Tackling Toddler Sleep Problems (cont.)

Sound sleep solution: "Safety is the first thing to look out for in these situations," Zafarlotfi says. "Make sure the crib or bed is as safe as it can be so children can't hurt themselves." Line the crib or wall by the bed with pillows so he or she doesn't hurt their head, for example. "If this continues to the point that the child is disturbed, see a sleep specialist for a sleep study," she says. There are many potential causes of this toddler sleep disorder. "It may be a psychological issue, it may be something that they will outgrow, or maybe they are having seizures while they sleep." Depending on the cause and the severity, medication may be in order.

Nocturnal nuisance: My toddler keeps trying to climb out of his crib and leave his room.

Sound sleep solution: "It may be time for a toddler bed," says Zafarlotfi. "If your child is really trying to climb out, they can end up hurting themselves so you have no choice." This switch can be done in several ways. "Some parents make a big fuss and buy a huge bed, but some parents just buy the bed, place it in the child's room and ask the child whether they want to sleep in the bed or crib."

If your toddler won't stay in his or her bed, "get a safety gate by the door that is too high to climb over and one that they can't crawl under and catch their neck, Zafarlotfi says.


Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director, Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders, Hackensack University Medical Center, N.J.

Mary Michaeleen Cradock, PhD, clinical psychologist, St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Rafael Pelayo, MD, associate professor of sleep medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine; sleep specialist, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto, Calif.

Reviewed on April 21, 2009

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Last Editorial Review: 4/21/2009 6:02:22 PM