Choosing a cot

Baby basics ... It's vital your child's cot is a safe place for her.
Baby basics ... It's vital your child's cot is a safe place for her. 

Cots might only be used for a relatively short period of time in your time’s life, but it’s vital that they're safe for your little one to use. Here’s what CHOICE says to look for when buying a cot.

Safety
It’s important that your child is as safe as possible in their cot. Here are some things to look out for.

  • Standards certified: The cot should be certified to the Australian safety standard AS/NZS 2172; the 2003 version is still currently the mandatory version of the standard. CHOICE tests show that some cots with this label might still fail some safety criteria, perhaps due to manufacturing variations, but standards certification is the benchmark. Most cots are certified when first produced, but might then be manufactured for several years without ever being re-certified, which means manufacturing variations can subtly change the cot over time. We think manufacturers should get their cots re-certified at least every two years.
  • Sturdy and durable: All components should be permanently fixed or require the use of a tool to take apart.
  • The right dimensions: Take a tape measure with you when you’re shopping for a cot so you can check the dimensions, as explained in the following points.
  • Deep enough to stop a child from falling out: the distance from the top of the mattress to the top of the lowest side when the dropside is closed should be at least 500mm when the base is set in the lowest position. The depth should be 300mm when it is in the upper position. The depth should also be at least 150mm when the dropside is down. 
  • The mattress should fit snugly around all sides: When you choose a mattress, make sure there’s no more than a 40mm gap between the edge of the mattress and the adjacent cot side when the mattress is pushed to the opposite side. Gaps at the sides are a suffocation risk as your baby could roll face-first into them.
  • Check there are no head entrapment hazards: Any large space or opening must be between 50mm and 95mm to stop your baby from either getting caught or falling out.
  • There should be no limb entrapment hazards: Smaller openings shouldn’t be between 30mm and 50mm wide.
  • Check for finger entrapment hazards: Any space or opening shouldn’t be between 5mm and 12mm wide, as these spaces can catch little fingers.
  • The dropside should be secure and smooth to operate: The dropside should be impossible for a child to open but should be convenient for the child’s carer to operate.
  • Make sure there are no sharp edges or hazardous protrusions: Nothing should stick out or point up that could hit a child’s head or snag on their clothing.
  • Check the finish: All the components of the cot should be blunt, smooth and gently contoured.
  • There should be no footholds: There shouldn’t be any component or structure in the cot you’re your child could use as a ledge for climbing out.
  •  Measure the dropside clearance: When you open the dropside it should be at least 50mm off the floor, to make sure it doesn’t hit your feet.

Additional features to think about

  • Junior bed conversion: If the cot converts to a junior bed, you’ll get much longer use from it.
  • Teething strips: These are plastic strips on the wooden edges of the cot, such as the top of the dropside, so that neither the baby nor the cot is damaged if it’s chewed on.
  • Castors and brakes: Castor wheels make the cot easier to move around, but there should be lockable brakes on at least two wheels.

Outgrowing the cot
Children are ready to move onto a bed when they can stand confidently in a cot, shake the sides of the cot, or start trying to climb out. Making this change at the right time will help to prevent injuries associated with the child falling out of the cot. Most cots come with a junior bed conversion kit that will increase its longevity, although sometimes these parts are sold as optional extras.

CHOICE cot reviews
CHOICE reviewed 62 cots, including 12 newly-tested models. Through their rigorous testing, they reveal which cots are the safest and most durable (as set out by selected clauses of the Australian/New Zealand standard for cots, AS/NZS 2172:2003), which ones provide the best information and labelling as set out by the Standard, and which ones are easiest to use.

The CHOICE testers, Antonio Bonacruz and Matthew Tung, assess each cot against the mandatory safety clauses from the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172:2003. Only cots that meet these requirements are recommended. Cots are also tested against some non-mandatory clauses that add to the cot’s safety, such as tests for finger traps. These are not considered critical, so cots that fail these other clauses can still be recommended.

The testers assess the cot’s instructions, labels and markings against the requirements of the standard. Clear and correct information, such as maintenance and usage instructions and date of manufacture, help make the cot safer to use. However, we do not consider the information requirements as critical as the safety tests, so cots that fail these requirements may still be recommended or worth considering.

The following is a list of the cots newly tested by CHOICE:

Advertisement
  • Babyhood Amani
  • Boori Pioneer
  • Cheekybub Scallywag
  • Childcare Lullabye XT
  • IKEA Hensvik
  • Leander Walnut
  • Love N Care Regal
  • Mothercare Summer Oak
  • Mother's Choice Melrose
  • Nature's Purest 91550
  • Regent Ascot
  • Tasman Eco Modena

These cots have been tested in the past (list includes discontinued models):

  • Babyhood Georgia Sleigh
  • Babyhood Luna V2
  • Babyhood Qtee
  • BéBé Care Coventry XT
  • BéBé Care Surrey Cot Slat End
  • Boori Madison 3 in 1
  • Boori Matilda
  • Boori Urbane Hamilton 3 in 1
  • Bootiq Annabelle
  • Bootiq Brijette
  • Cariboo Q03
  • Childcare Balmoral
  • Childcare Durham XT
  • Childcare Harbour XT
  • Childcare Sandford XT
  • Childcare Sussex XT
  • Delta Jasmine
  • Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler cot bed
  • Funtastic Humprey's Corner 2 in 1
  • Grotime C34 Babe
  • Grotime C48 Ritz
  • Grotime C49 Harriet
  • Grotime Tempo
  • Grotime Venus 
  • Ikea Gulliver
  • IKEA Hermelin
  • IKEA Leksvik
  • IKEA Mammut
  • Ikea Sniglar
  • King Parrot Byron
  • Kingparrot Daintree
  • Kingparrot Scout
  • Kingparrot Yarra
  • Love N Care Classic
  • Love N Care Euro
  • Love N Care Florida II
  • Love N Care Sereno
  • Love N Care Vogue
  • Mother's Choice Bellevue
  • Regent Ascot
  • Regent Mayfair
  • Regent Nu Gembrook
  • Regent Sherbrooke
  • Sunbury Dreamtime C102
  • Sunbury Lombok C124
  • Swallow Jessie
  • Tasman Eco Capri
  • Tasman Eco Siena
  • Tasman Eco Tuscany
  • Zuzu Serenity

For the results of the cot test, you can visit the full cot comparison report on the CHOICE website.

Download your free CHOICE guide for expectant parents, or for more expert, unbiased product tests and information, visit choice.com.au.