Has the time come for you to transition your 2 ½ to 3 year old to a big bed? Are you going from the family bed or crib to a floor mattress in their room and you are looking for guidelines on how to set-up a safe toddler sleep environment? Here is a quick checklist to review before you launch sleep coaching your toddler to the new bed.
Safe Toddler Sleep Environment Check List:
- Consider a gate for the door. Not only does this keep the little one from going on an adventure during the night but it also helps to indicate the toddler your expectation of where they are to sleep.
- Take a detailed look at your child room, re-evaluate your childproofing. Do you need to secure the closet door or cover outlets? Is the dresser secured to the wall? Think of the room as a crib with the mindset that ultimately your toddler will be in there unsupervised and you can be certain your little one will be safe.
- If you are going to use a full sized bed off the floor, be sure to have bed rails to keep them from falling out of the bed.
- The location of the bed needs to be away from windows, radiators, blind cords, draperies, heaters and lamps. Make sure the headboard is flush against the wall and there is plenty of space on both sides of the bed, limit the risk of them getting stuck between the wall and the bed.
- Put a rug on floor around the bed to cushion a possible fall out of bed.
- Double check that you have not left any medications, cleaning products or other hazardous items (like diaper cream in the changing table drawer) in the room where they could access them.
- Consider if a nightlight would help or distract your toddler at night? If you are going to use a nightlight then one that is an amber color is best. Do not use a white or blue light as this can trigger the brain to think that it is daytime and will suppress the natural release of melatonin, which helps with the onset of sleep.
- Look into setting up a light to indicate that it is OK to start the day and get out of bed. I have had some families use holiday twinkle lights on a timer. They are set to turn on after 6 a.m. near the time when the toddler typically wakes. This is especially great when you are all finished with sleep coaching. If, in the middle of the night they have an awakening and they see the lights are not on, they roll over and go back to sleep. No need to call out to Mom and Dad to see if it is time to get up.
Maybe you came across this blog but you are really wondering if it is the right time to transition your little one to a big bed. If that is the case, check out my blog, The Big Question: When To Transition To The Toddler Bed?, for reasons to wait and reasons to transition to a toddler bed. Wishing you many nights of safe sweet sleep.
If you are looking for support on how to improve your baby’s sleep, twice a month Sleep Talking Tuesdays: FREE Q & A Sleep Support. On the Sugar Night Night calendar, you can find information when this Q & A will be offered next or you can request a 30-Minute phone consultation with Jen Varela.