Toddlers should sleep in a cot until they are three years old, study finds

New study suggests toddlers who sleep in a cot until they are at least three years old have much better sleeping patterns.

The study, published in the Sleep Medicine journal, collected data from 1,983 parents over five countries and showed that sleeping in a cot was associated with better sleeping patterns among babies and toddlers.

Parents from Australia, Canada, New Zealand the United Kingdom and United States were asked to monitor and upload their child’s sleeping patterns via the Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Sleep App.

The data collected showed as babies got older, parents were more inclined to move their toddler from a crib to a bed. A total of 63 per cent of the babies studied slept in a crib from 18 to 24 months, 34 per cent were still sleeping in cribs at 24 to 30 months and only 13 per cent of 30 to 36 month-olds were still sleeping in cribs.

toddlers should sleep in crib until they're three

Image: Getty

The research found that sleeping in crib was associated with children resisting bedtime, going to bed earlier, falling asleep faster and sleeping for longer.

Many parents decide to move their toddlers to a bed before their third birthday however, because they need to make space for another child or because they feel their child has outgrown their cot.

Lisa Meltzer, a paediatric psychologist from Denver, Colorado, says children prefer small spaces and feel safer and more comfortable.

‘Adults tend to see cribs as cages, but that’s not how children see them, she said. ‘If you watch young children play, they like to play under the table or in large boxes.’

As you children grow older they become more inquisitive, so if you’re worried about your little one getting big enough to climb over the bars of their crib, shop around for a cot with an adjustable mattress.

The crib will allow you to move the mattress lower to the ground as your baby gets older, which will prevent them climbing over and  giving you that much needed peace of mind.

Toddlers should sleep in a crib until they're three

Image: Getty

 

Sleep psychologist, Sarah Honaker from Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, said: ‘A three-year-old is more likely to have the cognitive development to remember the rules of staying in bed.’

And, of course, when a child sleeps for longer their parents have a better night’s sleep too.

Words by Leanne Carr