So how old is too old for a crib? — The Bump
Toddlers: 24 Months+

So how old is too old for a crib?

DS will be 3 at the end of April.  He always said we would move him to a big boy bed when he started climbing out of the crib or at age 3.   Well, we're getting closer to his birthday and starting to think about big boy beds and I keep thinking...."Why are we moving him?".

He doesn't try to climb out, he LOVES his crib.  He naps well.  He goes to bed easily.  He STTN (11 hours).  Why are we going to mess with this? 

So am I missing out on some big reason we HAVE to move him, assuming he doesn't start climbing out of the crib, before he's 3?  I mean at some point I know we're going to have to do it.  We can't have a 3rd grader in a crib but at what point do we HAVE to do it?

Thoughts?

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Re: So how old is too old for a crib?

  • I am so glad you posted this!  I know, I came out of nowhere :) Its been forever since Ive been on here...

    My son was 2 October 1st and people keep asking why we havent moved him.  He doesnt climb and sleeps fabulously at night...Ive asked the same, "why would i?" I have friends who moved their kids at a year and half!  No climing or anything...

    Im curious to see the responses...

  • Honestly I don't see any reason to if he's happy and comfortable.  DD is still in her crib.  She's never once tried to climb out, goes to bed easily, sleeps well in it.  I'm not messing with a good thing until we absolutely have to!
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  • I'm right there with you!  My daughter is 26th months.  Seriously, I will not move her to a big girl bed until I HAVE to.  She sleeps well, naps well, etc.  She LOVES her crib.  I'm TTC right now and I think I would still buy two cribs if she was still sleeping well and she would be at least 3-years old.  I guess 4 is my cut off?!? 
  • I think somewhere between 3 and 4, he might start to notice that other friends have big kid beds and ask about it, or a friend coming over to play in his room might say something about it and start him thinking.  If he loves his crib and sleeps well in it, I think peer pressure could be the determining factor for moving him- or just getting too big to be comfortable!

    We ended up converting DD's crib to a toddler bed right after she turned 2 because of the climbing issue, but after a few nights of getting out of bed because she could, she was back to 11 hour nights of sleep.  It's never been an issue at all, so you never know what will happen when you do it.  A baby gate at the top of the stairs keeps her from being able to wander more than a few feet from her room at bedtime, so she can't keep coming down the stairs to look for us, which I think helps her settle down (along with the fact that it's dark and she can't see to play with toys).

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  • We are only moving DS to a twin bed because I didn't want to buy another crib.  Last night was the first try in the twin and he wanted nothing to do with it and slept in the crib. 

    Does your crib convert to a toddler bed?  That way it still would feel like he was in the crib. 


  • imageTheBub:

    We are only moving DS to a twin bed because I didn't want to buy another crib.  Last night was the first try in the twin and he wanted nothing to do with it and slept in the crib. 

    Does your crib convert to a toddler bed?  That way it still would feel like he was in the crib. 

    Yes, it is a convertable.  We bought it when we had #2 because he wasn't ready for a bed yet but we knew it wouldn't be too long before he was. 

    I'm torn because he may do GREAT in the bed...especially since it's just going to be the crib minus the railing but I'm skerred...very, very skerred.  Haha.

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  • I agree with the PP that said probably between 3 and 4 he'll notice that most of his friends don't have cribs any more.

    FWIW, DS is terrible with change.  We switched him at 26 months b/c we had no plans to buy a second crib and wanted him to have plenty of time to be used to a bed before DD arrived.  He LOVED his crib, so I was really worried.  It turned out to be a great success.  My brother actually slept in the twin bed first--he had come to visit, so DS was in the PNP in our room.  We talked up how Uncle B was a big boy and slept in a big bed, but that when he left DS would get to sleep in that big bed too, and wouldn't that be neat?  He ate it up.  We had very little trouble with keeping him in bed, and he only cried for his crib one night.

    ETA:  How did I never notice that your DS1 is only a few days older than mine?

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  • I turned DS's crib into a toddler bed right before Thanksgiving (DS was climbing out of his crib).  

    I would think that you would want to move DS to a toddler bed or twin bed at around age 3.  My DS notices that most of the kids in his books are in "Big Boy Beds," he refuses to sleep in the crib at my IL's and my parents since we have made the transition.  Also, all of his friends are using toddler beds now.

    There isn't a big reason to move your DS.  If he starts climbing out you will have to move him, or if he shows interest in sleeping in a "big boy bed" then you will likely want to make the change.  

    As for sleep, it has not been an issue.  The first week or so was tough, but it is not a big deal now.  We did have to do a version of cry it out, and we don't insist that he stay in his bed, just his room (part of the "big boy bed" is independence, so I don't see much point on trying to make him stay in his bed).  Since the bedrooms are all upstairs and he has to walk across a stairwell to get to our room and he can open doors, I have put a gate up at his door when he is sleeping to keep him in his room before he falls asleep and after he wakes from his nap.

     

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  • imageAgrippaRidesAgain:

    I agree with the PP that said probably between 3 and 4 he'll notice that most of his friends don't have cribs any more.

