The majority of parents from a Which? survey said they had issues with their cot mattress, some of which could be a serious safety risk.
The proportion of cot mattresses with problems increased if it was second-hand.
Read on to find out what the main problems are, why they matter, and how Which? testing can help you find a cot mattress that won't be a risk to your child.
In February 2021, Which? asked 1,878 parents with children aged up to five years if they'd experienced any issues with their cot mattresses. A staggering six in 10 said they had.
Breaking this stat down into parents with a new cot mattress and those with a second-hand one, we found almost half of parents with a new mattress had problems but this rises to almost nine in 10 for second-hand owners.
The problems parents described aren't trivial either, some present serious safety risks for your child.
|Issue||The associated safety risk||New cot mattresses owners with this issue||Second-hand cot mattresses owners with this issue|
|Gap(s) between the mattress and cot bed frame||A trapped limb in the gap could cause an injury||10%||24%|
|Indents forming on the cot mattress during use||Mattress not being firm enough and could be a suffocation risk for a newborn baby||9%||25%|
|Zips on mattress covers breaking||Zip being small enough to potentially be a choking risk if your child swallows it||11%||27%|
The table shows the percentage of parents whose cot mattress has had these issues. On average, around one in 10 new cot mattresses had one of these safety risks, while this increases to one in four if the mattress is second-hand.
At Which? we do not recommend buying a cot mattress second-hand, and the survey evidence agrees - there is a much greater chance of it having a problem with a serious safety risk associated with it.
We take safety seriously at Which?, and our cot mattress safety tests go above and beyond to ensure it will provide a safe nights sleep for your baby.
We test to the current cot mattress safety standard (BS EN 16890:2017 + A1:2021). While it's voluntary, meaning cot mattresses are not required to meet it to be on sale, manufacturers are strongly encouraged to meet it to reduce the risks and hazards for babies and young children.
Our tests check for the following:
If a cot mattress we test doesn't pass the requirements set out by the safety standard, we don't recommend it.
You can be certain that a recommendation from Which? means the cot mattress meets the safety standard and provides a supportive, comfortable nights sleep for your little one.
We do not recommend buying or using a second-hand cot mattress. Where possible, always buy new. This is also the advice of The Lullaby Trust.
Buying new doesn't mean buying expensive. In fact, the average price of a Best Buy cot mattress is £95.75 whereas a Don't Buy is £135.29.* It's cheaper to be safer!
However, if you have to buy second-hand it is essential you take a few extra steps to make sure the mattress won't be a safety risk down the line. Always ask if you can check the cot mattress yourself before paying. If a reseller won't let you then we advise you don't buy from them.
Use this simple check list to make sure the second-hand cot mattress is fit for use:
* Average prices correct as of 7 October 2021