Babies & ToddlersKids

Help: My toddler’s climbing out of his cot!

Did you know that cot-related injuries occur every year among children aged two years and younger? Here's how to keep your toddler safe...

If you’ve been woken in the dead of night by the sound of little footsteps running down the corridor, you’re not alone! Welcome to the “cot climbing club”!

Most children move to a bed at some point between 18 months and three years. However, if your toddler isn’t quite ready for a big bed yet, but keeps climbing out of his cot, here are some suggestions that might work in the interim.

Mistakes parents make when their toddlers turn into cot-climbers

  1. Not addressing the climbing out as a problem early enough. Address it the first time, with a negative response, making sure your toddler knows that climbing out of the cot is not acceptable behaviour.
  2. Moving their children to a big boy or girl bed. While this seems to be the obvious choice, your child should actually stay in a cot as long as possible, and it’s preferable that he or she is not moved into a bigger bed before around two-and-a-half years.
Good to know: Toddlers are most likely to fall out of the crib when the mattress is raised too high for their height, or not lowered properly as they grow. 

If you have a consistent, persistent climber…

  • Remove all the toys, blankets, and bumpers that he or she can possibly step on to gain leverage.
  • Try to watch how your toddler gets out of the crib. Are they holding on to something? Climbing onto something? Once you’ve figured it out, remove the troublesome object.
  • Get a sleepy sack! It makes them a little less mobile.
  • Move the cot or crib away from the wall.

Should all else fail…

  1. Make it safe for your climber so that if they do fall, they don’t hurt themselves. But, keep putting your toddler back into the cot. Soon he will learn that climbing out serves no purpose.
  2. Stay next to the cot if your child can hurt themselves and go into “robot mode”: Continue to say: “No climbing, it’s sleepy time” in a stern, calm voice and then move your chair further and further away (remember that this will take some time! They won’t understand that they need to stop their behaviour in one day).
  3. Most importantly, be consistent! Don’t change the sleep rules just because he or she has figured out their way to freedom.
  4. If nothing works, safety-proof the room and get a gate for the door.
  5. Remember, no one said that toddlers were easy, but try to remain inwardly proud of your little explorer while laying down the ground rules!.


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