04.What to look for
This is a quick checklist of what to look out for when you’re buying a cot. Take a tape measure with you.
Sturdy and durable — All components should be permanently fixed or require the use of a tool to take apart.
Deep enough to stop a child falling out — The distance from the top of the mattress in the cot to the top of the lowest side when the dropside is up should be at least 500 mm with the base set in the lowest position, and at least 300 mm when it’s in the upper position. The depth from top of the mattress to the top of the dropside should be at least 150 mm when the dropside is down.
The mattress fits snugly around all sides — When you choose a mattress make sure the gap between the edge of the mattress and the adjacent cot side is no more than 40 mm when the mattress is pushed to the opposite side.
There are no head entrapment hazards — Any large space or opening between adjacent components must be between 50 mm and 95 mm to avoid the baby’s head getting trapped.
No limb entrapment hazards — Smaller openings shouldn’t be between 30 mm and 50 mm wide.
No finger entrapment hazard — Any very small space or opening between adjacent components shouldn’t be between 5 mm and 12 mm wide (unless it's at least 20 mm long), so little fingers don’t get caught.
No hazardous protrusions — No components should stick out or up to snag on a child’s clothing, and all edges should be blunted, smooth and gently contoured.
No footholds — There should be no bars or other structures in the cot (or even any included toys) that could by used by the child as a ledge for climbing out.
And for the carer:
- The dropside should be secure and smooth to operate — The dropside on the cot should be impossible for a child to open but convenient for the child’s carer to operate.
- The dropside doesn’t crush your feet when you open it — To clear your feet, the bottom of the dropside when it’s open should be at least 50 mm off the floor.
It’s generally recommended you don’t buy a secondhand cot. Secondhand and heirloom cots can be a hazard to children:
- The gaps between their bars can be too wide.
- Some have protrusions on corners that can create a strangulation hazard.
- Their catches can be too easy to undo.
- They can be painted with lead paint that children can chew on and swallow when they're teething.