How to stop a toddler from crawling out of his crib

Learn about: How to stop a toddler from crawling out of his crib from Kim West, LCSW-C,...
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How to stop a toddler from crawling out of his crib

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So I get a lot of desperate pleas from parents of 18 months to 2 ½ year olds saying, what do I do? My child has climbed out of the crib. They didn't sleep great before. and now they really won't sleep. And they just climb out. Walk down the room. I actually am glad they didn't hurt themselves. But what do we do? And how do we keep them in? It's harder now because we no longer have crib tents. They were recalled in the United States for safety reasons. And those were sort of a mesh tent that helped children stay in their crib. And now unfortunately we don't have those. And so we have to get a little bit more creative, because unfortunately children can climb out of the crib sometimes before they have the cognitive ability and the impulse control to know, to stay in their bed all night long. Like an 18 month won't know how to do that. And actually not a lot of 2 year olds really have that down solid either. So if a parent doesn't want to go to a toddler bed, and they want to see if they can keep them in their crib, I of course recommend that you have the mattress down as low as it can go. And then you can even try putting your child in a sleep sack. Or there are now even pajamas that have like a little connector between their legs so the child can't lift their leg to climb over the crib. So they become frustrated. Now of course if you have a kid who goes over head first, then you're probably going to have to transition them to a toddler bed. And be prepared for a long process of having to learn to stay in their bed. And you'll probably have to gate the door and stay with them until they're asleep. It's a little more challenging. Another thing you can do is you can stay in the room and stay by the door. And every time they start to move that leg up, you say, no climbing. And you just repeat it, repeat it. I've even had parents hide. And so it becomes like the voice of the parent coming out of nowhere, no climbing. So they immediately, like, oh, mom or dad are here somewhere. And they'll put their leg down. You can definitely try that. There's no guarantee that will work. But I have had parents have success.

Learn about: How to stop a toddler from crawling out of his crib from Kim West, LCSW-C,...

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Kim West, LCSW-C

Psychotherapist & Author, The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight

Kim West is a mother of two and a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) who has been a practicing child and family social worker for more than 19 years. Known as The Sleep Lady by her clients, over the past 12 years she has helped thousands of tired parents all over the world learn to listen to their intuition, recognize their child’s important cues and behaviors, and gently create changes that promote and preserve his or her healthy sleep habits. 

West has appeared on the Dr. Phil, Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby  and CNN, and has been written about in a number of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Baby Talk,  Parenting, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, The Telegraph, The Irish Independent and the Washington Post. West hosts the sleep section of The Newborn Channel, played in maternity wards in hospitals across the country. West is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy with Joanne Kenen. She is also the author of 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies and The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook.

Kim received her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She lives with her family in Annapolis, Maryland.

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