Pillows, cribs, and the Great Escape

A post from Holly: “This may be a less serious question compared to other topics on this board, but it’s something I’ve wondered about but not found much written about — when and how do you introduce a pillow for sleeping? So far, my 26-month-old twins have shown no interest in climbing out of their cribs (and we aren’t going to move them to beds until they do), but I’m wondering if a pillow should be an initial step in learning how to sleep in a bed? And if so, what kind of pillow should I look for? Smaller than standard I’m assuming, but how small? And should it be more firm than soft for suffocation concerns?”

The safest thing to do is leave all pillows out of the crib. Leave out any sort of toy or stuffed animal or anything else that Junior can use to climb out.

It’s kind of a logic or problem-solving puzzle: picture yourself as a little person, 2 feet tall, locked up in a cell with no ceiling. The walls are vertical rails three feet high. You have in your cell only a mobile with little stuffed bears, a flat thin blanket, a surprisingly absorbent diaper, and a pillow. How do you get out? Imagine that you spend a lot of time in there, about 12 hours of each day. Sooner or later, many toddlers will figure out that you can fold up the pillow to make it taller, or wedge it in between the rails. Free at last! (As a bonus, if you’ve figured out how to get the diaper off, you can get out naked. Believe me, it has happened.)

So: safety first. Toddlers are resourceful, and you don’t want to make their escape easier. No pillows should be put in cribs, and nothing else that can be stacked or wedged to use as a ladder should be within your child’s reach.

If you’ve got a really clever kid, put some duct tape on the tabs of the diaper, too!

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