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Travel cot safety

By Anna Studman

Essential checks to make sure your travel cot is safe for your baby to use.

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All cots sold in the UK must meet the European safety standards, and this includes travel cots. 

Cot mattress safety

The same safe sleep rules apply to travel cots as to regular cot beds. The Lullaby Trust advises that you make sure the cot has a firm, flat mattress covered in waterproof material. Travel cot mattresses can be thinner and harder than ones in normal cots, but you still shouldn't add any blankets to the mattress to make it more comfortable, as this can risk your baby overheating.  

Travel cots are great for short stints away from home or for daytime naps, but are not intended for use over a long period of time. The mattresses do not tend to be as thick as permanent cot mattresses, and travel cots themselves are less durable.

To see which travel cots impressed us, check out our travel cot top picks. (Note to subs: link still to come)

Travel cot wheels

Many travel cots have wheels to make them easier to move around. In the interests of safety, you should check that the wheels either lock effectively, or that there are two wheels and two legs, so that the cot does not roll inadvertently. 

Buying a second-hand travel cot

A second-hand travel cot can be a good option, especially because you are only likely to use one occasionally. Before you buy, make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Ask for the original instructions if there’s nothing printed on the cot.
  • Make sure it's labelled as complying with British Standards Institution (BSI) safety standards. It should be labelled with the number BS EN 716:1 2008.
  • Check the mattress is in good condition and there's no obvious damage to the cot, such as holes in the mesh sides.
  • Make sure the mattress is a proper fit. Travel cots don’t all have the same basic dimensions, and the way the mattress folds is integral to the packing-away process – so one that’s the wrong size can make it difficult to store neatly. For safety, the mattress top should be at least 50cm below the top rail of the cot.
  • Check the base for damage and make sure the frame doesn't have flaking paint or sharp edges.
  • Try folding and unfolding the cot several times to check that it locks securely into place every time.
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