Your new-born baby could be sleeping up to 18 hours a day, the right sleeping arrangement 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, luckily, we have created a 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, length less than 90cm, suitable for the first a few months of infant sleep.
Essentially, crib is alternative version of Moses basket, may attach onto or aside of parent’s bed, .
PRO: benefits of co sleeping close at night.
CON: usually last less than 4 months, expensive than traditional Moses basket, less value than years use of cot/cot bed.
Cot in the UK, normally suitable from birth to one year old, usually fit a mattress size of 100 x 50 cm. 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 the most popular choice. Start as a cot, convert into a toddler bed once baby outgrow the cot. a UK/EU standard cot bed fit a mattress size of 120 x60 cm or 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 low as £70, a high end model may worth £1500 or more. It mostly comes down to the amount of material, quality of material, craftsmanship, finishes and packaging. i.e. luxurious woods, detail profile, features and protection for transit.
Most domestic cots are made of natural wood, Pine being the most commonly used. A soft wood, prone to scratches and dents, but super renewable material giving an excellent finish. Poplar is another soft wood but not as widely available. Birch, Beech and Oak are hard woods, not as environmental friendly, which make them more expensive. Furniture made of hard woods are often a little more resistant to wear and tear.
Engineered wood also in use, MDF, plywood, with layer of wooden or plain colour finish. such material cost less than real wood.
Ideally the cot can be used again for another new baby, but mattress must be replaced with new.
Style and features
Style and features of cot bed are personally preferences. Stylish design such as sleigh would attract higher cost. The price increase if the cot has more of curves, upholstery and added features. Cot design with straight lines and few profile detail, cost much less, serve the purpose, but sacrificed convenience features and quality.
If you are first time parent, seek 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 with nappy changing arrangement, 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, approved by a reputable international laboratory.
If the item is available vie reputable national resellers, usually means the item has been audited to ensure public safety, therefore conform to British and European safety standards, and 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 an online market, with no audit in place to list product for sale. Seller may well state the product meet the standards, but potentially inadequately checked.
British and European Standards below for reference. (updated July 2021)
Crib — EN 1130:2020 – Children’s furniture – Cribs – Safety requirements and test methods
Cot — EN 716-1/2:2017+AC:2019 Furniture. 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 — EN 16890:2017 Mattresses for cots and cribs. Safety requirements and test methods
Paint, Finish & Materials — EN 71-3:2019+A1:2021 Safety of toys. Migration of certain elements
Check the brand comply with EN71-3 safety standards, a preliminary screening that looks at the total migration of all the families of heavy metals listed. The result is a detailed report that can be used to demonstrate compliance. Our report demonstrate migration of metals below food grade.
For additional peace of mind, our products comply with REACH, the EU and UK regulation regarding hazardous chemicals in consumer products, which screen for usage of total 211 SVHC (substance of very high concern), the most recent updated in January 2021.
The main benefit of a cot bed is that it can be converted to a toddler bed by removing one or both sides. Some of our designs have splint ends so the bed end can be lowered.
As soon as sign of baby climb the side, convert the cot to bed, usually about 18 months old.
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 - EN 716-1-2:2017+AC:2019
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 fall. 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.
2-3 spindles removable 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 not recommend it, prevent possible incident.
White or Grey, the most popular colour. unisex and fit well in most setting. Wood colour still available, Check if solid wood or finish over engineered wood.
Now you know all basics of the cot bed, before you start search, have a look at the checklist of things to do first:
Read our mattress guide as well, before choose your mattress and to ensure the safest sleeping space for your baby.