Preventing Crib Escape

Mouse is now 23 months old and has recently demonstrated his great prowess in being able to escape the Pack n Play (first), and now the crib. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this turn of events.

After scouring the internet for suggestions for this problem, I really only came up with two solutions people kept saying over and over. 1) A crib tent, or 2) ditching the crib and moving to a toddler bed. Both of these are problematic for us.

Aden and Anais Sleeping Bag

Our gorgeous crib has a funky shape and as such, does not fit any available crib tent. Additionally, when we are up at the cabin, Mouse has to sleep in the Pack n Play, and they don’t make a crib tent for a Pack n Play (well, they did, but it was recalled due to tragedy).

I’m very hesitant about moving to the toddler bed for a couple of reasons. One, I’m paranoid and I don’t like the idea of him having free range in a room where I cannot see him or at least be close by or at least be awake when said free ranging is taking place. It’s not that his room is a dangerous place, per se, but I worry about things like him deciding to gnaw on the power cord that goes to his music player, or exploring the glorious contents of the diaper pail, or simply pulling everything off his many shelves. The problem is also compounded by the fact that a toddler bed is not an option at the cabin due to the configuration and nature of the room in which he sleeps, so he’s still stuck in the Pack n Play up there.

We did have a brief period between when he discovered he could escape the Pack n Play but hadn’t figured out the crib yet, so I had a short time to think. I studied his escape method closely. He would hike a leg up onto the side, sort of push off with his other foot while pulling with his hands, and then just shift his weight until he rolled over the side. It finally occurred to me that if I could prevent him from hiking his leg up, he wouldn’t be able to get out. A-HA!

We went back to our trusty sleep sacks. Like many parents, we had used sleep sacks to keep him warm rather than blankets for well over a year. When he outgrew our largest size, we felt comfortable putting him down with just his blankie and warm PJ’s (plus we live in Southern California). But the sleep sack did an excellent job of containing his feet, and while he had some wiggle room to shuffle around in, there was no way he would be able to lift his leg up that high and get out.

Locking diaper pins

Our problem, for now, is solved. Well that one, anyway. We did encounter two other problems: 1) finding a sleep sack big enough for our 32-pound, well-over-33″ chunkster, and 2) preventing him from unzipping it. For problem 1, I turned to Aden and Anais Sleeping Bags. I absolutely love these muslin sleep sacks. They are light and breathable, which is so nice in the summer, and ours have held up so well. Plus they come in an XL, which is supposed to go up to 36 pounds. It fits well for now, and I do think it’s going to buy us enough time to get him successfully transferred to a toddler bed (and well-protected twin at the cabin).

The A+A sleeping bags zip at the bottom, so I solved the second problem with a locking diaper pin. I was nervous that he could undo a regular safety pin, but locking diaper pins are much more difficult for little hands to figure out. The head of the pin slides open and shut, and you have to slide it out and then unfasten the pin to get it open. Again, it’s all about buying more time.

The sleep sack solution won’t work for every child, of course, but if you’re facing the same issue, that’s what works for me!

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7 Responses

  1. Aww Scriv, you have me in stitches. Scooby scaled the crib yesterday, so I know your concerns. And thank you for pointing out how they might gnaw on the power cords. I hadn’t thought of that fear. Bear in mind, Scooby burned his finger on the light bulb of his bedroom lamp. Nap time was interesting today. After 2 escapes, I had to lay down in the twin next to his crib to make sure he stayed in his crib (as he wouldn’t sleep with me in the twin). He eventually nodded off. It just puts a whole new spin on child proofing one’s home. Our blockades and barricades are a joke now. He can take off the the child-proof door knob thingies. He climbs everywhere and drags chairs around the house to use as his personal ladder. Good luck!

  2. Our friends use the same sleep sack AND the locking diaper pins otherwise their daughter will strip down naked every night!

    Kids… 🙂

  3. Excellent solution! Goose has been hiking her leg up on the crib but thankfully is still too short to get any leverage. I’ll keep this in mind.

  4. I don’t get it. I don’t mean to be rude or critical; I just really don’t understand why you think disabling your child (in a gentle and temporary way!) is better than supervising him, or why he would be awake when you’re not. My son is almost 6, so I’ve been through the toddler stage. We never had a crib. I’d nurse him to sleep on a low full-size bed and leave him there sleeping. When he woke, if he found himself alone he’d climb off the bed and come looking for me or Daddy. He never bit a power cord or got into the diaper pail. He did like to take things off shelves, but finding companionship always came first. Maybe it’s just his personality…but I still can’t imagine expecting an awake toddler to stay alone while you sleep; that’s an assumption that might be worth questioning before he outgrows the sleep sack.

  5. All children certainly are different. Like many toddlers, Mouse is very curious and inquisitive. He loves to take things apart and put them back together to figure out how they work, and is constantly trying to find ways to explore new things in his environment. Most toddlers do awake in the middle of the night from time to time. If Mouse could get out of his room and check things out on the way to our bedroom, he definitely would do so. The nice thing about secure attachment is that it allows him to be very independent, as he never has to check and make sure we’re still around or need extra comfort and assurance. He always knows that we are available whenever he needs us and gets plenty of love and attention during the day, so he doesn’t need to seek us out specifically. Given the choice between exploring the house and being with us, with his feeling of security, he’d choose to explore the house every time. He has already learned how to defeat some of the safety devices we have installed and I have little doubt that with his natural sense of curiousity and desire to disassemble and investigate everything in sight, he would eventually figure the rest out too. Perhaps some children have a personality that would lead them to seek out reassurance from Mom and Dad before exploring their environment, but he’s not one of them. Keeping him in his crib is more for safety than any other reason. Since most children wake at night and I know he wouldn’t come straight to us, it just makes sense to keep him where I know he is safe. All children are different though.

  6. Sounds like it is indeed a difference in personality, but I don’t think it’s a difference in attachment. My son was never insecure or anxious, just social; he likes to have someone nearby at all times for companionship, not for reassurance or approval.

    I guess I hadn’t thought about middle-of-the-night wakings as a time when you’d be asleep while he’s awake because my son stopped waking except for need fulfillment (nursing, bathroom, drink of water) within his first few months. I haven’t heard other parents say their toddlers get up in the night and stay up without waking them, but it doesn’t sound all that strange, just something you’re going to have to keep tabs on. How about a baby monitor or bells on his door or something to wake you when he gets up, once he outgrows that sack?

  7. I’m late to the game here, but as a mom of 4, I find Becca’s remarks hilarious. There are PLENTY of times that my 17 month old is awake and not PERSONALLY supervised by me: like when one of my other children needs my FULL, undivided attention. And that happens. A lot. At those times, I need the baby to be safe, happy, and secure. If she wakes up from her nap before I’m done helping my learning-disabled second-grader finish his homework, the baby may need to stay in her crib or playpen and play with toys or board books. Now that she has learned the leg-hike method of getting out of the playpen, I may be digging out the sleep sack once again. Thank you, Scriv for the suggestion, and for the record, I think it’s a great solution to a very real dilemma that any mother of more than one child can relate to.

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