What to Do When My Baby or Toddler Climbs Out of the Crib

What to Do When My Baby or Toddler Climbs Out of the Crib

Written by: Alyssa Larsen



Time to read 6 min

There’s comfort in knowing your baby is safe in their crib. You can set your little one down in their bed while you use the bathroom—alone—and have peace of mind that they aren’t getting into anything. Even waking up to them crying out for you in the middle of the night and knowing exactly where you’ll find them builds a sense of security.

Until they start trying to climb out of the crib. If you’ve seen them hike a leg up over the crib rail, or maybe your toddler has already made it to the floor and ran into your room at night, then the crib might start to feel like less of a safe space.

Here’s everything you need to know about what to do when your baby or toddler climbs out of the crib.

Why Does My Baby or Toddler Climb Out of Their Crib?

One of the great things about young children is that they are natural explorers. They’re curious and want to use what they’ve learned to figure out new things, like how pulling up and standing at the side of the crib is a great time to practice their climbing skills.

Nighttime separation anxiety, sleep regression, or being ready to drop a naptime can all affect your child’s sleeping habits and be the answer to why they’re climbing out of their crib when they’re supposed to be asleep.

The taller your toddler grows, and the more milestones your baby hits, the more they realize how capable they are of getting themselves from point A to point B. Climbing out—or attempting to climb out—of the crib is a natural part of your baby or toddler’s development.

The trick to managing your little one’s new skill is keeping their sleep environment safe by making changes to their crib or transitioning to a new bed.

Nurture& offers cribs that can convert to a toddler bed and twin-size bed options for when it’s time to make that move.

Twin Bed

When Will My Baby Start to Climb Out of Their Crib?

Babies and toddlers grow and develop at different rates along a wide spectrum of normal, and factoring in the different personalities of each child, it’s hard to mark one definitive age that your baby will start climbing out of the crib.

Some babies will try climbing as soon as they master the art of pulling up to stand, around 9-12 months old. Another child may not be interested in escaping from their crib until they’re seeking more independence at two years old. It’s important to track your little one’s unique development and capabilities—especially between 1-2 years old—to ensure their crib is safe for them.

White Crib

5 Ways to Keep Your Baby or Toddler Safe in Their Crib

Not all hope is lost the first time your child climbs out of their crib. There are immediate steps you can take to prolong the use of the crib while making sure your baby is safe. These recommendations can help you proactively keep your little one from climbing out of their crib.

Lower the Crib Mattress

Every crib has at least two mattress height adjustments. Moving the support frame to the lowest setting holds the crib mattress lower in the crib and can help stop your child from getting up over the side of the crib. Sometimes lowering the crib mattress is all it takes to help your baby sleep safely in the crib for a few more months.
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Turn the Front of the Crib toward the Wall

If your baby’s crib is designed with a high back piece, turning the crib around, with the lower side toward the wall, can help keep your tiny escape artist from climbing out. This may not be an ideal long-term solution, but it might get you by for a short time until you decide on a permanent solution.

Use a Sleep Sack

Zip-up and velcro sleep sacks, or wearable blankets, are safer than loose swaddles and can be used from the newborn stage through the early toddler years. With their feet enclosed in the one-piece, your child has less mobility to climb up the crib rails. Sleep sacks come in different size ranges so be sure to pick the best fit for your little one.

Keep the Crib Empty

Your toddler may have a favorite stuffed animal that they like to sleep with or you might toss a few toys in the crib to keep them occupied while you’re working on something else. But once they learn to climb, you’ll want to remove as much as possible. A young climber will use toys and stuffies as a stepstool to help them get out of the crib. You might consider a lovey to sleep with or small hand-held toys to discourage stacking and climbing.

Transition to a Toddler Bed

Sometimes you can do all the right things and your little Houdini still manages to slip out of the crib again and again. Even if they’re getting pretty good at climbing out of the crib now, it’s not worth the risk of a fall injury to let it continue. That means it’s time to switch to a toddler bed. Picking a new toddler bed can be a fun upgrade to your toddler’s room or you may have a crib that converts to a toddler bed with a few adjustments.

What Should I Do After My Toddler Climbs Out of Their Crib?

Some crib-climbing kids can’t be stopped. If your little one has made it clear that nothing will keep them in the crib, then it’s time to start looking for alternative sleep accommodations and ways to keep them safe in their room.

Avoid Using a Crib Tent

A crib tent is intended to keep babies and toddlers in their cribs by attaching a mesh dome to the top of the crib. The trouble with these products is the risk of entrapment and strangulation if the ties of the crib tent come loose or the top of the dome becomes inverted. Many of these products have been recalled and declared unsafe by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
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Try a Toddler Bed

The small scale of a toddler bed is often less intimidating for kids who might struggle to adjust to the new bedtime routine that comes with a new bed. It’s usually the preferred next step by parents because the crib mattress and sheets can still be used on a toddler bed. Transitioning to a toddler bed may take time and patience, but it can help prevent high-up falls.

Consider a Big Kid Bed

Families sometimes prefer to switch directly to a big kid's bed from a crib. This is generally an easier process with a preschooler than a one-year-old. Keep in mind that a big-kid twin bed is usually higher off the ground than a toddler bed and requires separate safety rails.

Nurture& offers a customizable option with The Kids Bed. This twin-size bed is toddler-proofed with rounded edges and stain-resistant fabric. It has multiple color combinations and add-ons, like matching safety rails and trundle storage, for a big kid bed that fits your wants and needs.

Make Your Toddler’s Room Safe

Whether your child’s next sleep space is a toddler bed or a twin bed, they’ve now gained access to parts of their room—and possibly the whole house—that weren’t as easy to get to before.

A baby gate or doorknob safety cover may be appropriate if your child isn’t potty training yet and you worry they might wander around the house in the middle of the night. Since it’s clear your toddler likes to climb, now would be the time to anchor the dresser and other heavy furniture to the wall if you haven’t done so already.

You can do this! We know keeping your baby or toddler safe is your top priority and these tips will help prepare you for when your little one learns to climb out of their crib.

Nurture&’s convertible cribs are modern, safe, and made to grow with your baby. Are you ready to move your “big kid” to a twin bed? We’ve got that covered, too. Shop The Kids Bed and more in our online store where our premium furniture is made for parents, by parents. You can also visit the blog for additional ideas on creating your spaces.

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing. Before starting her career as a freelance writer, Alyssa devoted all of her time to her family and raising her young children. The evolution of her motherhood journey and parenting experience inspires her work. She strives to always tell a story that is helpful and relatable to the person reading it. Alyssa lives in Ohio with her husband and four hilarious kids.