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When Should I Move My Toddler Out of His Crib?

The best time to move a toddler into new sleeping arrangements depends on factors including temperament, height and life situations, with safety being a prime consideration.
Some parents switch from a crib to a toddler bed when the child is 2 years old.
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  • Written By: Jennifer Burger
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2014
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There is not a specific age at which every toddler should be moved from his or her crib and into a new sleeping arrangement. The best time to do this depends on factors such as temperament, height, and life situations, which vary from child to child. As a general rule, most parents make the switch when their little one is around 18 months to two years old.

Safety should be the first concern when deciding whether to move a toddler out of his crib. If the child is climbing out or trying to climb out of the crib, it's probably time to transition into a toddler bed. A fall from that height can be dangerous. Climbing out is a big sign of readiness that usually occurs before two years of age. Some toddlers never try to get out of their cribs on their own, however. In this case, it is recommended that they switch to a bed by the time they reach a height of 3 feet (91 cm).

Another reason why some parents move their child to a toddler bed is to free up the crib for a new baby. This works best if the transition is started a few months before the baby is due to arrive. Otherwise, the situation could foster jealousy and resentment for a new little brother or sister. It's usually not a good idea to emphasize that the toddler is giving up the crib in order to give it to the baby.

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It's also best to make this transition at a time when no other major changes are occurring in the child's life. Most toddlers have slept in the same crib since shortly after birth. It has been a constant in their lives and thus a sign of security and comfort. Moving into a toddler bed is a developmental milestone that can be difficult. It may be overwhelming for a child to make this change when other stressful or uncertain situations are also happening, such as switching childcare providers, adding a new member to the family, or starting potty training.

There are some things that parents can do to make the process of switching to a toddler bed easier. One idea is to set up the bed in the room ahead of time so the child can get used to it before being expected to sleep in it. Talk to the toddler about why it's there. It also helps if a bedtime routine is already in place. The keys to a smooth transition are timing and planning ahead.

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lmorales
Post 5

@leiliahrune - Convertible cribs are the best for that! I'm assuming you had one since you were able to switch back and forth without much issue it sounds like. It really helps when your child has an older sibling to look up to for an example. We bought bunk beds, too, and our sons loved them right up until about high school - go figure.

leiliahrune
Post 4

@wecallherana - I think a lot of new parents get sucked into that whole crib bumper thing. It really is not necessary. There are so many things I could say about that, but I will get back on the subject of moving to a toddler bed.

Our first child was a little bit of a pain and kept getting out of the toddler bed so we figured it was too soon. Eventually she got it, though. My other daughter, though, took to it very well and I think that has something to do with the fact that we bought bunk beds for the kids and she and her big sister were super excited.

wecallherana
Post 3

@doppler - I agree. We moved the mattress down as soon as our child could sit up - for both children. We also saw no need for crib bedding such as the bumpers and such. In fact, when your child is little you really don't want to have all of that mess in there as they are choking and suffocation hazards.

doppler
Post 2

They say that as soon as your baby starts sitting and pulling up, it's time to move the crib mattress to its lowest position. This is very important because once your child is able to pull up on the side of the crib, you run the risk of them falling out - even if they are not old enough to start trying to climb out yet.

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