Help! I have a Climber! – Transitioning Out of the Crib in the Metro Phoenix Area

We have those explorers who can master the skills to climb out of their cribs. Those little magicians who surprise us all by their flexibility and Spiderman-like qualities. Yes, safety is a huge concern, but don’t panic. There are some things we can do.

How do I transition my child to a bed from a crib.

1. Is your mattress set on the lowest level?

We need to move the mattress frame down to the lowest setting your manufacturer has created. You might hear of discussions about taking out the metal frame and placing the mattress directly on the floor, but this is NOT recommended. Some cribs have extra space or gaps at the base that a small child could get an arm or leg stuck into – so for safety, follow the manufacture settings exactly.

2. Remove any additional items they are using as a step up.

This might be a crib bumper pad, stuffed toys, blankets, etc. Whatever it may be that is giving them the extra lift – get it out of their sleep space.

3. Use a sleep sack!

These are great tools to use as a sleep cue and help with temperature regulation. They also help to make climbing more challenging as those ‘sticky’ feet have more difficulty grabbing the rails and mobility is more limited.

4. Look carefully at your crib.

Do you have a high back rail? If your crib has a front side that is lower and a back side that is higher, turn it around. Face the lower rail towards the wall and the higher side outward. This may give you the few extra inches you need to discourage those climbing attempts.

5. Think about a visual cue.

Our toddlers are growing up, but time is still a complicated concept to understand. When can I get out of bed? Adding a toddler clock to their room that changes colors at wake up or a digital clock next to a poster with their wake up time written down, will give them a visual sign that nap time is over or that morning has arrived.

6. Communicate.

Establish rules and let your little one know what is expected during sleep time. Watch them on a monitor and when the climbing begins, immediately go in calmly and quietly to lay them back down. Repetition may be needed but with clear expectations, climbing can be eliminated.



Within a few days, the novelty of discovering how to climb out of a crib will usually subside. If however this continues and safety is a major concern, we may be ready to look at transitioning out of a crib.

Check out the next steps about When and How to transition.