By Lisa Galliers
Cots and cot beds can be expensive, so buying one second-hand can save you money.
Whether you're buying new or second-hand, the same considerations apply, such as whether to get drop sides and which features you should look for.
Once you've decided what you want from a second-hand cot, or you're accepting a hand-me-down, there are some important points to consider:
- Avoid old family heirlooms as they may not meet current safety standards.
- Make sure it conforms with current British standards by looking for the BS EN 716: 2005 mark.
- Measure the bar spacing: the bars should be no more than 6.5cm apart so your baby can't get stuck between them.
- There must be at least 50cm between the top of the mattress and top of the cot.
- Check the drop-side mechanism works smoothly and stays reliably in the ‘up’ position.
- If there's any sign of peeling paint, strip and re-paint the cot.
- Remove any transfers on the inside of the cot because they could come off and become a choking hazard.
- Check there are no footholds, cut-outs or ledges in the sides or the ends that could help a baby climb out.
- Check there are no protrusions on the top rails where your child could catch his or her clothing, or get anything caught around his or her neck.
- Check the cot mattress carefully, making sure it's the correct size for the cot, is clean and has maintained its shape. Check for tears or splits in the cover. Unless you know the history of the mattress and are happy with its fit and condition, you should buy a new one.