Product categories

Cots (household)

Household cot with slats
Check Cots (household) for more information
The mandatory standard for household cots came into effect on 3 December 2005. It covers various requirements for new, second-hand, antique and collectable cots.

Under the mandatory standard, household cots are permanent sleeping enclosures for infants and babies that have raised sides and ends. Cots are usually rectangular with sides and ends made of slats or filler bars. Often one side drops down to give easy access to a child.

Circular cots are also available. These are made with walls that have no slats. There are also cots available that convert to a toddler bed. When working as a cot, these must comply with the mandatory standard.

On this page:

Hazards

Falls

Children can suffer serious injuries such as concussion and fractures if they fall when trying to climb out using footholds or objects left in the cot.

Strangulation

Infants can become trapped and strangled if their clothing gets snagged on parts of a cot that stick out (protrusions), or if their head becomes trapped between gaps.

Suffocation

Babies can become trapped and suffocate if they fall into gaps created by ill-fitting or additional mattresses, or if they are caught up in the fabric of soft toys and extra pillows and bumpers.

Entrapment

Infants can suffer injuries to their arms and legs if they become trapped between gaps.

Mandatory standard

This mandatory standard is based on Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household usesafety requirements.

AS/NZS 2172:2003 is a voluntary standard except for those sections specifically called up by the mandatory standard. For complete information about all mandatory requirements for household cots, you must read Consumer Protection Notice No. 6 of 2005.  This information is essential to ensure you and your business comply.

The mandatory standard came into effect on 3 December 2005.

Does this apply to your business?

Under the ACL supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
  • in relation to services - provide, grant of confer. 

This mandatory standard applies to anyone in the business of supplying household cots, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

To allow for staggered implementation, there are some cases where a mandatory standard or ban prescribes different compliance dates for the manufacturing, importing and supply of a product. Manufacturers, importers and distributors should check for this detail in the mandatory standard before embarking on production, importation or distribution of these goods.

 

Complying with the mandatory standard

For complete information about the mandatory requirements for household cots we strongly advise you to read:

Suppliers may also find the Regulation impact statement—Household cots helpful in understanding aspects of the mandatory standard. 

Penalties and consequences

Supplying household cots that do not comply with the mandatory standard can make you liable for heavy fines and product recalls. For more details, view Penalties and consequences. 

Some key requirements

The requirements noted below are key requirements only. They may help to give suppliers a general idea of the detail they must look up in the mandatory standard. This information may also assist consumers when they are choosing cots.

While we provide some advice on this page to help you understand aspects of the standard you can visually check, suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.

Testing

While the mandatory standard includes some features you can visually or physically check, it also specifies testing to ensure cots meet requirements for impact, strength, load, durability and stability. Suppliers need to organise this testing through specialist testing laboratories with the right skills, experience and equipment.

Design and construction—new cots

Cots can either be fixed base or have up to two allowed base positions.

Fixed base cots and cots in the lowest base position

The distance between the top of the mattress base and the top edge of the lowest cot side or end must be a minimum of:

  • 600 mm when the access is closed
  • 250 mm when the access is open.

Cots in the upper base position

This distance between the top of the mattress base and the top edge of the lowest cot side or end must be a minimum of:

  • 400 mm when the access is closed
  • 250 mm when the access is open.

Slats or filler bars

The distance between slats or filler bars must be at least 50 mm.

Cot mattresses

Cot mattresses of the recommended size must be no more than:

  • 20 mm from any cot side or end when centred on the mattress base
  • 40 mm when the mattress is pushed to one side or end.

Footholds or toeholds

The cot must not have any:

  • footholds or toeholds between 150 and 550 mm above the mattress base
  • protrusions or bits that stick out greater than 5 mm, unless they are designed not to snag clothing
  • accessible sharp edges or points.

Safety and performance—new cots

Cots must not have any hazardous gaps:

  • between 30 and 50 mm that can entrap a child’s limbs
  • greater than 95 mm that could trap a child’s head or neck.

Informative labels—new cots

The cot must come with information about:

  • safe assembly
  • safe use
  • recommended mattress size.

Suppliers must provide this information on:

  • a leaflet with the cot
  • a swing tag or label attached to the cot
  • external packaging that comes with the cot
  • the actual cot.

Safety markings—new cots

Cots must have a legible, durable and prominent marking on the mattress base which provides information about:

  • the supplier
  • recommended mattress size and thickness
  • recommended use of adjustable bases on cots that have this feature.

Second-hand cots

Second-hand cots have the same design and construction requirements as new cots. There are three exceptions:

  • protrusions must be no greater than 8 mm
  • there must be no gaps greater than 95 mm but there is no requirement preventing gaps between 30 and 50 mm
  • there are no requirements for informative labels and safety markings.

Regardless of these exceptions, it is wise to only use second-hand cots that come with:

  • full instructions for safe assembly and use
  • all necessary parts in good working order.

Antique and collectable cots

It is illegal for retail, second-hand or antique shops and internet sites to supply antique and collectable cots that do not come with mandatory certificates and labels.

Certificates

The cot should be supplied with a certificate warning consumers that it is not safe to place a child in the cot.

Labels

Two permanently fixed metal plaques on the cot with the words:

Antique and collectable cot warning label example

Alerts

Loose or looped cords near cots can accidentally strangle and kill small children. Babies have died from being strangled in blind, curtain and electrical cords they accessed in their cots. There are simple steps you can take when preparing baby's sleep area to make sure it's safe from these hazards.

Legal cases and undertakings

Date commenced: 11th March 2008
ATI Enterprise Pty Ltd—a number of cots did not comply with the mandatory standard for cots for household use.
Date commenced: 1st April 2008
Jinlong Shen—cots did not comply with the mandatory standard for household cots.

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