Household cots

This mandatory standard applies to household cots that are new, second-hand, antique, and collectable.

About household cots

Household cots can include the following types:

  • rectangular cots (typically) that are a permanent sleeping enclosure for an infant or baby with raised sides and ends made of slats or filler bars. Often one side drops down to give easy access to a child
  • circular cots that are made with walls that have no slats
  • cots that convert to a toddler bed. When this type of cot is constructed to work as a cot, it must comply with the mandatory standard.

The mandatory standard prescribes requirements for the design, construction, labelling and testing of a cot.

Hazards

Children can become trapped if their head or limbs become trapped between gaps or strangled if their clothing gets snagged on parts of a cot that stick out (protrusions). They can also become trapped and suffocate if they fall into gaps created by ill-fitting mattresses.

Children can suffer serious injuries such as concussion and fractures if they fall when trying to climb out using footholds. Arms and legs can be injured if they become trapped between gaps.

Mandatory standard

Consumer Protection Notice No. 6 of 2005 sets out the mandatory requirements for household cots.

The mandatory standard is based on certain sections of the voluntary Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household use - safety requirements. AS/NZS 2172:2003 is available from SAI Global.

You must consult the mandatory standard for these details.

Key requirements

These requirements aim to give suppliers a general idea of what is required by the mandatory standard. Suppliers must not rely on this information as a complete guide to compliance.

Testing

The mandatory standard requires that cots meet requirements for impact, strength, load, durability and stability. It is recommended that suppliers organise product testing through specialist testing laboratories with the right skills, experience and equipment to ensure cots comply with the mandatory standard.

Design and construction of 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

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

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

Cots must have 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:

Warning: thsi cot does not meet the mandatory standard. For display purposes only. It is dangerous to place a child in this cot.

Does this apply to your business?

Under the Australian Consumer Law supply includes:

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

This ban applies to anyone in the business of supplying this product, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers
  • hirers.

Product category