Your new-born baby could be sleeping up to 18 hours a day, so making sure you have the right sleeping arrangement for them is crucial. There are many cot beds to choose from, varying in price, style and features. It can be difficult to know which one would suit your needs, so luckily, we are experts in this area and have created a highly comprehensive guide to help you find the right product!
After you have finished reading this guide, you will be well on your way to being a cot expert!
First, let go through the differences of crib, cot and cot bed.
In the US, a crib is a cot/cot bed. In the UK, a Crib usually refers to a small portable cot with a length about 1 meter or less, designed only for the first few months of infant.
Essentially, crib is an alternative version of a Moses basket, that may attach onto or be put aside of parent’s bed, .
PRO: benefits of co sleeping close at night.
CON: usually last less than 6 months, very expensive compare to the traditional Moses basket, or years of cot/cot bed.
Cot in the UK, normally fit a standard cot mattress size of 120 x 60 CM. A cot suitable from birth up to two years old. They are compact for smaller nursery room and ideal to position in parent’s room as well.
PRO: compact, great for limited space.
CON: once grow out, you will need purchase a toddler bed.
Cot Bed is usually most popular choice. A cot can be converted into a toddler bed once baby outgrow the cot. It fit a standard cot bed mattress size of 140 x 70 cm. suitable from birth and up to four years at least.
PRO: 4 years of sleep space in one, no need to purchase a toddler bed. Easier transition to bed for your child.
CON: require slightly larger space to fit in your home.
Price and Value
There are so many different styles of and materials used to produce a cot or cot bed, so prices can vary drastically. You may find a budget cots as cheap as £70, up to a high end stylish model worth £1500 or more! It mostly comes down to the material, craftsmanship, finishes. i.e luxurious woods, detail added, glossy finish and features of item.
Most domestic cots are made of natural wood, with Pine being the most commonly used. It’s a soft wood, prone to scratches and dents, but is also a super renewable material giving an excellent finish on a cot. Poplar is another soft wood but not as widely available as Pine. Birch, Beech and Oak are hard woods, which make them more expensive. Furniture made of hard woods are often a little more resistant to wear and tear.
Ideally the cot can be used again for another new baby, but not the mattress, cot mattress must be replaced with new for each baby.
Style and features
Style and features of cot bed are personally preferences. Stylish design such as sleigh would cost you more. The retail price would increase if the cot has more of curves, or upholstery. Cot design with straight lines only with little profile detail would cost much less, but may serve the purpose well also. .
If you are first time parent, ask advice and think about what features may be important to you. Drawer underneath cot for storage space, teething rails to protect teething baby and the cot, drop side for petite or health issue, height of cot base, etc.
Space to position the cot
Before your purchase your cot, always double check dimensions to where you going to place the cot in your home!! It is recommended that baby sleep with parents in the same room for the first 6 months. Plan how you going to do this, if the same cot would fit in your room as well as nursery room? same going for nappy changing space, it need to be convenient to you, day and night.
For safety, DO NOT place children cot/bed near heat sources, windows and other furniture.
It is extremely important to check if the crib, cot or cot bed, meet the latest safety standards, AND approved by a reputable international laboratories.
If the item is available with other national resellers, usually means the item meet British and European safety standards. As national resellers, would have audited each new product to ensure safe to general public. Hence, it must be certified by a reputable international laboratories, such as Intertek (UK origin) or SGS (Switzerland origin).
Be cautious, if an item only available through the seller and some online market place, i.e. Amazon, eBay, etc. These marketplaces does not audit product before sell through its websites. Seller may well state the product meet the standards, but potentially inadequately checked in house only, or through a unreliable third party.
Below British and European Standards apply
Crib — BS EN 1130-1/2:1997 Safety requirements – Cribs and cradles for domestic use.
Cot — BS EN 716-1/2:2008+A1:2013 Safety requirements – Children’s cots and folding cots for domestic use.
Children bed — BS 8509:2008+A1:2011 Safety requirements – Children’s beds for domestic use.
Cot mattress — BS 1877-10:2011+A1:2012 Domestic bedding. Specification for mattresses and bumpers for children’s cots, perambulators and similar domestic articles.
Paint, Finish & Materials — BS EN 71-3:2013+A1:2014 Safety of toys. Migration of certain elements
The main benefit of a cot bed is that it can be converted to a junior bed by removing one or both sides. Some of our designs have splint ends so the bed end can be lowered.
When cots are converted to beds, they must conform to BS 8509:2008 + A1:2011, the current British standard for Children’s beds for domestic use.
Designed with a specialised mechanism, one side of the cot bed can be folded down to minimise risk of back injury while bending further into the cot when lifting the baby in or out. The drop side cot is tested with the latest British safety standards of Children’s cots for domestic use - BS EN 716-1/2:2008+A1:2013.
Almost all cot beds have a height adjustable base to suit baby growth, usually with 3 base positions. The highest position is normally for first few months, so you can easily lift baby in and out. The middle position is used once the baby can roll and prevents the risk of falling. The lowest base position is the safest, and should always be used as soon as your baby is able to sit up unaided.
Chomping on the edge of a cot is a habit many teething babies relish. Protective teething rails cover the side edges of the cot and help to avoid damage and splintering.
With a new baby, comes the purchase more “stuff” than a mom-to-be ever dreamed necessary, so you will need a lot of storage in your nursery. A drawer underneath the cot can be very useful for storing a lot of necessities.
Wheels enable the cot to be moved around the house easily. Usually available on light weight cots only, that quickly become unsuitable to toddler. Also, must prevent baby able to move the cot on wheels.
2-3 spindles can be removed from one side of the cot to allow easy access of child in and out the cot. This is not a feature of British cot and we do NOT recommend it. The cot should be converted to bed if the child able to climb in/out the cot.
Now you know all basics of the cot bed, but before you start searching for one, have a look at this checklist of things to do first:
Read our mattress guide as well as our advice of safe use of a cot bed, before choose your mattress and to ensure the safest sleeping space for your baby.