Crib Crawlers: Keeping your Child In the Crib

You hear an abnormal loud thump. You sprint to your child’s room to find the crib empty….instead they are sprawled out on their floor with a look of surprise and mischief on their face. You immediately have a rush of emotions and thoughts, one being “I guess it’s time to transition to a big bed.”

I’m stomping my feet and waving my hands like a crazy person, “NOOOOOOOOOO, don’t do it!”  This incident does not mean you need to transition to a bed.

Okay, maybe I don’t have to be that dramatic, but I am here to encourage you to keep the crib as long as possible. The recommendation is to keep your child in a crib until 3 years of age.  Children under 3 years of age do not have the ability to understand the concept and rules of a big bed.  Transitioning too early will cause MORE sleep problems. You don’t need more sleep issues, right?!

How do you stop your monkey from climbing out?


Did you know they made Sleep Sacks for toddlers and older children?  Some Sleep Sacks even have foot holes. Check them out!  Sleep Sacks are wonderful for crib climber’s because not only will it keep them warm at night, it limits their range of motion.  By limiting how high they can lift their leg, they may not be able to maneuver their legs and body up and over the crib rail, keeping them in their crib all night long.


Take a look at your crib.  Is one side (usually the back) higher than the other?  If so, rotate the crib so the taller side is towards the middle of the room.  Making their mountain higher, you can delay another crib escape.  (insert song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”)  Lets hope that’s not their mantra.


Use your video monitor to your advantage.  Once you place your child in their crib and leave for the night, be a hawk on your monitor.  The moment you see their leg rise up, take action.  Walk in, kindly and firmly touch their leg and place it back in the crib.  State “it’s time to sleep in your crib.  I love you, good night”  and walk out of the room.  Do this every. single. time.  With consistency and time, they will enjoy untroubled sleep in their crib.


You know all those decorative throw pillows you never use, well now is the time!  Place those lovely, fluffy pillows around your child’s crib.  In case, just in case, they escape again, the pillows will lessen their fall.  Our goal is to be consistent and change their crib climbing behaviors, but we know this can take a week or more.  Use the pillows as back-up, to help our worry minds know they won’t hurt themselves if they do break free.


Children are incredible in their climbing skills, yet this does not mean they are ready for a bed.  The most restorative, safe and comfortable sleep happens in a crib.  Keep your toddler in their comfort zone as long as possible.

Valerie Birch

Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant at Amazing Little Sleeper
Valerie Birch is a Pediatric Sleep Expert for exhausted families who have tried evvvvverything to get their child to sleep.

Through her informative and supportive blog posts and one-on-one help, she’s here to guide your child into restorative naps and peaceful nights - while making you wonder why you didn’t contact her sooner.

When she’s not consulting?You’ll find her hanging with her 2 children, getting her sweat on at the gym or baking and indulging in warm ooey-googey chocolate-chip cookies….hobbies that balance each other out!

Meet Valerie + prepare yourself for Amazing Sleep ahead…
Valerie Birch

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