Powered by Blogger.
Container Icon

Repost: Choosing a baby cot

What is a cot or cotbed?

A cot is your baby’s bed for the first couple of years, usually has fixed sides or one drop-side and tends to fit a smaller space. A cotbed is essentially the same but once your child is ready you can take both sides off, turning it into a junior bed (sometimes called a toddler bed). A cotbed is designed to give you more years’ of use, but that doesn’t mean it has to be more expensive.
Choosing nursery furniture is an exciting part of preparing for a new baby. Although it can be hard to imagine your bump or tiny newborn as a toddler, it’s worth some forward planning when considering sleeping options.
Unsure about whether to buy a cot or cotbed for your new baby? Here are the pros and cons of both cot options...

Moses basket or crib can be used for a newborn baby insead of a cot, though some parents prefer a cot or cotbed from the start. There are many similarities between the two, but there’s a key difference that sets them apart – longevity.  While a cot is suitable from birth to approximately 2 years, a cotbed may be used from birth to about 5 years. Some cotbeds can even turn into little sofas and last longer still!

Cotbeds – the pros and cons
A cotbed has removable sides and end panel so it can convert to a short, low bed for a toddler. Larger than a cot, but smaller than a single bed, a cotbed requires a mattress and bedding designed specifically for it.

A cotbed may seem to be the hands-down winner over the cot – and there’s some evidence of this in the huge range now being sold. Although slightly more expensive than the average cot, a cotbed will be in use for twice as long, so can be more cost effective. Though do remember to factor in the cost of purchasing an extra mattress and bedding, if necessary, when the cotbed is converted. Consider too that you’ll still have to buy a single bed at some stage.

Familiarity with the cotbed may help smooth your child’s transition from cot to a ‘big bed’, too.

If space is an issue for you though, a cotbed may not be suitable. The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) recommends that your baby sleep in your bedroom for the first six months. If a cotbed is too large for your room, opt for a cot instead.

Cots – the pros and cons
Cots vary in size, but are usually smaller and cheaper than cotbeds, have fixed sides (though some have a side that will drop down for ease of access to your baby), and there’s a wide selection of bedding available for them.

An advantage of choosing a cot rather than a cotbed is that you can select one to fit the available space in your room. Some children are happy to remain in a cot for longer than the 2 years suggested by many manufacturers, while others move from cot to full-size single bed with ease.

A major consideration is whether you plan to have more than one child. Although a cot tends to have a shorter lifespan than a cotbed, it may prove cost effective if it can be used for future siblings. You may find that if you buy a cotbed, it will be required for your next baby before you have chance to turn it into a bed for your older child. So, you’ll have to buy a cot or second cotbed for your new baby. This is often the time that parents try to coax their older child into moving to a single bed - it can be touted as a ‘prize’ for being the ‘big brother/sister’, though some children feel as if the new baby is ousting them from their cotbed!

If you do buy a cot because you plan on having more than one child, consider if you have the space to store it before it’s needed again.

Mattress advice
Whether you’re using a second-hand cot or cotbed or re-using the one in which your first child slept, the same advice about mattresses applies. FSID says: “It is very important that your baby’s mattress is clean, dry, firm, flat and well fitting. Ideally, you should buy a new mattress for each new baby. If you are not able to do this, use the one you have as long as it was made with a completely waterproof cover and has no tears, cracks or holes.”

What safety advice should you know before buying a cotbed or cot?
For ultimate peace of mind, look for the BSI number BSEN 716:2008, which ensures your cot/cotbed meets all current safety standards. Unfortunately not all carry this, so check the following:
Any cot/cotbed, old or new, should have a space between the bars measuring either:
  • Less than 7mm
  • Between 1.2cm and 2.5cm
  • Between 4.5 and 6.5cm
It should have at least 50cm between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot’s sides. 
As it currently stands, FSID neither advises for or against cot bumpers, but they do want to make parents aware that accidents happen if your child plays with them and they become loose.

