Securing the Escape Artist

Wildman’s grand escape

My toddler is a pretty good sleeper. Most days, he wants me to rock him until sleepy for naps. (Hey, I’m going to accept his cuddles for as long as he wants them! I know these days are numbered). For bedtime, he goes down awake for bedtime each night. We have a few rough nap days a month, but usually nothing too major.

A couple of months ago, on a particularly cranky day, Wildman JUST.WOULDN’T.NAP. I had a deadline to meet, so I put him in his crib and let him cry his banshee battle cry. I hate to do that, but sometimes, the kid just needs to release some frustration.

Within five minutes, he settled and I got to work. Not even two minutes later, I heard a huge THUD. I glanced at our Nest cam feed and didn’t see Wildman anywhere in his crib.

“He couldn’t possibly have gotten out, right? Those rails are high!” I thought to myself.

Then the screaming commenced. It was a scream I’ve never heard before – one of sheer panic. I ran to Wildman’s room to find him in a ball on the floor, sobbing. After checking for any injuries and consoling him, I setup a work station on my bed and let him nap from the safety of my pillow-lined bed.

There’s no way I was ready to put my then-21-month-old in a toddler bed. Especially not right before a new sibling arrived. I took to Facebook and the moms’ groups I’m part of for advice. What options did I have in terms of keeping my escape artist safe? I received a lot of support and some great responses that I want to share, in case you find yourself in a similar predicament:

  • Place your child in a footless Sleep Sack. If they can unzip it themselves, put it on backwards, so the zipper is in the back
  • Place the mattress on the floor to give your crib rails an extra couple of inches. Just make sure there isn’t any gap between the mattress and the bottom of the crib!
  • Turn the crib around, so the lower rail faces the wall
  • Sew a strip of fabric on the legs of his PJs, giving him enough slack to walk, but not raise his legs high enough to jump the rails. If you’re not into sewing, a quick search online found The NaughtyMonkey’s Etsy shop, which provides the PJs for you!

Our mattress couldn’t safely be placed on the floor, as there was a gap. With that in mind, we went the sleep sack route for a few weeks. I tested out naps without them, and it seems Wildman’s fall scared him so much, that he hasn’t attempted climbing out since.

How old was your little one on his or her first escape? How did you handle it?



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