A travel cot may seem a simple piece of kit you pop up while on holiday, then pack away.
But keeping an eye on safe sleeping practices is just as important when you’re on your travels with your baby as it is when you’re at home.
With the Easter holidays looming and parents heading off for a break with little ones, follow the five tips below from our travel cot experts to keep your little one safe while sleeping on the go.
Need to buy one before you head off? Read our advice on how to buy the best travel cot.
Travel cot safety tips:
1) Keep it stable
Use the mattress that comes with the travel cot, as this is a key component in helping keep the travel cot stable. Some may seem thin, or hard, but using a different mattress may alter how well your travel cot holds up.
2) Don’t make escape too easy
Buy a new mattress, as lots of parents or carers do, and you could be inadvertently shortening the height between the top of the mattress and the cot, making it easier for determined toddlers to escape.
When we put this to the test on a number of travel cots, the distance between the mattress and the top of the cot ended up too short on just about all those we tested.
3) Beware of travel cot corners
Your baby’s clothes can snag on travel cot corners, which could lead to strangulation. Especially if your little climber decides to scale the sides in the night, or attempts an escape while your back is turned. All travel cots we review have to pass a snag test, where we dangle a heavy metal ball from a chain on the corners to check your baby can’t get caught.
4) Watch out for flexible sides
Pop-up tent-style travel cots may be super-easy to put up and take down again, and look pretty cool, but the lack of rigid sides on these travel cots means they may not take your weight if you accidentally stumble in the night and fall onto the cot. So, if you’re using this style of travel cot, be extra vigilant.
5) Keep an eye on zips
Stay alert of little people around any zips on your travel cot. The zips can sometimes easily detach from the mattress. They shouldn’t, but on some of the mattresses tested in our latest travel cots reviews, the zips came away. If a zip finds its way into your baby’s mouth, it’s a potential choking hazard or, worse still, it could then be inhaled by accident.
6) Try before your trip
Lastly, whether or not it’s a new travel cot, it’s worth popping it up before you pop off on your travels. Lisa Galliers, Which? baby & child expert says: ‘Set it up in advance of your trip and you can check it’s sturdy, that all the locking mechanism works and it will be a safe and comfy place for your baby to rest while you’re away.’
Best travel cots
Our latest, just published, travel cot reviews put big-name brands such as BabyBjorn and Nuna through a range of tough tests based on British Standards testing – making sure they’re safe, sturdy and durable for your baby.
Not sure what sort of travel cot you need and how much to spend? Our travel cot buying guide gives top tips on how to buy the best.