How much space do you have?
Space, or lack of it, can be a major influence when choosing a cot or cotbed. If you have a small nursery or want your baby sleeping in your bedroom, it may be best to buy a cot, as it can be a lot smaller than a cotbed. Make sure you take a tape measure when you buy!
If there’s more space available, larger cots can give your child more freedom, or you can opt for a cotbed, which is traditionally bigger and will grow with your child.
Do you want a drop-side?
Especially useful if you suffer from a bad back, a drop-side cot is a side of the cot/cotbed that folds or slides down so you can lift your baby up from his cot with ease.
As your baby grows and you adjust the cot's base to a lower position, bending further over the cot side to pick up your now much-heavier child could be a problem. This is where a drop-side comes into its own. It’s considered easier for transferring a sleeping baby to bed.
Do you want adjustable base heights?
This feature sees the base of the cot/cotbed (what the mattress sits on) adjusted to different heights, and add longevity to your cot/cotbed. When your baby is very young you can position the cot base high, so you gain easy access to them. As your baby grows, you can lower the base so the mattress is further from the top of the sides and your child can’t climb out of her cot. The majority of cots come with this function, but the number of different heights offered does vary. Three height options on a cot/cotbed are pretty standard.
What mattress do you want?
Probably the most important factor when choosing your baby’s cot is the mattress, and the choice can be overwhelming. But, the first major consideration has to be whether it fits the cot/cotbed properly, otherwise there’s a chance your baby could become stuck between the cot/cotbed and the mattress. Generally, the gap should be no bigger than 4cm.
Some models come with a standard mattress but many companies offer a multitude of different ones, made of foam, coil springs, natural materials for allergy sufferers or with anti-microbial treatment. It’s a case of what you feel is important.
And finally, for ultimate peace of mind, a mattress displaying the BSI number BS 1877-10:1997 has met all current safety regulations.

3 questions to ask when buying a cot or cot bed

Your newborn baby could be spending up to 18 hours a day asleep so the right sleep space is essential. Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect cot or cot bed.
Where your child sleeps is often the focal point of the nursery so there’s a huge choice available to suit all styles from curvy sleighs to contemporary space savers. OK so let’s narrow down the choices with three easy questions:
1. How much space do you have?
It’s recommended that baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months or so but not all rooms are big enough to accommodate a cot or cot bed, in which case consider a Moses basket and stand (suitable to three or four months) or a crib (suitable to six months).
If you decide to go straight for a cot, here’s the need-to-know: first thing is that there’s no such thing as a standard size cot, they do vary. Cots are generally suitable from birth to approx 18 months to two years.
Thinking cot bed thoughts? It’s certainly the better value option – and the more popular – as it’ll last from birth to approx four years. It’s also the perfect gap-bridger between cot and My First Big Bed (exciting times!) Cot beds typically have internal measurements of 140x70cm with sides that come off and ends that dismantle to convert to a toddler bed.
2. Any extra features to look out for?
Indeed there are! Here are the favourite features to have on your radar when you’re browsing:
Drop side: one side of the cot or cot bed lowers to allow easy access. Some drop sides are one-handed so you can hold baby while lowering or raising the side with one hand.
Fixed sides: some parents prefer to not have sides that raise and lower.
Height adjustment: most cots come with two-three mattress base positions
  • use the highest (and easiest reach) position until baby can roll over (usually after a few months)
  • use the second position until baby can pull up to standing (usually at about a year)
  • use the third position until baby turns adventurer and can start to climb out (approx. 18m)
Teething rails: clear non-toxic plastic covering for little one to chomp away on to protect little gums (and the cot!) once teeth start appearing.
Conversion to day bed: when little one outgrows the Boori Urbane Sleigh cot bed/toddler bed  it handily converts to a sofa. Clever!
Under drawer storage: there’s no such thing as too much storage. The East Coast Langham Sleigh cot bed has a built-in full width drawer on castors.
Cots that grow with your child: the Stokke Mini cot  starts out small (just 67cm wide) and has a conversion kit to the Sleepi (for up to three years).
Package deals: all Kiddicare cots and cot beds can be bought on their own; with mattress or with mattress and bedding.
3. How can I make sure my child is safe?
Some simple common-sense safeguards will make sure both you and baby rest easy:
  • The gap between mattress and cot should be no larger than 3cm
  • Babies should sleep in the feet to foot position, ie feet at the base of the cot
  • Babies should be put to sleep on their backs
  • A temperature of 18°C is optimum: not too hot, not too cold
  • Choose a spot for baby’s cot well away from the radiator or window and any blinds or cords
  • Keep baby monitor cords well out of baby’s reach
  • Make sure the cot is rigid when it’s assembled with no wobbles and regularly tighten the fittings
  • Don’t use a cot top changer on a sleigh bed as it has a sloping side
  • If you’re using a bumper please ensure it’s securely fastened to the slats and tucked securely between mattress and slats with the bottom edge touching the cot base
  • Please don’t use a second hand mattress
  • Use lightweight bedding in layers that’s easy to add or remove to regulate baby’s temperature
  • Remember baby shouldn’t sleep with a hat on

