How will I know my child is ready to sleep in a toddler bed? Sleep

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Sometimes, the decision to move a toddler out of a crib and into a "big kid" bed is simple. Other times, not so much. Here's what a pediatrician and other moms say may be the deciding factor.

Safety Is the Biggest Factor

"A crib is really a very safe place for a child, so you don’t have [a] 'rogue operator' in your house at night. You can use it as long as it's safe for your child to be in the crib. In other words, once your child is very successful at scaling the walls, you don't want that to go poorly, where they might sustain an injury. Where is that critical point where the child is more likely to injure himself if he stays in [a] crib? I know people whose kids were out the of crib by 2 and others who...

"A crib is really a very safe place for a child, so you don’t have [a] 'rogue operator' in your house at night. You can use it as long as it's safe for your child to be in the crib. In other words, once your child is very successful at scaling the walls, you don't want that to go poorly, where they might sustain an injury. Where is that critical point where the child is more likely to injure himself if he stays in [a] crib? I know people whose kids were out the of crib by 2 and others who at 3½ were happy as a clam in a crib. It really is a wide range that depends on the child. If they’re happy and sleeping safely in a crib, there's no need to accelerate that process of change." -- Christina Johns, MD, MEd, FAAP, senior medical advisor, PM Pediatrics, Lake Success, NY

When You've Got a Climber

"With my first, it was when she outgrew her crib at 3. She showed no interest in moving to a toddler bed. With my second, when she started climbing out every time I put her in it. The first time she climbed out, she was 6 months old. Eventually we had to transition her into a toddler bed. She actually went to one before her older sister! Each kid is different!"

Making Way for a New Baby

"We transitioned when my oldest was going to be a big sister at age 2. When she saw the toddler bed, she wanted it and never looked back."

Consider Waiting It Out

"My daughter started being able to climb out of her crib around 18 months, so we dropped the mattress very low and never had a problem since. She is now about to turn 3 in a few weeks and is still sleeping in her crib with ease. And mommy and daddy still have their sanity."

When Potty Training

"We introduced the toddler bed when we started potty training, so our kids could let us know they when they had to go or get to the potty themselves at night."

They May Show Signs of Readiness

"We got him a bed when he asked for one. It made him feel like a big boy and made bedtimes easier because he was excited."

There's No Rush

"Honestly, I will keep them in their cribs as long as possible. My oldest used to sleep through the night no problem but now that she's in a bed, she's up at least twice asking me to fix her blankets or come cuddle her again."

When You're Ready

"My first stayed in a crib until 3½ years old. Why take her out if she sleeps well and feels safe? I didn't do it until I was ready."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.