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Moving to the “Big Bed”

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

I received an email and phone call as I was leaving work the other day from a “frantic” young mother whose son had crawled out of the crib and had injured his arm.  This was not a 12-15 month old toddler but a 2 ½ year old, who loved his crib, and therefore had not been moved to a “big boy bed”.

There are many reports of injuries from “toddlers” crawling out of their crib, although most of the time the child who falls out of their crib is not injured. But, there are reports of injuries such as fractures of the forearm, or the clavicle or even of the humerus from children who climb out of their cribs. Of course toddlers and 2 year olds think they are invincible and that they can fly just like a super hero.

Many children are more than content to stay in a crib and never venture out until parents just decide that it is ultimately time to get their child out of the crib. Sometimes it may be out of necessity, as a new baby is due.

I am not a big believer of buying more than one crib unless you are having twins etc.  (My frugal side I guess).  Although it is nice to have your child “behind bars” in their cribs, many a child can easily be moved to a “big bed” and never dream of getting out of that bed either. That was the case with one of my boys, when we moved him to the “big boy bed” we were convinced he was the type of child who would get up and come walking down the hall for a visit. Quite to the contrary, he would awaken in the morning and call out to us, “Mommy, I am up, come get me!”  I swear, it was as if he had a moat with sharks circling his bed, he just never realized that he could just put his cute little 2 year old feet on the floor and head out!!  He was inquisitive about everything else, so go figure.  Children will always surprise you.

I like to move a child out of their crib several months before a new baby is due so that the transition is easy and complete before the new sibling arrives.  That way the big brother or sister does not feel as if their new baby sibling has displaced them and they are proud of being the big kid in their own big bed.

The bedtime routine should not change as you move a child from crib to bed either. When I moved our sons to a big bed I just pushed the bed up against the wall and used one of the railings that fits under the mattress to keep them from rolling out.

If your child does pitter pat down the hall after they have been put to bed, just walk them right back to bed, tuck them back in and re-iterate that they need to stay in their bed. That works for the majority of kids, but for those that persist in getting up, you may need to be a little more creative in ways to reward them for staying in bed.

Once you have moved the older child out of the crib (in anticipation of new sibling), I would close the door to the nursery, or move the crib out of sight (and mind) for several months before beginning preparations for the newest arrival. Now, the older child will be excited to help get ready for the baby, and at the same time they do not feel like they were moved right out of the crib and the new baby plops right down in “their crib”.  This helps make the entire transition to bringing home a new baby easier for everyone.

The cute toddler who fell out of the bed, did succeed in breaking both bones in his wrist, but happily only required a splint.  The funniest thing is, he is back in his crib, with a crib tent on top!! I think he is ready for a big bed, but……..we will leave that up to his Mom.

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.

Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!

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