So, your new baby is on its way! Congratulations!
You'll need so many things for this new little person... and one of those is a place to sleep- a cot or crib.
Online is a great place to start! You'll quite possibly end up with a far better bargain on a cot than a traditional baby store, which can be expensive, for the very same item. So, look around on some of the baby supplies websites and see what's on offer.
But first, there are some things to consider...
When choosing a cot for your baby it is important to make sure that it will be a safe haven, not a potential death trap. Young babies can suffocate or choke, older babies and toddlers can injure themselves by falling if trying to climb out, or by catching their arms, legs or heads in between bars or on catches.
Some of the features your cot should include:
- No spaces in which limbs can be trapped- no gaps wider than your hand.
- No horizontal bars, which would make it easier for a child to climb out.
- Secure locking mechanisms- easy for adults, but difficult for young children, which clearly shows when it is locked and unlocked.
- If more than 2 castors are used on the legs, brakes must be fitted on those in excess of 2.
- Snug fitting mattress.
- No decoration which could present a choking hazard.
Points to remember:
- Assemble according to manufacturer's instructions- keep instruction book safe for future reference.
- Check and tighten any bolts or screws regularly.
- If the cot has brakes, use them!
- Set the mattress base level at the lowest position (if it is adjustable), especially once your child can sit up, to make it harder to climb out.
- Keep the cot away from heaters, power points, windows and mirrors, curtains, blind cords, shelves or other furniture which could provide leverage for climbing, and make sure there are no pictures etc above the cot, which could potentially fall on the child.
- Do not leave small toys in the cot because of choking hazards, or large toys because of suffocation risks, or as a possible climbing aid. Also, do not leave mobiles etc with cords or elastic over cot, while you are not there, within reach of the child. Remember, this reach will extend as the child learns to sit, then stand.
- Preferably don't use pillows for children under 2 years, especially V or U pillows, as they pose a suffocation risk.
- Don't use hot water bottles or electric blankets with babies or young children.
- Move the child to its own bed once it begins to seriously try to climb out.
Be wary of accepting an older secondhand cot.
Check it out first for the following possible hazards:
- Correct bar spacing- not too wide, not too narrow.
- Sides high enough so climbing out is very difficult.
- High corner posts- posts may catch clothes, causing possible strangulation risks.
- Are the catches child-proof... but not adult-proof?
- What kind of paint does the cot have? Many old cots, especially heirloom ones, have lead based paint which is poisonous... and little ones love to chew!
- Does it have a good condition mattress? If not, can you still get the right size to fit?
- Is it free from rust, broken parts and sharp bits?
- Does it conform to the Australian Standard?
If the cot doesn't pass the test, pass it up!
It's not worth risking the health... and possibly the life... of your precious baby, just to save some money.
Happy hunting for just the right cot for your baby...