Congratulations, you're having a baby! But wait – unless you're planning for Junior to sleep in a drawer, you'll need to buy a few things for the nursery. But do you really need that $1800 super-ergonomic rare Norwegian spruce cot? If you get a slightly cheaper changing table, have you failed completely as a parent before the kid's even born?
As safety is a priority for bub and ease of use is a priority for tired new parents, you'll be pleased to know that over years of testing, CHOICE has found you don't need to spend big for a product that'll give you peace of mind. So what equipment do you need to consider?
Furniture for younger babies
Bassinets are convenient because they don't take up as much space as a cot and can be placed beside your own bed. But babies grow out of bassinets quickly – once your baby can roll over or pull themselves up it's time to move them into a cot.
There's no Australian standard for bassinets, so we test them to a CHOICE method based on existing safety standards for cots and folding cots. Bedside sleepers are another kind of bassinet, sometimes called an alongside bassinet, that attach to the parental bed to mimic co-sleeping without the baby being in the same bed. We've tested a few of these and have found some serious risks with lack of breathable sides, poor stability or insufficient strength.
Although only used for a short time safety, durability and ease of use for the parent are important factors when buying a cot. They can be costly items, so doing your research can save time and money. Many, for instance, can convert to a toddler-sized or a single bed. See our cot reviews for the products we rate the best.
Cot mattresses need to be sufficiently firm, too, to avoid suffocation risks: our cot mattress reviews reveal which ones pass the firmness standard.
Portable cots (also known as travel cots and portacots) make it easy to be mobile, but their soft construction can pose some serious safety risks.
Wrestling with a wriggly infant can not only be infuriating, it can be downright dangerous if you have a poorly designed change table. The CHOICE change table buying guide gives you a handy checklist of things to look out for when you're shopping, and our change table reviews will show you which models passed muster.
Furniture for older babies
When your little one starts to get mobile it's time to think about the next batch of furniture you'll need.
Once your baby can hold its head up (at about six months) a good high chair will make feeding much easier, provided you buy one that's stable and easy to clean!
Safety gates and barriers
Notoriously curious and very fast, babies can be surprisingly dextrous when they set their minds to a task. That's why buying the right safety gates and barriers and installing them correctly to block off stairs and doorways is crucial for your peace of mind.
Child safety devices
Every room in the house can present a host of enticing but dangerous objects such as power points, kitchen chemicals, medicines, and hazards like a toppling TV or the danger of strangulation from loose blind cords. (Are you stressed yet?) So, well-designed and secure child safety devices can help prevent a tragedy.
Giving a harried parent a little hands-off breathing space, playpens can be a godsend – but in the absence of an Australian standard you'll need to do your research. (Once you've read the buying guide, we humbly suggest our playpen reviews as a good starting point.)
Also known as safety rails or bed guards, these devices create a barrier that prevent falls from a bed; we don't have a current review of this product but our bed rail buying guide tells you what to look out for.