Cot bed safety: The hidden dangers on your baby’s cot bed

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  • If you're looking to buy a cot bed for your little one, there are a few rules and regulations to follow before buying it including some hidden dangers which its best you are aware of.

    Cot bed safety is always a parents’ biggest concern. We’ll spend hours trawling websites for the five-star kids products and pour over reviews and recommendations before parting with our cash, in the knowledge that we’re making the best possible choices for our child. Unfortunately, however, sometimes companies can get it wrong.

    When it comes to buying a cot bed for your little one, it really is best to make sure its as safe and as practical as possible. It’s all about keeping your baby safe and comfortable so they have the best sleep possible.

    Here are three crucial cot bed checks you really must do before buying to make sure you’ve got the best cot bed safety possible.

    Cot bed safety checks

    cot bed safety

    Credit: Getty

    1. Width between bars

    The space between the bars should be no more than 6.5cm to prevent your baby from getting stuck. This is particularly important to remember when buying a second hand cot bed, which might not adhere to the latest safety standards.

    2. Height adjustable base

    This allows you to alter the height as your baby grows, keeping him or her secure from a little baby to when he or she can pull themselves up to stand. The distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides should be at least 50cm, to prevent your baby from climbing out when they become more mobile. You need to make sure that your baby’s arms or legs cannot get caught down the side of the cot or between bars.

    Psst! We’ve rounded up some of the best cots currently on sale including Mothercare and John Lewis’ most popular cot beds.

    3. Drop sides

    It is worth considering whether you want fixed or drop-sides. US safety regulations on cot beds were changed in June 2011, banning drop-sides after a series of babies were killed after being trapped beneath them. British nursery furniture experts state that the differences in UK cot bed design mean that it would not be possible for incidents like those in the US to happen on a British-made bed – but if you’re still worried, fixed-side cot beds are are available instead.

    4. Circulation

    Some experts recommend cots with four sides that have bars to allow air to circulate freely around your baby when they sleep.

    5. British Safety Standards Code

    When buying a cot, you need to look out for the British safety standards code: BSEN716 which should be on all cots as well as the BSI number: BS 1877-10:1997 for the mattress for your cot.
    Not only should you look at your cot when thinking about cot bed safety, but you should make sure the mattress follows British standards too. The firmer the mattress, the better. There’s no need for duvet or toys etc. in your little ones bed to start with either. Keep it simple and safe. Our guide to baby bed safety explains more.

    Concerns surrounding kids’ cot beds have come to light after a particular item was recalled from sale when it nearly caused the deaths of two young children. The Baumhaus Nutkin cot bed was recalled from sale in 2013 after two children were seriously injured. The Nutkin cot bed, by Baumhaus, was pulled from stores after the bed brought two young children ‘very close to serious harm or death’.

    The concerns were the potential ‘trap-hazards’, i.e. places where children could trap their head and neck in the gaps at the top, and their fingers in the drill holes. It was also concluded that children’s clothes could snag on the sides of the bed, also potentially trapping them.

    Although the original design was recalled, there is a new, modified version still available for around £500.

    More recently the Baumhaus boss, who is facing a £20,000 fine or possibly even a prison sentence, admitted that there may still be some potentially dangerous cot beds in use. Speaking to consumer watchdog, Which?, he said that while 93 per cent of the cot beds have now been recalled, a small number could still be in use.

    If you still have one of the recalled Baumhaus Nutkin cot beds, get in touch and they’ll organise a collection for you.