    FWIW, DS is terrible with change.  We switched him at 26 months b/c we had no plans to buy a second crib and wanted him to have plenty of time to be used to a bed before DD arrived.  He LOVED his crib, so I was really worried.  It turned out to be a great success.  My brother actually slept in the twin bed first--he had come to visit, so DS was in the PNP in our room.  We talked up how Uncle B was a big boy and slept in a big bed, but that when he left DS would get to sleep in that big bed too, and wouldn't that be neat?  He ate it up.  We had very little trouble with keeping him in bed, and he only cried for his crib one night.

    ETA:  How did I never notice that your DS1 is only a few days older than mine?

    I never noticed either! I also like his name (DS #2 is Conrad)!  I remember seeing it before I got pregnant again and knowing that was going to be the name if we ever had another boy.  It's a family name for us (actually, my maiden name).

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  • I don't think there's a magic age. If, as you say, your child sleeps well in his crib and still likes being there, why mess with a good thing? We made the switch when DD kept insisting on sleeping in a bed (and would end up sleeping in our bed). Other people I know made the switch thinking it would help with potty training (not sure about this one since most kids under a certain age still need help in the bathroom, especially in the middle of the night when they're sleepy) or because they had another child on the way, but not because their child had reached some particular age at which they thought a crib was inappropriate.
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  • We just put DD in a toddler bed a week ago -- she's 32 months.  She wasn't climbing out of her crib but in the last couple of months she'd been more and more interested in laying under covers (we used a sleep sack in her crib) and laying on pillows on the sofa or in our bed on weekend mornings. 

    I bought her a pillow pet a few days before the switch and put it in her crib.  When we put up the toddler bed, we moved over her pillow pet and she took to the new bed right away.  She loves having a "big girl bed."  I don't know if the pillow pet helped the transition all that much or not but she loves it regardless.

    image

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  • DS is still in the crib and like your DS, loves it and doesn't try to climb out.  However, recently, I noticed that due to his extreme height, when he stands, he is very high over the railing.  I have been imagining him standing up and leaning over and falling out.   So we will be moving him soon.  But if not for this safety issue, I wouldn't bother yet.

  • There are height/weight limitations for cribs. Look at your manual. I believe ours says 36 inches, but now that I am thinking about it, it may possibly say 36 inches or until they can climb out.

    We are just starting to think about switching DS to a big bed, he is almost 28 months. Part of me wants to wait and part of me wants to keep him in the crib. I figured we would switch him by March b/c in May he is in a wedding and we have to stay in a hotel, so he will be in a bed there (b/c the portable cribs in the hotel will be way too small). So, I want him used to being in a bed before May.

  • DD is 2.5 and is very happy in her crib.  She never tries to climb out.  However, we're having a baby in June and will need the crib shortly thereafter, so I'm thinking about getting her a bed this spring so the transition is not sudden and it wont' seem like that baby is taking her crib away from  her.  I've been talking it up and she seems very excited to have a big girl bed!  We'll see if she's as excited when the time comes!
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  • We moved DS to a full size bed when we moved. He was 19 months old but had co-slept with us as an infant so that might have helped. I don't think so though since it was so long ago. I always heard the if their nipples were at the rail, it was time to move them. His were already and we didn't want to move the crib.

    The bed is so much better than the crib so it's easier for us. We can get in bed with him and read as well as use the changing table for a bookshelf. Personally, I would think an older kid would have more issues with the change than a younger one. My mom never moved me from the crib until my brother and I shared a bed when I was four.  

  • Don't do it!  If there is no good reason TO do it and a ton of reasons not to, stick with what is working.  I assume when they are potty trained, they will need access to the bathroom, but I (personally) am in no rush for that either.  We are using a crib as long as it continues to work.  DD LOVES her crib - not sure why it would be reasonable to disrupt that at this point!
  • I definitely get it. My DD will also be 3 in April and is still in her crib. We also said we would transition around 3. That is still the plan for us. I think 3.5+ is getting too old for the crib but that isn't based on anything. My DD loves her crib and sleeps great so I am dreading the transition but I figure at some point it has to happen.

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  • Have you potty trained yet? That's the only reason you might want him in a big boy bed, so he can get out and go pee in the middle of the night without waking you. But a lot of people do pull-ups at night.

    Otherwise, leave him in the crib! It works. I would have left Oliver in there forever but he started climbing out last summer. 

  • when my son was 15 months we let him pick out his own big boy bed and blankets and he was so excited, he forgot all about his crib and we never had a problem. You could always try and if he doesn't like it, out in him back in the crib until he's ready.
  • I moved my DD over new year's eve night (she is 21 months). I wanted to move her before she got used to her crib - she wasn't climbing out, but I didn't want to reach the point where she would try. I figured, I'd be awake on NYE night anyway, so if she did have an issue with it, we could just change the crib back (it's convertible).

    The transition went fine, and I really worked myself up about it for nothing. DD has slept through the night since the very beginning and this change did not disrupt her sleep. I just felt it was the right time, and did it. Every kid is different. 

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  • DS is still in his crib and I have no plans to move him anytime soon. He hasn't tried climbing out, and we haven't started potty training. I don't think there is a magic number for when to move your toddler to a big bed.  We've done everything on his own time, I haven't had to "force" him to do anything, for example before thanksgiving he just gave up his paci on his own.  I never once had to comfort him over it being gone, he was just ready to let go. We did the same with the bottle, and sleep sack. I think once he can understand the importance of staying in bed all night and not getting out then we will try that.  I know if we changed right now he would be out of his bed in a second pounding on the door or getting into his clothes.
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