Are crib tents safe to use when your little one is a crib-climber? Here’s everything you need to know about crib tent safety.

toddler boy standing up in crib

If your toddler is climbing out of their crib, crib tents seem super appealing.

Crib tents advertise that they’re a way to keep babies from escaping their cribs when they should be sleeping. But are they safe?

Unfortunately, crib tents come with some controversy regarding safety standards. When it comes to crib tent safety, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Is It Safe to Use a Crib Tent?

Over the past couple of decades, there are many documented cases of injuries and even deaths related to crib tent use.

Ten years ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched a crib tent recall of all crib tents and play yards manufactured by a company called Tots in Mind, Inc.

Why Were Crib Tents Recalled?

CPSC cited 27 known tent failures, which included at least one crib tent death and many other injuries.

While that recall was company-specific (and Tots in Mind, Inc. is now no longer in business), it was significant enough to give parents everywhere pause about the safety of crib tents as a whole.

What Does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Say About Crib Tent Safety?

The AAP has not specifically addressed crib tent safety. However, it’s pretty easy to see based on some of their other baby accessory guidance that the AAP would not endorse the use of crib tents.

For example, the AAP warns parents to avoid using crib accessories like bumpers because they can cause suffocation and entanglement risks. 

Crib tents are made from similar fabric, and you attach them to the crib in a similar way to bumpers. That means you could apply the AAP’s concerns about bumper safety to crib tent safety as well.

toddler boy standing up in crib

Are Crib Tents Safe for Toddlers?

While toddlers are definitely more strong and maneuver themselves better than infants, that doesn’t dismiss concerns about entanglement and suffocation altogether.

If you’re concerned about your toddler climbing out of their crib, it might be time to transition to a toddler bed.

The Bottom Line on Crib Tent Safety

You may have heard from someone that a crib tent worked wonders in their household. Word of mouth and personal recommendations can be useful, but ultimately your baby’s safety is your responsibility.

For me, the potential for harm, injury, and/or death posed by crib tents that are not bottomless is too great to ignore.

As with all products you use for your baby, it’s important to do your research before using them. It’s also important to frequently inspect the products you’re using with your baby, looking for signs of wear or damage.

To look up potential safety complaints against various baby products (including crib tents), you can use the CPSC website to search for unsafe products.

toddler climbing out of the crib

How Do I Keep My Toddler from Climbing Out of Their Crib?

So if crib tents aren’t safe, what’s a good crib tent alternative to keep your little one from climbing out of their crib?

The good news is there are things you can change about your little one’s room and how they dress for bed that may help.

Lower the Mattress

The first thing to do is to make sure that the crib mattress is on its lowest setting. You’ll also want to make sure there’s no furniture near their crib that they can use to help them climb out.

Turn the Crib Around

Some cribs are taller on the back side than the front, so you can also try turning the crib around backwards. The shorter side will be against the wall, making it harder to climb out.

Use a Sleep Sack

If your toddler is able to get out of their crib by putting a leg over the side, you could also try using a toddler sleep sack to make it harder for them to lift their leg up and over. You can even find pajamas with a sewn-in fabric panel that stops toddlers from climbing.

While I recommend trying to wait as close to three years old as possible to transition to a toddler bed, sometimes it has to happen sooner. Don’t stress.

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If you have questions about crib tent safety, leave them in the comments below.

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