Keeping baby safe - cot safety

Summary: Provides you with tips and advice on choosing and using a cot safety.

Published: 12 July 2011

Buying a cot can be confusing. This video will give you some information on what you should look out for when buying your cot, along with important safety tips when using a cot.

A cot may have a fixed mattress base or two base heights.

Some cots may have a drop side. Some may not.

You may not know it but the gaps on all new cots have mandatory sizes for any opening, like between the bars. These are designed to stop your baby getting stuck or injured.

No cot can have a gap or opening between 30 and 50 mm wide or greater than 95 mm wide. The bars, rails or panels should have between 50 to 95 mm of space between them and there should be no more than 20 mm between the cot side or ends and the mattress when it’s centred on the mattress base.

For fixed base costs the distance from the base to the lowest part of the top of the cot should be at least 600 mm when the drop side is up and 250 mm when the drop side is down.

It’s a little trickier for adjustable base cots but the distance between the base and the lowest part of the of top of the cot should be at least:

400 mm when the base is in the highest position and the drop-side is up

600 mm when the base is in the lowest position, again when the drop-side is up

250 mm when the base is in the highest position and the drop-side is down.

These height requirements will make sure your baby does not fall or climb out of the cot.

And remember always look for any bits that stick out, so babies don’t bump into anything and their clothing doesn’t catch on anything that may constrain their movement or cause them harm.

For new cots nothing should be sticking out further than 5 mm.

Now you have your cot, always remember the following safety habits:

Always follow the assembly instructions.

Only use the mattress size recommended by the manufacturer.

Place the cot in a safe spot.

And if the cot has brakes make sure they are locked.

Once your baby is able to sit up , an adjustable cot’s mattress base should be set at its lowest point.  Make sure the drop side is always up when your baby is sleeping.

Never put pillows, electric blankets or hot water bottles in a cot with your baby. Don’t leave anything in the cot that your baby could use for climbing such as toys or books, or anything that might smother them.

Antique and collectable cots are for display only and are not for your baby to sleep in. These cots don’t meet modern safety standards so don’t be tempted to use an antique cot because it looks great or has been in your family for a long time: your baby’s safety is much more important.

This information is from the ACCC’s Keeping baby safe booklet – your guide to ensuring your child’s safety around the house. It contains information like you’ve just seen on a wide range of products.

To order your copy simply visit the product safety website or call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.