Toddlers who climb out of the cot

The first time your toddler climbs out of their cot can be really terrifying. Safety is paramount and it should never be ignored. Before you rush into buying a bed, there are a few things you can try first.

I am not a huge advocate for transferring toddlers immediately to a bed because many children under the age of 2.5years are not ready to understand the rules of being in a bed. There is always a honeymoon period whereby toddlers stay in bed, but before long your toddler has free roam of the house and that can be a bigger safety issue than climbing out of their cot.

If your toddler climbs out of their cot or attempts to climb out, here are a few tips and tricks to try:

1)    Find a sleeping bag that has limited legroom. This restricts access to your child being able to lift their leg and climb out.

2)    Lower the mattress. Some cots have a variety of height levels for the mattress. Make sure it is at the lowest level making it higher and harder to climb out.

3)    Remove any pillows, blankets or toys that can be used as leverage to get out. This may also include a dresser or drawers that butt up to the cot.

4)    Some cots are designed to have one side that is higher than the other. This side is usually pushed up against the wall. If you have this style of cot, turn it around so the outer side is higher making it more difficult to climb.


So you have tried all these things and your toddler is still climbing. This is what to try next:

1)    If you have a video monitor, every time your toddler attempts to climb out, either say “no” over the monitor or go into the room and say “no”. You may need to do this over and over again. Do not get into a long conversation about why they need to stay there. Simply “no” or “no climbing” and that is it.

2)    If you do not have a video monitor, keep the door ajar so you can still see your toddler. Every time they attempt to climb out, go into the room and say “no”. Again you may need to do this over and over again.

3)    If you are worried that your toddler may climb out once you are asleep, then make sure they have a safe landing. Many climbers can actually do it very safely. I recommend placing a mattress on the floor so they are not hurt if they do make it out of the cot.


If your toddler does manage to “escape” always walk them back, place them back into the cot and say, “no climbing”. Again you may need to repeat this over and over again. You need to be patient, calm and persevere.


It can be tempting to pack away the cot and buy a bed, but trust me, I have worked with many parents who find themselves with a toddler always hopping out of bed and either crawling into their bed or turning on the television at some crazy hour of the night. It can be even more dangerous if you have stairs or outside doors that can open easily. It is much harder to keep a toddler contained once they are in a bed.

If you have tried all these tips and tricks and you are still finding your toddler is climbing out, contact me for a FREE 15min consultation. Visit

Janelle Jeffery Child Sleep Consultant for Sleepytime and Child Behaviour Specialist.
Janelle Jeffery
Child Sleep Consultant for Sleepytime and Child Behaviour Specialist. 


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