November 17, 2007
by Don VanPelt
Until they are old enough to climb up on their own, babies need to sleep in cribs. The rails not only keep them from falling out, but allow them some practice pulling themselves up and standing. You will know when your child is ready to transition from the crib to a bed. Experts recommend keeping a baby in a crib until they are two or three years of age. Some children may be ready earlier. If they are frequently climbing out of the crib, this could be dangerous and hasten the necessity to move to a bed.
When you and your child are ready to make the transition, you can make it a positive experience. Telling your child that "big kids" sleep in "big beds" can often be motivating and rewarding for the child. Reassure your child that he or she will be safe and secure in their new bed, that they no longer need to sleep in the crib.
Toddler beds make a nice intermediate transition for many children. This type of bed combines features of both a crib and a bed, which may make your child more comfortable as he or she adjusts to the change. Toddler beds are generally lower to the ground, lessening the risk of injury from falling out while increasing the child's independence, since they can climb in without help. Another advantage is that toddler beds use a crib mattress and sheets, so the initial expense may be less as well.
If your child is in his own room, using a baby monitor may lessen any anxiety you may have about their safety or comfort. If your child begins to cry or anything else happens, you will immediately know and be able to promptly respond. Be sure to not place any heavy objects near your child's bed that he or she could accidentally reach. Also, place the bed away from windows or any furniture your child can climb to keep them safe.