How we got our baby's leg out of the crib slat (again and again and again)

OK, so I guess he's technically not my "baby" anymore. Judging by his full-blown tantrums, insatiable appetite and the current "18-month-old sleep regression" we've entered, I've got a toddler on my hands.

Another fun thing he's been doing for the last month and a half? Oh you know, just shoving his chunky thighs through his crib slat EVERY chance he gets. Yeah, we're not talking about "oh, he accidentally rolled over in his deep sleep and got tangled," no, we're dealing with a "purposely shoving his leg through there and then wailing when, SURPRISE, his sweet toddler thunder thighs won't come back out." 

Sigh. I think this boy is going to give me grey hair. 

You'll be even more amused to know that crib slats are not the only things he tries to stick his body parts through. He also does is with the kitchen chairs backs and his arms, floor vents and his fingers and the occasional head-through-the-porch railing. Yeah, is there a milestone for sticking his limbs in inappropriate places? Because check and check, we've totally surpassed that bad boy.

And then a little over a week ago, Braeburn jammed his leg REAL good. So good that I couldn't get it out. And when I tried to, he cried and writhed in pain. And I panicked. Every other time this happened my husband was home. He would pry the slats apart and I'd slide Brae's leg out. But now, this particular morning, I was home alone. I was by myself with Braeburn screaming, reaching up for me, wanting me to stop his pain and I had no idea how to. 

Thousands of things ran through my mind, from getting a hand saw to just breaking the damn thing with a hammer. But I worried about the impact those would have on his little knee. Chubby Vegan Dad was a good 30 minutes away and I couldn't wait that long. So I did it. 

I called the fire department. Yep. I was that mom. 

And sure enough, three burly dudes show up at my door, in their big ole' truck and gear. I've got giant raccoon eyes from bawling and apologize OVER AND OVER to them. (Why do the stupidest things happen to me?) They reassure me about a jillion times and ask me for some dish soap. They were able to grease up Braeburns leg, and each one pulled on a slat while the third lefted him up and out of it. It took about three minutes total and I felt like a moron.

They were kind enough to inform me that he had really jammed it in there, this wasn't the only call like these that they've gotten and one of them was even going through this with his baby at home.

His advice? Keep a block of wood nearby that can fit in between the slats and help "separate them" so I can get his leg out if I'm home alone. Bless these men. Seriously, bless them. For three seconds I didn't feel like the worst mother in the world. And Braeburn got a plastic fire hat out of the deal, so that's a win.

This was the last straw. After the embarrassment of having to call the fire department and weeks of waking to a pain-addled, leg-jammed-all-the-way-to-his-hip, screaming-bloody-murder little boy at two or three in the morning, I did what any overly protective and sleep-deprived mother would do: I googled "how in the hell do I stop my baby from getting leg stuck in his crib slat."

We tried your run-of-the-mill breathable bumper - no such luck (and I'm not starting a bumper war here, so please don't incite one). He simply put his leg over the bumper, shoved it down and jammed it up a bit higher. We tried readjusting it so he couldn't force it down, he just tried to hit a ride on the bumper and climb out of the crib. Yeah. Super fun. 

Eventually, we surrendered ourselves to the idea that we'd just have to put him in a toddler bed, although, I was more worried about all the other stuff he could get into that way and the lack of sleep he'd be getting because this boy is not ready for a toddler bed. We started Braeburn-proofing everything, which, is almost an impossible feat for this curious little boy.

And then, I came across a few reviews for Go Mama Go Designs Wonder Bumpers. These bumpers zip on each crib slat individually and have a layer of foam with cloth surrounding it. You can buy them in a 2, 24 or 38 packs.So there's still a small space between each slat (helping them be breathable and so you can still see in), but not enough that babies can jam limbs through them. They're super soft and I imagine it probably feels better to bash your head on these than the bare crib slats, so bonus points for that. 

Plus, we put the zippers on the outside and at the bottom, so Braeburn hasn't been able to take them apart or get his little hands on them! 

And they're long, so they can't use them to hitch up on and get out the crib. Seriously, they've solved like every problem we've run into. 

Let me tell you parents, these babies worked. I mean really, really worked.  (And side note, this is not a product I was asked to review. This is something I found doing my own googling and absolutely LOVE). 

There's one downside to them, they are not the cheapest things in the entire world. We purchasaed a 38-pack on Amazon for $120, which I get it, probably sounds pretty extreme for "bumpers." 

But please trust me on this, they have been a lifesaver. An absolute lifesaver. Our little boy no longer wakes angry in the night because he can't free his leg. In fact, the most he's been able to get his leg through is just to the ankle. And that was when he was really, really trying to force it in there. 

They're soft, they're cute and are worth every.last.penny. It is the one thing I have now recommended to my parent friends. I don't have a tiny newborn of course, so while the company promotes this as a "safe alternative" to bumpers for newborns and what not, I can't validate that statement. However, I would certainly talk about it with our child's doctor if we had another baby, because it seems like a viable option. But once your out of the SIDS risk and you don't want tangled limbs or bumps and bruises because of those hard slats, Go Mama Go Designs Wonder Bumpers ARE THE ANSWER.

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  1. Oh you poor poor mama! We've had this issue a few times but luckily, he grew out of it fast! Hugs

  2. I would have had a heart attack! No little ones of our own yet, but amazed to see what's in store for us!

  3. I think our kids are related! Mine went through the exact same thing. Except for the fire department one -- she locked herself in the only bedroom with out an accessible window for that. :) My solution was co-sleeping -- a sleep deprived decision to be sure, but one that worked for me and my late husband. Keep your chin up, and just think of the humor you give to your local fire fighters!

    1. Oh Kim, I would have had a heart attack! When Pearyn was a baby I locked myself out of the house and didn't have a spare key (we'd just moved in and I hadn't gotten around to it). I ended up busting out the basement window to get back in because panic and mom mode took over! It's a risky job that's for sure :)

  4. Genius! I'm buying these now! Thank you!

  5. My daughter was doing this two and three times a day. My FIL finally screwed sheets of plywood to the exterior of the crib. It's so ugly. I'm trying to come up with something prettier, but it's slow going. Glad you found something that works!

  6. So glad I found this! Thank you for posting this issue and solution! My 23-month old has been doing the same thing- every night! I just googled the same thing you did basically! ��

  7. This just happened to me. My solution was margarine. It worked. "Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it!"