Fort Birthday

Crib Tents for Twins in Ikea Cribs

Why do I use a Crib Tent? Because I like sleeping.

Why I got them a Crib Tent

When my twins started pulling themselves up in their cribs we were so proud. They were physically delayed, so reaching a milestone like that was super exciting. We bragged. Then people started sending me all those night vision videos of twins, you know the ones I’m talking about. I can’t watch them. They aren’t funny. They are scary. They are part of the reason for the tent.

The boys’ physical therapist mentioned that twins have a higher rate of crib ‘elopement’ than singletons (apparently your twin is a big incentive for getting out of your crib). She shared some of the statistics for head injuries from falls, and severe injuries from getting trapped between two cribs while climbing out.

As I saw it, I had two choices.

  1. Move them out of their cribs onto floor mattresses – which is not a bad plan, but requires baby-proofing the entire room. And being emotionally prepared for the potential fallout and lack of sleep.
  2. Confine them to their cribs for their own safety, and my own sanity.

The first time I caught one of them climbing the bars, I ordered these crib tents (K climbed first by more than a month).

Crib Tents for Twins in Ikea Cribs
This shows how spacious the tents are. There is enough room that they are staying in their cribs until they are physically too big for them.
I hung their letters before we got the tents and haven’t bothered moving them.

Why they work

Obviously, they don’t let the the boys climb out. But the real effect was on me. My PPA was significant. And crib tents meant that once I zipped them up at night, I knew they were safe. LET ME SAY THAT A DIFFERENT WAY: I could sleep at night because I could stop worrying about them, at least for the night. I cannot understate the importance of this simple concept. Zip them up, Close the door, and walk away.

This facilitated sleep training (we used Jodi Mindel’s Sleeping Through the Night – which was pretty much the best thing we did with out twins.) Even when they were crying, I knew they would be ok. That was enough to allow me to be ok with helping them learn the skills to sleep alone. And better sleep meant better Momma.

I joked in a prior post that a crib tent keeps your kid malaria free. This really isn’t a laughing matter, insect born disease is scary and real. Especially when traveling, I love knowing my kids are not going to get eaten up by mosquitos.

How we use them

I modified the top of the tents to accommodate their cameras. So I can peep in on them whenever I want. They tie securely to the cribs in the corners so even if they throw a fit they hold their shape safely. The tents eliminate the need for mesh bumpers. No more arms or legs stuck in slats and disturbing their sleep – and freaking mom out.

Yi home camera Crib Tent
I used a two pieces of cardboard to make a mount for their cameras. The cardboard sandwiches around the tent and holds the camera in the proper place. Told you Fort Birthday is held together with cardboard.

From time to time we would forget to zip them inside. Which also freaked Momma out. But they’ve never tried to climb out at night. When the boys got tall enough they wanted to zip themselves in at night, with a little help from mom at the end. These days they object loudly if we forget to zip them up. “MOMMMA, ZIP ME UP!”

Crib Tent On the Road

We traveled to a friend’s house with our pack n plays and I crammed the crib tents into them – it worked, but bent them out of shape some. They fold up onto themselves (like a pool float) but it’s hard to oragami them back into their original case. I’ve done it enough times that I can get it right.. 50% of the time.

If we hadn’t taken the crib tents traveling I would have gone to bed when my boys did. Which doesn’t make for anything resembling vacation for Me. Taking the crib tents made me confident my children weren’t going to wander around a strange house getting into all sorts of trouble.

Yi Camera Twin Toddler Sleep
This one sleeps all stretched out and face down.

Before Thanksgiving I made a pair of pack n play sized ones with materials I bought at Joann’s. It took some brainstorming, but I essentially used a similar layout. They turned out practical, but not pretty. And because I used some repurposed tent poles, they don’t fold up as tightly as the originals. But since I could only fold the originals up half the time.. shrug. You can buy pack n play sized ones. And they are worth the money.

Sleeping Toddler Crib Tent Crib Baby Boppy
The cameras pan and zoom so I can see the entire space.
And it’s my favorite when what I see is a cuddled up little guy.

And as an aside, lots of moms have told me, my kid won’t sleep in the pack n play anymore. If you are like me, after your kids got old enough you moved them onto a nice mattress in their crib. The pack n play floor is designed to be safe for an infant to sleep. It’s a barely padded board. I wouldn’t want to sleep on it either. I invested in a pair of pure latex foldable mattresses so they can sleep comfortably.

Why I’m going to keep using them

Comforting and familiar Sleep Routine

One of the things I’ve learned about sleep hygiene (google it, cause it’s awesome) is that bedtime routine is CRITICAL for establishing healthy sleep patterns, and that a good routine triggers the onset of sleep. Plus this study showed that kids with a sleep routine have an abundance of benefits including earlier bedtimes, shorter amount of time in bed before falling asleep, reduced night wakings, and increased sleep duration (an average of an additional hour of sleep over kids with no routine).

Traveling with the crib tents means we take a powerful and comforting part of their routine with us. I am confident that my kids have slept well away from home because they sleep in their familiar and cozy tents. And that’s why I’ve already packed them up for going to Walt Disney World next week.

The next step

For now, both my kids sleep in a diaper. One of them is ready for underwear overnight, but I’m not. Again, because of my OWN sleep. I don’t think it’s fair to expect him to stay dry all night without giving him access to the bathroom. And, I am not ready to deal with my own anxiety of giving my impulsive 2 year old the run of the house when I am asleep. Oh, the nightmare scenarios I can dream up.

When they turn 3 I am going to convert their cribs to toddler beds. All I have to do is sew a bigger zipper in. When I am ready to let my kid get in and out of bed himself, I will attach a zipper pull on the inside of the zipper so he can zip and unzip himself. When we are ready for ‘big boy beds’ we have a host of bed tent options which we will pick from including this Alvantor Bed Canopy, Pacific Play Tents (which is a great company) makes a bunch of fun kid styles, and the classic and roomy Privacy Pop which a friend loves using with her toddlers.

A space they do not have to share

Twins get the short end of a number of sticks. Not the least of which is to share share share, all the things. They do not have to share their crib tent. They both know that items put in ‘my tent’ are safe from plunder. They keep different things in their cribs.

A tent is their very own space. Their own little universe that they alone have say over. Sometimes at nap they spend time talking or standing in their tents pushing them up against each other (and hitting through them, cause.. boys). And it strikes me so strongly of the ultrasounds of them when I was pregnant. Together, but separate.

Pin for New Blog Post Text reads
Why do I use 
a crib tent?
Because I like sleeping. 
That's why.
The Why, What, and How 
of Crib Tents

We share in Fort Birthday


  • Sheilah Shields

    This seems as if the tents help your boys feel confident in their own space. Great idea

  • Love this. and glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to change anything related to sleep!!!!

    • One you get it dialed in for your family no way I want to change it.

  • Hi, this is great. Do you mind explaining a little more how you set the camera up? Did you put a hole in the top?

    • Let me see if I can dig up a picture - I used two pieces of cardboard that I sandwiched using nuts and bolts around the top over a hole I cut in the top. The cardboard supported the camera, and then I had a safety pin that I used to hold the cord in place - I'll see if I can find the pictures and update the post.

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