Parents and their babies can sleep a little easier knowing the majority of the latest cots to pass through our labs are safe. Out of 12 cots, four failed, with three posing serious safety issues. One of these serious issues is the complete lack of markings on the cot which can lead to unsafe use, an issue which could be easily rectified by the manufacturer.
Between 2012–20, 57% of cots tested have failed to meet key safety requirements, a figure that has been gradually getting better.
The risks of an unsafe cot can include head or limb entrapment, strangulation, choking, suffocation and falls.
While all cots available in Australia should meet the mandatory safety standard, we've found many don't. That's why we continue to call for stronger product safety laws.
"Parents shouldn't have to rely on a nonprofit consumer organisation like CHOICE to test products for safety and push individual businesses to fix products that are already on the market and endangering children," says Amy Pereira, CHOICE's product safety campaigner.
Many of the cots that failed our safety tests in the past are still available for sale
Our latest test batch includes many of the big-name brands that you'll see at retail stores, but despite these manufacturers finally lifting their game, dangerous cots remain on the market.
"Many of the cots that failed our safety tests in the past are still available for sale," warns Kim Gilmour, who heads up our household product testing.
"And with more consumers turning to online marketplaces to buy cheap cots these days, we plan to check if these sellers' cots meet safety standards, too."
Cot mattress firmness improving
After drawing attention to the importance of cot mattress firmness, we're pleased to see that all passed the firmness test in our latest round of testing. However, two failed to provide sufficient mattress size measurements.
Our safety test involves checking that the mattress is firm enough not to pose a suffocation risk.
A gap of even a few centimetres between the cot wall and the mattress could cause suffocation, so we also make sure the claimed measurements are accurate.
Cot mattresses can be legally sold without meeting any safety requirements at all
Unlike cots, there's no mandatory safety standard in Australia for cot mattresses, only a voluntary one.
Cot mattresses can be legally sold without meeting any safety requirements at all. This makes our testing at CHOICE – and our fight for better product safety laws – all the more crucial.
"We need a more proactive approach to product safety from businesses operating in all markets – introducing a general safety provision into our law is the way to achieve this," says Pereira.