Little Escapee: What to Do When Your Baby Keeps Fleeing His Cribby Dianna Graveman | April 23, 2012
Sooner or later, most babies are going to escape the crib--literally. If a new sibling is born before your child reaches 16 or 18 months, you may make the choice to move your child to a regular bed before he or she learns to escape. But usually, the child is the one to make the move on his own, whether or not his parents are ready!
In fact, crib escapes are so common that parents have taken to videotaping their children attempting to flee and posting them on YouTube and in other places. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres plays videos of funny baby escapes on her show. In March, the Huffington Post posted videos of "10 Daring Baby Escapes".
Some babies are more content to stay in confined areas for a longer period of time. As long as there is something interesting to look at or touch or play with, they won't make their move for some time. Others will attempt an escape before they are old enough to safely do so--sometimes falling from over the railing and scaring both themselves and their parents. If this happens to you, or if you suspect your little one is on the verge of giving it a try, start making a plan to keep your baby safe.
You have tow basic choices: Find ways to prevent your child from escaping the crib, or help your child make the move to a regular bed.
A crib tent that zips can be purchased and attached to the crib. The mesh tent will keep a younger baby in, but older precocious babies are likely to figure out the zipper and escape anyway. And there have been occasional accidents reported with toddlers who attempt an escape from a tented crib and become tangled in the mesh.
If your child is falling from the crib or in any way putting himself at risk by consistently attempting to escape, you may wish to make the transition to a regular bed.
Making the move to a regular bed
Before moving your child to a regular bed, probably between the ages of 18 months and 2 1/2 years, you may want to transition her to a new sleeping environment by putting the crib mattress or another mattress on the floor. Later, you can move to a toddler bed with rails to prevent a fall. Of course, you will now have to be concerned that your child will leave her bedroom and wander the house while you are asleep. Continue to use a baby monitor to listen for your child moving about. You may also consider hanging a loud ringing bell on your child's bedroom doorknob, as an "alarm" to alert you if she leaves her room. Set your own alarm to be sure and wake early, based on the sleep patterns of your child.
When making this transition, double-check your child's bedroom and the rest of the home to make sure you have baby-proofed everything, in the event your child does escape his room unnoticed for a few moments. Place a baby gate across any area where it may be unsafe for your child to wander at night. You may wish to place the baby gate right at your child's bedroom door, or allow only a path between his bedroom and yours. It is extremely important that you use a gate to keep your child from entering the kitchen, bathroom, or the entrance to any flight of stairs. Anyplace where your child could fall or have access to water or sharp objects must be gated off. Experts warn that is not advisable to lock your child's bedroom door. Not only will this frighten your child unnecessarily, but it could be a hazard in rescuing your child in case of a fire.
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