Choosing a cot

As well as considering the design and look, the cot you choose must conform to British safety standards (BSEN716). The reason for these safety standards is to reduce the number of accidental infant deaths each year due to strangulation or suffocation. The following guidelines have been developed to help when looking for a cot:
Cot frame
  • Depth: the distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides should be at least 50cm, to prevent your baby from climbing out when they become more mobile.
  • Cot bars should be vertical; if they are horizontal your baby could use them as a ladder to climb out. Also, the distance between the bars should be no more than 6.5cm apart so your baby can't get stuck between the bars of the cot.
  • It is also recommended by some experts that a cot with bars on all four sides is better, as it allows air to circulate freely while your baby sleeps.
  • If your cot has a solid head and footboard with shapes cut out, check that your baby’s limbs cannot become caught in any of the spaces.
Cot mattress
  • The Lullaby Trust recommends you buy a new cot mattress, or - if using a second-hand mattress - carefully check that it's clean, dry and free from cracks or tears. Your cot mattress should be firm, with no sagging and fit the cot snugly, with no gaps.
  • Mattresses tend to come in two sizes, standard and continental and should fit the equivalent sizes of cots commonly available in the UK.
  • The mattress needs to be kept as clean and hygienic as possible. You can either use one with a wipe-clean covering or a removable top panel that you can wash at a high temperature. Alternatively, you could use a mattress protector, which covers the mattress to stop it getting wet if the baby dribbles or their nappy leaks.
  • Choose a mattress that feels firm rather than soft, your baby needs support while he is sleeping. It should be no thinner than 10cm.
  • Check it conforms to safety standards - mattresses should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10:1997.
  • There are three main types of mattresses you can choose from: foam cot mattresses, spring-interior cot mattresses and coir cot mattresses. There are pros and cons to each of these. Do your research, test, touch and feel each type and decide what suits you and your family best.
Second hand cots
Although a great option for keeping down initial costs, you’ll need to make sure that it conforms to current safety standards, mentioned above. Furthermore:
  • If it is a very old, painted cot, it may need to be stripped  down and repainted.  Cots made before 1973 could have used leaded paint, which is toxic.
  • If there is a drop-side mechanism, check it works smoothly and remains in the ‘up’ position.
  • If there are any stickers or transfers on the inside of the cot, remove them, as they may peel off and present a choking hazard.
  • Check there is nothing sticking out of the top rail which may catch your baby’s clothes.
  • Unless you know the history of the mattress, and have checked it for cleanliness and size, and are happy with it, it is recommended that you buy a new one.
  • Check that there is nothing on the inside of the cot that your baby can use as a foothold to help him climb out.
Where to place the cot
Babies are less able to control their temperature so the cot shouldn’t be near a radiator or sunny window. Blind cords are also a risk as babies have been known to become entangled with these and strangled.
Inside the cot
It is recommended that the inside of your baby’s cot should be as clutter free as possible. Pillows and duvets aren’t safe for babies younger than one year due to the risk of suffocation. Duvets can also make the baby too hot.
Are cot bumpers safe?
Cot bumpers safety is questionable because they can also trap heat in the cot and could be used to climb on when your baby becomes more mobile so these are not recommended.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Babies who share the same room as their parents for the first six months or so have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death. Here are some guidelines which help towards cot death prevention and encourage safe sleep for your baby: lower the risk of this occurring:
  • The room should not be too hot as babies who overheat are at an increased risk of SIDS. They can get too hot because the room is too hot, or because they have too much bedding or clothing. The ideal room temperature is between 16 and 20ºC.
  • Babies should sleep on their back with their feet at the foot of the cot to stop them wriggling down under the covers.
  • Babies should not sleep with electric blankets or hot water bottles, although, if you are worried about the cot being too cold you could use one that is removed before the baby goes in. As mentioned above duvets, bumpers and  pillows are not recommended if your baby is under one year old.
  • Your baby’s cot should not be  close to a radiator or in a sunny position.

