Is your toddler climbing out of the crib and you’re not ready to transition to a toddler bed? See our tricks for getting your toddler to stay in their crib, so everyone sleeps safely!

toddler boy climbing out of his crib

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If your toddler is climbing out of his crib, there’s a good chance no one is sleeping well. Once toddlers realize they are capable of crib climbing, it’s almost impossible to stop them, unless you can outsmart them in another way.

Here are our best solutions to keep your toddler from climbing out of their crib.

When Should My Toddler Stop Sleeping in A Crib?

I recommend trying to keep your child in a crib until at least 3 years old.

Before age 3 they may have a harder time understanding boundaries and using impulse control.

Children under 3 aren’t usually ready for the boundaries that come with a big kid bed and all the freedom that comes with it.

See the signs your toddler is not ready to move to a bed.

If your child is younger than 3 and climbing out of the crib, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is ready to transition to a toddler bed. Follow these tips to try and stop crib climbing.

How Do I Get My Toddler To Stop Climbing Out of His Crib?

Here are 5 solutions that may help keep your little one from climbing out of their crib.

1. Use a Sleep Sack

With a wearable blanket, your baby’s feet are tucked in and there’s a limited amount of space for how wide they’ll be able to open their legs.

They may not be able to get enough leverage to hoist a leg over the crib in a sleep sack.

Sleep sacks can keep babies warm at night since they move around so much and it might help prevent them from climbing out of the crib.

Some escape artists can get their sleep sack off. For those clever kids, grab a sleep sack your toddler can’t get out of. One like the Halo sleep sack has the zipper at the bottom, making it harder for your toddler to access.

Some parents also put their child’s sleep sack on backwards so they really won’t be able to unzip it! See my favorite sleep sacks for toddlers here!

2. Buy Special Pajamas

Special toddler pajamas that can prevent crib climbouts

These pajamas from The Naughty Monkey use a traditional pair of footie pajamas and add a thick piece of fabric, sewing the legs together to lessen the space that kids would be able to move.

Your toddler might not be able to widen their legs enough to get over their crib.

Toddlers can still walk in the pajamas, but these are more restrictive than a sleep sack. The sizes go all the way up to 5T.

I think these would also help if you were trying to keep your toddler from climbing out of the pack n play.

toddler trying to climb out of crib

This toddler is almost 2 years old and had been climbing out of the crib and his mom had tried everything before trying these pajamas.

He could walk around easily enough in these pajamas, but was not able to crawl out of the crib!

special pajamas to keep toddler from climbing out of the crib

3. Move your Furniture

Double check that nothing is helping your little guy or girl get out of the crib in the first place.

Make sure your child’s room doesn’t have any furniture that is near the crib. Dressers or side tables close to the crib can be used as leverage to climb off of.

Position the back and side of the crib against a wall so that only one side of the crib is open.

4. Turn the Crib Around

Many crib models have a lower side and higher side. (Lower in the front and higher in the back.)

If your little escape artist hasn’t yet realized that he can climb out of the crib sides, this may do the trick!

Turn your crib around so the high back side is now in front and the low, shorter side is up against the wall.

It’s not the prettiest display in your nursery, but it’s an easy solution that often works!

crib turned around and mattress on the ground to prevent toddler from climbing out

5. Lower the Mattress to the Ground

I’m assuming that you’ve already lowered the crib mattress to the lowest setting you can in the crib.

If your toddler is climbing out even on the lowest setting, on some cribs you can take the springs out of the bottom part of the crib and lower the mattress all the way to the ground.

For some cribs this works really well, and for others you have to get a little creative. When we did this with our crib it left a gap in between the bottom of the crib and the mattress.

My daughter could have easily gotten stuck in between that gap (which to me was worse than any climbing-out-of-the-crib-injuries we would have).

You can also build a platform to help bridge the gap between the floor and the bottom of the crib.

Again, this only works for some models and could become a safety issue for other cribs so talk with your child’s pediatrician and use your best judgement.

Are Crib Tents Safe?

A crib tent seems like the most obvious answer to keeping your toddler from climbing out, but for safety reasons, crib tents are advised against.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (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.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled crib tents in the past because they can cause serious injury or death in infants and toddlers. The strangulation risk is simply not worth the risk.

My Toddler Is Still Climbing Out

If you try all of these tricks and your little one is still able to climb out of their crib, it might be time to transition to a toddler bed.

If your toddler is under 3 years old, and you have to go this route, you’ll basically want to make your toddler’s room like a big crib.

Child proof your toddler’s room and use a safety gate at the bedroom door to prevent your child from roaming the house in the middle of the night.

At your wit’s end with your child getting out of bed?

The Big Bed Blues course walks you through the process of getting your child to sleep in their own bed for 10–12 hours every night. End the power struggles and sleepless nights once and for all with the Big Bed Blues Course.

What did you use to keep your toddler from climbing out of crib? I’d love to hear tricks or products that worked for other parents as well!

Amy Motroni

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10 Comments

  1. I don’t know that this is what I’m looking for. I am ok with my son getting out but want him to do so safely each time. A lot of the suggestions sound hazardous. For example, turning the crib around just makes it a higher fall.

    1. Hi Michelle! I am sorry this wasn’t a good fit for your family. Each baby is different and what works for some babies doesn’t work for other babies. For many, turning the crib around makes it too high for them to climb. If they can still climb it, you would not want to turn it around. I hope you find a safe solution for your little guy!

      – Lauren, The Postpartum Party support

  2. Thanks for the suggestions! I have 10 month old twins and one of them has figured out how to escape. He doesn’t spread his legs to climb over so the PJ option isn’t going to work for us. He uses his arms, pulls himself up and over, diving head first…no legs needed 🤦🏻‍♀️

    1. Hi Katherine! He’s got skills! If the back of your crib is taller than the front, turning it around might work…if he’s not strong enough to pull himself a little higher yet, or won’t dive off the side instead.

      Lauren

  3. My son is 2 and a half. He is clmibing out of his crib when i put him in it and getting up in the night and climbing out and its a battle keeping him in his crib. He refuses to nap and go to bed. Please give this tired stressed mom some advice/.

  4. What a great read and fun. I love the product suggestion. I had no idea they had pajamas created in the way explained. I love it; however, the price is a bit much for me to spend. My child is growing pretty quick. I feel the design is simple enough to buy pajamas that are affordable and probably just sew a fabric piece in between the pajama legs, myself. Thank you so much for the read and suggestions. I need better sleep and before I have to start work and school, I need her back on her schedule!

    1. Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, if you can sew, I don’t see why you couldn’t make them on your own!

      Good luck!
      Amy

  5. Putting the mattress on the floor is not at all a safe practice and SHOULD NOT be recommended! This is an entrapment hazard and any modifications to the crib goes against the crib owners manual.

    1. Hi Lindsay,

      Don’t do it if there will be any gap at all between the crib and the mattress, but I have seen it done without entrapment concerns. Parents should always use their best judgement.

      Thanks,
      Amy

  6. Thanks for sharing our crib solutions for our triplets! We have since used it successfully Kiddo #4 and and anticipate it will be used for Baby #5 in a few months or so. I’m so thankful we were able to safely keep them in their cribs.

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