You would expect all cots to be safe wouldn’t you? Yet they are responsible for a staggering number of injuries to children in their first year of life. Surprisingly, it is not currently a legal requirement for manufacturers to test their nursery furniture to any safety standard - which makes it difficult to know how safe your cot really is. However, you’ll all sleep more easily if you follow our top ten tips when buying a cot.
Read the label.
Cots which carry the British Standards Institution (BSI) number BS EN 716-2:1996, comply with required safety standards. If a product meets these standards, the label should say so.
Buy new if possible.
Cots made before the advent of safety standards are more likely to have safety problems. Used cots may have splinters, lead paint, slats that are too far apart, or metal rails and bars that are bent or damaged.
Run your hand along the cot and check for rough surfaces, sharp edges, points and protrusions. If a cot has been tested to British Standards, there should be a 3mm radius applied to all the exterior corners and edges.
Give the cot a good shake in the shop. If it wobbles or rattles or the frame seems flimsy and loose, it might be poorly and cheaply made.
Check the catches.
The drop side of a cot will be opened and closed thousands of times, and must lock in place when it is closed. It should also take two movements to put the drop side down so that the child can’t open it.
Watch for footholds.
Most cot-related injuries are the result of children falling. To prevent this, there should be no footholds between 1.5cm and 5cm above the mattress base. Cot bumpers should be removed once your baby is mobile.
Take a tape measure.
Although it’s unusual, small fingers and limbs can get caught in gaps and head and upper body entrapment can cause death by suffocation.
A cot should be at least 49.5cm deep so your baby can't climb out, and the bars should be vertical with spacing of 5cm to 6.5cm between them. Watch out for spaces of 3-5cm (which can trap limbs), and gaps of more than 9.5cm (which can trap heads).
Buy the mattress with the cot.
That way you can ensure that they are a good fit. According to British Standards, a cot mattress should fit snugly with gaps of no more than 2cm between the centred mattress and the sides or ends of the cot.
Register your cot.
Every new cot comes with a product registration card, which you should fill in and return. This will ensure that you are kept informed if safety issues arise with your product.
Call in the assembly crew.
Cots are typically delivered unassembled, and assembly tends to be a two-person job. If you are unsure or nervous about assembling your cot, ask the retailer to send a qualified assembly crew to your home. This might seem expensive but it can give you valuable peace of mind.
Here at Bambizi we only use the finest timber and organic materials to make our furniture and everything is tested to British Standards, making it some of the safest nursery furniture on the market!