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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting
skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen
years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity
ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!
A cot bed is a practical and popular way of lengthening the life of a cot as well
as helping to make the transition to a toddler bed as smooth as possible. When it's
time for buying a cot bed, there's no shortage for choice, function and style options.
As your baby will be spending the majority of his day in his cot bed, you need to
carefully consider his safety and comfort, your ease of access as well as space and
looks. To help you determine your choice, use this guide to help you arrive at an
What Is the Best Baby Cot?
1. Adjustable Base Position
The ability to adjust the height of the mattress as your baby grows is important.
Cot beds will generally come with 2 or 3 different settings for the mattress height,
most have 3.
With a newborn baby, you will want the highest position as this provides you with
the easiest access. Once your baby starts to push himself up onto his hands and knees
unaided, it's time to move the base down to make it safer for your baby. The sides
of the cot bed should be at least 500mm higher than the mattress when it is in its
2. Drop-Sides or Fixed Sides
Fixed sides simply means that access to your baby will only be possible by leaning
over and into the cot bed. For most people, a fixed side cot bed is fine but if you're
petite or have an existing back condition, drop-sides can be especially beneficial.
If you're going for a drop-side, choose one with a one-handed operation that's easy
to use. Also, the latches should be unreachable by your children to make them safe.
3. Cot bed Mattress
Ventilation is another key factor to consider as it's important to ensure a constant
flow of air around the baby’s head. In other words, you'll require a ventilation
system in the head and mid section of the mattress for when your baby is placed in
the ‘feet to foot’ position. You might also want to look for a wipe clean surface,
removable and reversible covers.
Also, make sure the mattress fits snugly into the frame. When you push the mattress
gently to one side, there should be no more than a 4cm gap to the rails.
You also should be able securely attach the mattress to the head and foot boards.
Mattresses should be firm, clean and dry, made from non-allergenic and non-toxic
materials and must meet high performance and safety standards.
Any mattress that you buy for your baby's cot should also be fire resistant. Keep
in mind that you'll need to buy cot bed bedding and not bedding designed for cots
otherwise it won't fit.
4. Teething Rails
When your baby starts teething, it's natural that he chews on the edges of the cot.
Teething rails will help protect your baby's teeth during this stage and prevent
any damage to the cot.
5. Spaces Between the Slats
This is an extremely important safety aspect. You need to pay extra attention to
the distance between the spaces of the slats so that your baby’s head cannot get
stuck between the railings.
It's recommended in the UK that the size of the spaces between the gaps in the railings
must be 45-65mm, and less than 60mm wide in the mattress base.
6. Build, Quality and Finish
Be sure to choose a sturdy cot bed. If you assemble the cot bed yourself, always
check that all of the screws, bolts and fittings are present and securely fastened.
If there're corner posts, they must not be higher than 1.5mm and the cot bed should
not have sharp edges, exposed hardware or splintered wood.
And, any finishes that have been applied to the cot bed should be non lead based
and be non toxic.
Cot beds don't come cheap but it's worth paying for one that will suit your baby's
needs. Budget the amount of money you are prepared to spend and don't forget when
you shop around online, compare different cot retailers' prices and terms of warranty
before buying your new baby cot.