Of all the things scary things that go bump in the night, nothing is quite as bone chilling as the sound of your toddler sticking the landing as he propels himself out of the crib at 2AM.  It’s an inevitable moment some (not all!) parents face—but is there a way to prevent it? Perhaps not entirely, but with a little preparation and knowing the signs to look for, the major panic moments could be avoided.  For expert tips on how to safely support (or delay) the great crib-to-bed transition, we tapped Joseph Shamie, President of Delta Children.  Here’s the rundown: 

At what age do children typically begin to get curious/bold about climbing out of the crib? Children may begin exploring ways to climb out of their crib after they are able to stand comfortably. It varies completely depending on your child, but this may occur as early as 12 months up until they are ready to transition to a bed.

If a parent is not ready to transition their child out of the crib but the child has started climbing, what are some tips to get them to stay put and stay safe?  

Lower the mattress height on your crib to the lowest setting. This will make it much harder for younger children to climb out of the crib.

Make sure all other furniture in the room is at least 3 feet away from the crib. This will ensure that children can’t use the furniture to help pull themselves out of the crib and also avoids the risk of them getting trapped between the crib and other furniture if they are able to get out.

Clear the crib. Make sure there are no pillows, toys or other items in the crib that your child may use as a step to help hoist themselves up.

Add a baby gate. That way, if your child is able to escape from their crib, they won’t be able to leave their room. This also may discourage them from trying to get out of the crib in the future.

Keep the safety measures safe. Parents should never use crib tents or other restraints, since children risk getting caught and suffocating.

Is there a way to “know” that it’s time to transition to a bed?  Every child is different, so this depends on how active and curious your child is. If your child is regularly climbing out of the crib and is over 35 inches tall, it might be time for them to transition to a bed. However, if your child is sleeping through the night in their crib and isn’t trying to climb out, you can keep them there for as long as you feel comfortable as a parent.

What are some tips to effectively and safely transition a child? 

Go for a toddler bed before a larger sized bed. Toddler beds are very low to the ground and use the same size mattress as a crib. They also feature guardrails on both sides to prevent children from falling out. All Delta Children cribs transition seamlessly into a toddler bed, which makes it an easy first step!

Get ‘em excited. Choose a bed that your child will be excited to sleep in (and stay in)! Whether it’s a character from their favorite show or the race car bed they’ve been dreaming about, it’s easier to get your child to stay put in bed if they are excited to be there. You can check out our selection of awesome toddler beds here. 

Know your new reality.  It’s important to consider that once they’re out of the crib, it will be easy for your toddler to get up and roam around at night. Make sure that stairs are gated off, window guards are used on windows and you take all other precautions to toddler-proof your house. For more tips and tricks on keeping your house safe for toddlers, click here.