Nursery Furniture - Health & Safety Tips
Making sure your baby has the safest night’s sleep
With your child being the most precious item in the world to you, it makes sense as a parent to ensure they always get the best you can possibly provide. And when it comes to sleep, this is perhaps even more important as it is the time when your child is, in essence, independent from your immediate care. Therefore, when choosing a cot, it makes sense to consider key features so both you, and your baby, both sleep soundly.
Key Features you should look for in a cot
- Safety First
Cots should always adhere to the strictest of current safety legislation. Choose a good supplier and your cot could even exceed the required standards. In the UK this is the British safety standards (BSEN716) but cots from outside the UK will have European safety standards. Research your cot and if in doubt, contact the manufacturer for further information.
- Size of the cot
The size of the cot is designed with safety at the forefront.
Guidelines state that there should be 50cm between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides as this minimises the risk of falls.
All cot bars are vertical with a dividing gap of 6.5cm or less, as this prevents baby’s head getting stuck and a child cannot use the slats as a ladder.
Bars on all sides are preferred by some experts as they increase ventilation. If there are any cut out shapes as a cot feature, there should be no risk of any parts of the body getting trapped.
- Choice of cot mattress
Cot mattresses are extremely important due to the associated risk of cot death.
Preferably buy a new mattress. If you do choose second-hand, ensure that it is clean and dry with no tears or rips and it should always feel firm and intact.
Make sure your mattress is the right size for your cot as gaps can be lethal.
Keep your mattress in good condition by covering with a washable mattress protector and always wipe-clean after accidents.
A mattress should never be thinner than 10cm and should be firm as opposed to soft.
Check for a safety statement. In the UK mattresses conform to BSI number BS 1877-10:1997.
Do your research when it comes to type of mattress just as you would with an adult bed.
- Buying second-hand
This is a viable option as long as you double-check all important features.
Does it conform to British/European safety standards?
Was it painted with safety paint (pre-1973 cots used toxic paints)?
Is there anything stuck on? Take it off, especially if there are any signs of peel.
Is there any damage? Check nothing is sticking out and there are no potential hazards.
If it has a drop down side, do the mechanisms work? Will it stay ‘up’?
Are they as safe as a brand new cot? Check our list above.
If it has a mattress, is it in perfect condition? Check our list for details of what to look for.
Other key considerations
Place the cot in a cool place away from a radiator or sunny window. Ensure there is nothing for baby to grab, like a curtain cord.
Babies under one should not use a duvet or pillow.
Do not fill the cot with toys and clutter.
Cot bumpers are currently not in fashion or advised due to safety concerns.
Ensure the bedroom is not too hot. A temperature of between 16 and 20 degrees celcius is recommended.
Place baby on their back to sleep. Feet should be at the bottom so there’s no ‘wriggle’.
For the first 6 months, consider keeping baby in a cot in your room.
Further information can be found here:
The NCT offers information on childhood related issues. Their helpline is 0300 330 0700. They offer group sessions also.
The Department of Health offers guidance on reducing the risk of cot death.
The Lullaby Trust is an organisation that offers support relating to sleeping safely.