3 questions to ask when choosing a cot or cot bed

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. Short on space? At 90x54cm Baby Weavers Compact is our smallest and best value cot and will last until baby is about a year old. Baby Weavers Anna, the traditionalist’s choice, has a mattress size of 122x61cm and will last 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.

Our bestselling cot beds? For outstanding VFM it has to be the Somerset. Kiddicare Sleigh is a really good looking choice available in three finishes or if it’s quality craftsmanship with built-in storage you’re after go for the Woodhouse.

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

In the market for more baby gear? Check out 3 questions to ask when buying a highchair  and 3 questions to ask when buying a baby monitor.