Choosing a cot

We asked more than 500 cot owners, along with 600 parents who had bought a convertible cot bed, to tell us what they believed to be the most important considerations when buying one.
Top five factors to consider when buying a cot:
1.       Safety
2.       Price
3.       Whether the cot can be converted into a toddler bed
4.       Cot has drop-side
5.       Durability

Cot shopping checklist

Cot beds

A cot bed is a cot with removable sides and end panel so it can be converted into a toddler-sized bed. These are increasingly popular and seem a logical way of lengthening the life of a cot as well as helping to make the move from a cot to a bed as smooth as possible for your child.
Cot beds are larger than cots but are not necessarily much more expensive. Take a look at our video guide to buying a cot bed to find out if it's right for you.

Cot size

Cot sizes vary. Cots designed to fit 'standard-sized' cot mattresses are a few centimetres narrower than cots designed for 'continental-sized' mattresses - although they're often a similar length. Cots also vary in size within these categories, too. Measurements should be clearly displayed on the cot label.
The advantage of a larger cot is that your baby will have more room - and it may work out a more practical option if you and your baby are happy to continue using a cot well into toddling years. However, a smaller cot will be perfectly adequate for a growing baby.

Height-adjustable base

The base height of most cots can be adjusted as your baby grows. You can choose the highest level for the first few months, so you can lift your baby in and out easily, then reposition at a lower level when your baby starts to pull him- or herself up, so he or she stays secure in the cot.
Cots tend to have a two- or three-position base, although a few have more. Two positions are fine for most people’s needs.
Drop-side cots let you lift your baby in and out with ease

Fixed or drop sides?

Most cots available have drop sides. One side of the cot will have a mechanism designed to let you lower the side so you can lift your baby in and out with ease. Some cots have drop mechanisms on both sides.
'Nudge and lift' mechanisms, when you push the side of the cot into a position where it can be lowered, can be useful because you can operate them with one hand. Other cots have a trigger mechanism, a foot pedal or a couple of catches to undo.
New rules to ban drop-side cots in the United States came into effect in 2011, following the deaths of at least 32 babies because of defective drop-side cots since 2000 and recalls on 11 million cots since 2007.
British cots come under European safety standards - always make sure you look out for the BS EN 716: 2005 - which are different to those in the US.
So far, there hasn't been a ban on drop-sides in Europe, although there has been an adjustment to the European standards, which now say that drop-sides are required to lock in the lower position.

Teething rail

Chomping on the edge of a cot is a habit many babies seem to relish. Choose a cot with a teething rail – a protective covering lining the side-edges of the cot – if you want to avoid the risk of damage.


Some cots have casters or mounted wheels - handy, if you want to move your cot into to a different room. It also makes for easier cleaning under and around the cot.

Bedside cots

You can buy cots with a removable side so you can position the cot right next to your bed. The base can be adjusted so your baby’s mattress can be lined up with yours, which makes night-time feeding easier.
We're reviewed the NCT Bednest, a crib similar to a cot that allows you to sleep next to your baby, so find out whether we thought it was worth the money.

Safety first when choosing a baby cot

We cannot stress enough the importance of safety when it comes to choosing a baby cot. This is especially important as the cot is where your baby will be sleeping and you might not be awake to keep a close eye on your little one at all times of the day. So when choosing a baby cot, look at the slats at the side – these should be no more than two inches wide to prevent your baby’s arms, legs or head from getting stuck in it.

