It is recommended that an infant be slept in the safe confines of a cot until they are observed to be attempting to climb out and look like they may succeed.
This usually occurs between 2 and 3 ½ years of age but may occur earlier.
An increasing number of infants and toddlers are experiencing injuries from falling out of cots and beds. This is due to parents/carers either not recognising the appropriate time to move an infant or young child out of a cot, or a baby or young child being placed too early in an adult-type bed
A young child no longer sleeping in the confines of a cot has greater access to other areas so it is important that the environment and room is safe from hazards such as uncovered power points, open windows, stairs, heaters, blind cords or any dangling objects such as electrical cords or mobiles, which may cause electrocution, entanglement or strangulation.
Ensure all furniture including TVs and bookshelves are attached with brackets, so they cannot be pulled over.
If the young child has been wearing a safe sleeping bag while in the cot, it is time to remove it when they transfer to a bed or mattress
Young children walking in a sleeping bag may trip and fall, and injure themselves.
In addition, keep the area free of objects which may cause suffocation such as soft toys or bean bags.
Bean bags, sofas, large cushions and air mattresses are not recommended as a safe surface for young children to sleep.
Although moving from a cot to bed is exciting, it can be unsettling for some children and it’s essential to be patient and supportive.
Other children may revel in their new found independence and will just get out of bed because they can! Help your child back into bed straight away and remind them it's time to sleep! You may have to do this several times before they settle!
This article was written by Cindy Davenport, Clinical Director, MCHN, RN, Safe Sleep Space