Toddler Bed Trouble: How & When to Say Goodbye to the Crib

Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed is a significant milestone in your child's development, but it can also be fraught with challenges and concerns for parents. The timing of this transition, methods to ensure it's safe and smooth, and strategies to maintain healthy sleep habits are crucial elements to consider. So let’s talk about it. When is it appropriate to remove the sides of your child's crib? We will address the risks associated with toddlers climbing out of cribs, and offer practical advice on making the transition as seamless as possible. So you can rest easy.

When Should You Take the Sides Off Your Child’s Crib?

The decision to move your child from a crib to a toddler bed often stems from their physical development and behaviors. A clear sign is when your toddler begins attempting or succeeding in climbing out of their crib, which typically occurs around 18 to 24 months. This behavior not only signifies that they might be ready for more independence but also presents a fall hazard that can lead to injuries.

For me, my two older kiddos I switched to a toddler bed earlier than I planned, not because they were climbing out - but because I found lifting them in and out difficult when I was very pregnant with their sibling! Ultimately, you do what works for your family.

Safe Sleep Guidelines and Preventing Crib Climbing

To ensure your child's safety, adhere strictly to safe sleep guidelines. Using a sleep sack can be an effective strategy to prolong crib use while preventing climbing attempts. Sleep sacks restrict leg movement enough to make climbing difficult but still allow comfortable sleeping positions.

However, don't rush into switching your child directly into a twin-size bed if you decide it's time for them or they’ve outgrown the crib. A toddler bed, which sits lower to the ground and often comes equipped with built-in guard rails, is designed specifically for this transitional phase. Bonus: most cribs now a days come with the option to simply remove one side and convert to a toddler bed. This allows your child to feel a familiar space and security, while experiencing their new independence. Double bonus: they can keep using their favorite Sleepsaver Crib Sheet!

4 Tips for an Easier Transition

  1. Importance of Guard Rails: If you opt for a bed without built-in guard rails, consider using portable ones or even placing a pool noodle under the fitted sheet at the edge of the bed. These measures help prevent falls.
  2. Childproofing: Before making the switch, thoroughly childproof the bedroom. Secure furniture to walls and ensure there are no small objects within reach that could pose choking hazards.
  3. Use of Gro Clock: Tools like Gro Clocks can help teach children when it's time to get up by displaying fun visuals that indicate wake-up time.
  4. Involve Your Child: Letting your child pick out their new bedding can make them feel more excited about transitioning.

Adding bells on the door can provide added security by alerting you if your child tries leaving their room at night.

Consistency Is Key

Maintaining consistency and routine is paramount during this transition period away from the crib and into a toddler bed. Stick closely to established bedtime routines so your child feels secure amidst these changes.


Transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed is more than just moving furniture; it’s about ensuring safety, promoting independence, and maintaining healthy sleep habits through thoughtful strategies and preparations. By recognizing the signs that your toddler is ready for this change, implementing safety measures like guard rails, involving them in decisions like choosing new bedding, and maintaining consistency in their bedtime routine, you're setting up both you and your child for success during this developmental milestone.

Looking for more help? Let us know your questions down below!

Got some great parenting tips? How’d you make this transition work for your family? We’d love to hear about it, tell us in the comments!

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