins) moved to toddler beds just after they turned 3. I was fortunate in that they weren't really climbers. One of them figured out how to climb out of his crib just a week or so before we had planned on giving them toddler beds (for Christmas). I don't recall when we gave them pillows. It was much earlier and they started with pillow pets.

If you are worried about him falling out of the toddler bed, you can just put the mattress on the floor. My kids' room has a hardwood floor so we put some of those foam play mats down in case they fell out of bed....which they did the first day they got in it and played around. Later, we just ditched the toddler bed and went right to a twin mattress on the floor.

If you are worried about night time exploration, you can put on one of those safety doorknob covers on the inside of his bedroom door if you tend to close it. Or if you like to leave his door open, put a baby gate up for his room. Either one will also help for nap times (if he still naps). My kids pretty much gave up the nap once they moved to toddler beds.

I have a safety gate that blocks the way to the front door and also have a safety door knob cover on the front door. Other rooms are either closed with a safety knob on or have the risky cabinets safety locked. One of mine knows how to open the safety gate, but to my surprise, he rarely opens it when he's not supposed to. But that's why we have the extra security of the safety cover on the front door knob. We duct taped the doorknob cover on in case they figured out how to get it open so they can't escape out the front door. If you have a sliding glass door, they make safety locks for that as well.

As someone else mentioned, I did find that my kids tended to wander into my room over other places in the house. Even now that they can use the bathroom on their own, they first come into my room to tell me they have to go potty and then go potty by themselves.

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answers from Detroit on

We give a pillow at age 2, and a don't use blankets until 2.5 (and sheet at age 7). I had a 3-year-old fall asleep under a sheet who woke up screaming and sweating, and we're lucky she was still breathing.

As for toddler beds, whenever they climb the crib, generally 18 months. I shut the door and they don't know how to open it at first!

Crib tents were recalled for suffocating dangers so you can't buy those anymore.

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answers from Columbus on

We converted to the toddler bed at about 20 months, when he climbed out to tell me no nap. He actually adjusted well and stayed in. We do lock the bathroom door so he can't get in there and a gate right by his bedroom and very few toys in the room. He does have some stuffed animals and fills his bed. He waits for me to come get him.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Set gate a baby gate or just close the door.



answers from Chicago on

My kids all had pillows in their crib starting around 18 months, I'd give him a pillow, maybe a stuffed animal to play with and possibly get a crib tent. That being said, my older 3 were all out of a crib by their 2nd birthday so your time may be short lived.



answers from Eau Claire on

I gave my daughter a pillow right around 22-24 months, somewhere in there. Nothing too fluffy, but she loved having her own pillow and special blanket. I still have yet to convert to a toddler bed (she's almost 28 months) for fear of the exact reasons you listed lol. She absolutely can and does crawl out of her crib, but somehow has learned to not crawl out during night/nap times. When I walk into her room she will jump out, but will not get out until I get in there. I personally would leave him in the crib, and if he tries to get out put him back in, and hopefully he will stop trying. If you do decide to go to a toddler bed, let me know how it goes! Maybe I'm just a chicken, lol.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, he's really too old for a toddler bed since they are for toddlers, ages 12 months to 24 months. He needs to already be switched.

That said, it is your choice by all means to decide. I think that he has shown you that he is at risk. Get him a big bed and put the mattress on the floor, put a gate in his doorway that he cannot get over or push out of his way, use the baby monitor to listen for him, if he's up and playing then just let him be. He will eventually get the idea it's bed time.

It's your job to keep him as safe as possible. He is showing you he is going to be out of this baby bed and is going to be wandering around if you don't put a stop to it. The gate is the best way. That or shutting his door and putting a doorknob protector on it.

You must make sure every door in the home has one now too. Especially the bathroom doors. He can tip over into the toilet and drown. He's almost too old for that but I would not take a chance on it happening.

A super strong gate is your best option at this point.

Make sure any shelves in his room are screwed to the wall with large L brackets so they won't topple over on him if he climbs, each shelf should have a minimum of 4 smaller L brackets under each shelf to ensure they won't fall out and hurt him too. This makes them a safe climb for him if he is one that will climb a moon beam.


answers from Austin on

Our daughter was climbing out of her crib at a year old. We put a gate on her door. Sometimes we found her asleep on the floor.. But she could not climb over the gate.. You can also double stack them.

She got a pillow, once she was using the one on our bed.. Or when she would ball up her own blanket and put it under her head.



answers from Washington DC on

Sometime after 2.5, I think, we converted her to a toddler bed when she was launching herself from her bed. I don't really remember when she got a pillow. Sometime around then. She attached herself to a travel pillow and that's still her favorite. Won't even let us change the cover (it gets washed and put back on).

If you do not want him to wander, put a kiddie door lock thing on the knob on the INSIDE of his room. That way he can go no farther than his own door.



answers from Missoula on

I always advise keeping them in their cribs for as long as possible. Once they can get out of bed, all bets are off, and if he isn't sleeping through the night now I would really hesitate to give him that freedom. Can you try a crib tent or something to keep him from climbing out?

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