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How to Choose a Cot
You’d think that a tiny little human doesn’t exactly take up much space, but boy, oh, boy are you wrong. Getting out the door with an infant requires more luggage than you do for a short-weekend trip, so you can only imagine what a child needs for day to day living at home.
While there are a whole bunch of products that are unnecessary and simply a ruse to get new parents to spend more money, there are certain things your baby can’t do without. Go ahead and skip the diaper genie, but don’t skimp on a quality cot.
A quality bed and/or Mattress to sleep on, is just as important for an infant as it is for an adult – if not more so, considering a small baby will spend up to 14 to 17 hours a day sleeping. Hence, choosing a cot is an area you will spend more research and possibly more money on.
Finding the right cot won’t just depend on a baby’s needs, but the parents too. One thing to consider, for example, is whether the cot will be set up in your room or the child’s bedroom, and whether it should be adjustable to the parents’ bed or not.
To help you narrow down your research, here is a list of important pointers that will guide you in how to choose a cot.
Consider the Space
Before you start looking into all the different cot types and designs available, take a moment to consider the space in which it will be set up. Your baby will be sleeping in the cot for at least three years, so you’ll want to be sure it’s not only safe and comfortable, but practical too.
If the cot will be taking up a corner of your own room for most of your child’s infancy, you might want to look into clever and space-saving, two-in-one options. This can prevent your room from looking cluttered whilst providing all the features needed for a perfect bedtime routine.
For a cot that will last your baby well into toddlerhood and that will serve the next few generations of your family, a bigger and sturdier model will be ideal, providing your child’s room has the necessary space.
Great Design Features
These days there are so many products and furniture pieces that can serve multiple purposes, which is great for anyone with tight living quarters or a love for innovative, space-saving design.
For example, some cots are fitted with a slide-on or click in changing table or extra storage beneath. These models are particularly attractive to parents who are co-sleeping or are working with a small nursery space.
Those attracted to minimalistic design, however, will prefer a simple cot that is built for sleeping and napping only – no other gadgets and trinkets needed. Don’t get too carried away with the style though – you will want comfort over appearance.
Flexibility & Adaptability
Babies tend to grow out of everything in a matter of seconds – their shoes, their clothes, their prams. Hence, when it comes to bigger purchases such as car seats and cots, you’ll want to be sure that it will last your child for a number of years, rather than having to replace the item every couple of years.
Cot beds can be converted into junior beds or couches when the time comes, which is definitely something worth considering even if it may be a bigger initial investment.
Moses baskets, on the other hand, are great for the first few months, when setting up bed wherever and whenever can make life easier on the parent. They aren’t, however, a long-term sleeping solution as babies grow out of them quickly.
It is also important for parents to consider their own comfort, so being able to adjust the base height of the cot is crucial if you want to avoid developing backpains from all the lifting and lowering your child in and out of bed.
This will also allow you to lower the base when your child is old enough to climb in and out of bed by themselves and will make it safer for them to do so.
Safety & Child-Friendly Materials
Once you have decided on the features and design of your cot, you’ll have to ensure that it is made of child-friendly materials and is built according to safety standards.
Remember, a newborn is so tiny, its head could easily fit through the bars if it’s not built to measurements. To ensure your child’s ultimate safety, ensure that the bars are no less than one inch and no more than 2.6 inches apart.
You will also need to look into the materials it was made and painted with – once your baby starts teething, it will bite down on anything to soothe the pain, including the edges of their cots, so you’ll want to be sure it is treated with non-toxic paints and stains and/or comes with a teething rail.
The Right Mattress
Cots and mattresses are usually sold separately, so you will have to put extra research into finding the right match.
For cots as well as mattresses, buying second-hand is always a great option if you are struggling for funds, however, for mattresses especially, there are certain things you need to look out for.
To ensure optimal health and safety for your child, the mattress should be thoroughly cleaned and free from cracks and tears. It should be firm and not sag anywhere, as your child’s body is still developing and needs the best support.
We would advise buying a brand new mattress if you can afford it however.
Whether you opt for a new or a second-hand mattress, always make sure that it fits into the cot perfectly and snugly – there should be no gaps between the mattress and the cot’s frame, for safety reasons.
The materials your baby’s mattress is made up of should be a top priority. Try to avoid buying one manufactured with the use of chemicals and opt for an organic brand instead, to prevent your child from developing possible allergies or health conditions due to residues.