At the age of 18 months, my daughter decided she didn’t want to be in bed anymore when we put her down in her crib. She’d learned to hoist herself up and come over the crib rail and shimmy down the side. She’d then go and pull open her bedroom door and holler down the stairs for us. Luckily, we kept a gate at the top of the stairs so that she couldn’t just mosey her way down or worse – fall down the stairs.
How Did She Do It?
She had a lot of stuffed animals in her crib – she’s always loved them. We thought she was piling them up and using them to get herself up to where she needed to go. Thinking we were smarter, we pulled the stuffed animals out and just let her keep one. We’re smarter than the toddler after all, right?
The next night, she shimmied right out and we could hear her laughing in delight over the baby monitor. Then she walked over and talked into it – calling us. We considered switching to a toddler bed because it would be safer than letting her climb out of her crib (for obvious reasons) and there are a lot of good reasons to get a toddler bed.
Her crib was convertible, so we switched it around and pulled down one wall of the crib. We explained it to her and when we tucked her in the next night with her stuffed animals – she was upset. She didn’t like it. She had trouble sleeping. We tried this for three days.
We finally gave in and put the crib wall back up. She skipped climbing out of it for another six months – when she started climbing again, we took down the wall and she was happier. She liked having her half-bed and half-crib and she felt safer, more able to sleep.
It’s scary when your baby begins to climb. By 18 months, most babies have developed the skills necessary to climb. Unfortunately, they are not able to judge the danger of the situation and even less able to judge heights. If your baby can control their upper body, jump on both of their feet and bend over to pick things up from a standing position – then they are ready to climb.
Luckily, not all babies climb. They have to want to climb. They have to want to explore. They have to be a bit fearless too and not all babies are quite frankly. If your baby is climbing, however, it’s usually a good sign that it’s time to get rid of the crib or to give them options like we did. Not everyone wants to go to a toddler bed and a twin bed can seem so enormous.
Try a mattress on the floor and decorate it up pretty. They can feel secure, without being lost in the bed and you know they aren’t going to be falling two or more feet and landing on their head or arm and breaking something. If you don’t have a climber and you’re wondering when it’s time to get them out of the crib and into a different sleeping bed – a good rule of thumb is to make the move when they are around 35 inches tall, give or take. Some babies take a while to reach that height and some don’t – but make the call that keeps baby safe.
Is your baby a climber?
Image by: babysleepsite.com