Measure for measure when buying a baby cot

It’s imperative for you to bring a measuring tape when out choosing a baby cot. This is to make sure that the baby cot you choose can not only fit inside your room but also through your door. Many parents have neglected this step and have come home with cots that can’t fit through the front door or bedroom door.
When choosing a baby cot, you will have to decide whether you want to drop the railings on the sides or not. Find out our take on it!

To drop or not?

When choosing a baby cot, parents will come across the question of whether they want a cot with drop sides or stationary sides. What this means is that a drop side cot comes with one or both sides able to drop down. The pro of this is that you can pick your baby out of the cot with ease as opposed to a cot with stationary sides. Unfortunately, the drop side cot can be a potential safety hazard when your baby gets older and can sit and stand on his own as he might accidentally push the crib side down and fall out of it. Thus, it is probably much safer to get a cot with stationary sides.

The hand print test

When choosing a baby cot, you want to take off the mattress and bedding that comes along with it to run some tests. The bedding should always survive the hand print test which tests how sturdy and firm the mattress is. For example, before buying the cot, push down your hand on the bedding and when you lift your hand, you can see your handprint, the bedding is too soft. Soft bedding have been known to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) so always get a firm mattress along with the cot you choose.

Babyology’s top ten things to know when choosing a cot

Suzi Catchpole on babyology.com                                                    
Ten years ago parents had very little choice when it came to furnishing the nursery; now there are so many attractive options that it can fluster a pregnant brain.

1. Start researching early

It always pays to start researching cots as early as possible and be prepared that you may change your mind a few times. Consider shop delivery times as the cot you want may not be available when you need it to be. Have a runner-up cot option just in case.

2. Consider sleeping baby in a bassinet at first

You can delay the purchase of a cot if you decide you’d prefer to sleep baby in a bassinet for the first four to six months. Many parents choose this option so that baby feels cocooned in a more womb-like environment than a cot can provide. This spreads out the cost of setting up for baby over a longer time span and the bassinet can be stored away for a sibling or two down the track.
Having a bassinet is handy as some have wheels so that baby can travel from room to room with you and while your second baby is little, it will give you time to transition the older child from cot to bed. A bassinet which sways and rocks will be soothing for a fussy baby.

3. The size of the room

If the nursery is small, the cot needs to fit and still leave space for other furniture. Where space is limited, you may want to consider a change table like the wall-mounted byBo Design Nathi or one that sits on top of the cot like the Oeuf Change Station.
We suggest sketching a brief room plan and taking measurements with you to the baby shop so that you don’t waste time evaluating pieces which aren’t suitable.

4. Fixed side or drop rail

Some people like drop rails, some people need them and others don’t; drop rails are an individual consideration. Investigate whether the drop rails on the cots have a one or two-handed operation and go for the one-handed option.

5. Converts to toddler bed

Would you like to transition your toddler to a smaller bed before continuing to a larger bed? Toddler beds are great because they’re lower to the ground than a conventional single bed and can provide a feeling of security to some children as they are still essentially sleeping in the bed they had as a baby. Many cots come with conversion kits and others have one that you can buy once you need it.

6. Co-ordinating furniture

If you would like a seamless look to the nursery, investigate brands which make co-ordinating change tables, dressers and bookcases.

7. Factor in the cost of a mattress

Mattresses are almost always an add-on. Factor this cost into your budget and expect to pay from $100 to $200.

8. Look for adjustable mattress height

The cot should have at least two mattress height settings. You don’t want to be fishing a delicate newborn from the depths of the cot!

9. Teething rails and castors

Babies turn into toddlers and many a designer crib has had its rails made into mincemeat by a teething kid. You can get transparent covers for this stage which will protect your investment.
Also consider whether you’d like a cot with wheels. Castors make it easier to clean underneath the cot and move it to another room. Many cots are easy to move a few metres even though they don’t have castors; it depends how heavy the cot is so also factor in weight if you’re willing to forgo wheels.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment