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When Baby Escapes the Crib While on Vacation

Photograph by Flickr, Cody Long

Knock, knock, knock. What in the world? It’s 6 a.m., I thought. Knock, knock, knock. Just go play honey! I thought I was telling my 4-year-old son. Instead my mom walked in the room with my 2-year-old son in her arms. I did a double take. Wasn’t he sleeping in the bathroom adjacent to our room still? The door was closed. Our bedroom door was closed. And then it dawned on me. My son had just climbed out of his crib.

At home your child climbing out of their crib is a pain in the butt. Now you have to be extra aware of where they are, so they aren’t wandering by themselves at night or in the wee hours of the morning. This is a whole new level of sleep training you are about to enter.

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Let’s just say that when it happens on vacation it is doubly fun. You don’t have the “big boy” bed ready for your kid to move to when you are in a rental house or a hotel. You have that portable crib you just lugged across the country. I knew my son couldn’t hurt himself getting out of our portable crib, but I was worried that he was already perfecting his ninja skills by closing the door to the bathroom and bedroom so he could wander the cabin we were renting. We were situated right in front of a lake. If he got out the door he could wander to the water and drown. These are the thoughts that keep parents up at night people!

Baby-proofing your surroundings

The whole family went into active baby-proofing mode. We made sure all of the doors were locked at night before anyone went to bed, especially the deadbolts and locks too high for him to reach. This took care of the baby wandering outside. My husband and I also built multiple barriers to stop our son from getting out of the room without our knowledge. If he wanted to get out, he would have to make enough noise to wake us up by moving shoes, laundry baskets, chairs and trashcans. It wasn’t a foolproof setup for our budding ninja, but it was the best we could do.

Each night it got more entertaining (for him) to climb out of the crib.

Crib or bed?

We had the room figured out, but now we had to figure out the bed. How could we keep him in there? Should we move him to the floor in our room? No, he just wasn’t ready. Have him sleep in a bed with his brother? No, they would play all night. Sleep in a bed with us? No, he’s a mover and a shaker in his sleep and it was a tiny double bed. Three of us would not fit.

We let him continue to sleep in his crib. We knew once he was asleep he would be fine in there, we just had to remind him several times to stay put. Each night it got more entertaining (for him) to climb out of the crib, while for us it got more aggravating. Keeping him in the crib solved the problem for the short term, but as soon as we got home he moved into his bigger bed. We knew the day was coming as he was already showing signs of trying to get out of his crib at home, so we had it all ready.

Getting used to a new bed

He had a few days to get used to his new bed before we took off on another trip. This was slightly closer to home, but still required beds and two nights in a hotel. Thanks to a pull-out couch, roll away bed and a queen-sized bed, my whole family fit nicely into a small one-bedroom suite. We put the baby in the rollaway bed with pillows around the floor in case he fell out (he did. Twice.) and had to remind him several times to stay in bed. Thankfully we were doing a lot of exploring in a short amount of time, so he was tuckered out by the end of the day. After a few simple reminders that he had to stay in bed, he did.

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I know this isn’t the case with every kid, but we got lucky he was so tired. At home we still deal with him popping out of bed, but he just comes to see us and say hi these days. He’ll settle in soon just like his big brother. I just have to be prepared for lots of pokes in the face in the middle of the night when he decides to say hello.

Have you had to transition to a big bed with your baby while traveling? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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