Cot bed reviews: FAQs

Is it worth paying more than £300 for a cot bed?

A lady look for nursery furniture in a shop Shopping for a new baby is often cheaper online, but try nursery furniture before you buy

Many parents expect to spend between £200 and £300 on a cot bed.

Head to our cot bed reviews where you'll find cot beds costing between £150 and £600. 

Generally the more you pay the more solid-looking a cot bed you get, but you don’t need to pay through the nose to get a cot bed that is safe and solid.

You can buy cot beds with drop sides for the same price as fixed-side cots, depending on the brand, so if you want a drop side you don’t always have to pay more, but under-bed storage and day-bed or sleigh-bed styles will generally cost more.

Don’t forget that you normally buy the cot mattress separately.

Are drop-sided cot beds safe?

New rules to ban drop-side cots in the United States were introduced from June 2011, following the deaths of at least 32 babies because of defective drop-side cots since 2000, and recalls on 11 million cots since 2007.

Our nursery furniture safety experts believe that it would not be possible for the kind of accidents that occurred in the US to happen with a cot bed that complies with the British safety standards. British cots come under British safety standards, which are different from less stringent standards in the US.

However, in our cot bed tests we found that assembling a cot bed incorrectly can lead to minor problems that won’t happen if it is put together right – such as having to open the drop-side in an unintuitive manner, or placing the base up too high.

Always check the instructions carefully and retain them for future reference.

Why buy a cot bed rather than a cot?

A cot, which is easy to outgrow, is shown in a nursery setting

An old-fashioned crib or cot is soon outgrown

The big advantage is that a cot bed will last you longer than a cot because it is used both as a cot and as a junior bed.

Our furniture experts told us that most cot beds are long enough to last until a child is nine years old. But this will depend on the weight of the child, and how much abuse they put the bed through.

If you are going to use the junior bed for a long time, check that all of the bolts are firmly screwed in place regularly and that the joints are solid. Examine the slats for signs of cracking and damage.

For more information on buying a cot, head to our dedicated guide on choosing a cot.

What kind of cot bed mattress should I use?

There are a wide variety of cot bed mattresses on the market; choose one that fits your cot bed correctly and that you can easily keep clean.

The Lullaby Trust (formerly the Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Studies) makes recommendations, listed below.

  • It is very important that your baby’s mattress is kept clean and dry.
  • Ideally you should buy a new mattress for each new baby.
  • Use the one you have, as long as it was made with a completely waterproof cover and has no tears, cracks or holes. Clean and dry it thoroughly.
  • Always check that the mattress is in good condition; is flat and firm, not soft; fits the cot without any gaps; and doesn’t sag.
  • Never put your baby to sleep on a pillow, cushion, bean bag or waterbed.

Where should I put my cot bed?

A dangerous sleeping environment

A poorly placed cot, full of climbing, overheating and suffocation hazards

For the first six months it is safest for baby to sleep in the same room as you.

Once your baby has moved into their own room make sure that you do not place the cot or junior bed near a hot radiator, a sunny window, shelves, ledges or appliances that your baby can get hold of.

Also avoid locating it beneath a wall-hanging frame (especially one with glass or a mirror).

How do I know my baby won’t get their head trapped between the bars?

Look for a cot bed that conforms to British Standards BS EN716 as a cot and BS 8509 as a bed.

The distance between each bar should be not less than 25mm (one inch) and not more than 60mm (2.5 inches), so that your baby’s head can’t get trapped.

As your children get older keep an eye out to check that the bars remain smooth and securely fixed.

Any tips to stop my baby or toddler falling out of the cot bed?

  • Never leave your baby unattended in a cot with the drop-side down.
  • You can use your cot in the highest position until your baby is three months old.
  • Change the cot base to its lowest position once your baby can sit up unaided.
  • Change the cot to a bed as soon as your toddler can climb out.

Once the cot bed becomes a bed, you can buy L-shaped bed guards, The bottom part of the L slides in under the mattress while the uppermost bit sticks up, providing a soft barrier at the edge of the bed. Blow up guards to put under the sheet are also available.

For a homemade solution, put a rolled-up blanket or pillow under the outer edge of the mattress to raise it slightly - your toddler will have to roll up a small incline before they can fall out. The incline should make this harder to do.

Until your toddler is used to the bed, put a soft rug, blanket or duvet next to the bed to soften a fall if he or she does roll out.

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