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Put safety first when choosing a cot
Never use antique or heirloom cots. They may be gorgeous, but they have not been designed to meet today's safety standards. They often have hazardous openings or points of entanglement. They may also be weak with age or covered with lead-based paint.

Choose a new or very recently handed-down cot with a label stating that it meets Australian Standard AS 2172. Check to be sure that:

  • No bars on the cot are more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
  • Cots of 1,000 mm in length are designed for children up to 12 kg. Cots greater than 1,000 mm in length are designed for children up to 18 kg.
  • The space between the cot bars must be 50 mm minimum, 85 mm maximum, to prevent baby's head or limbs being cauth between the bars.
  • The depth of the cot (i.e. from the mattress to the top of the cot) must be a minimum of 500 mm to prevent the baby toppling out when she stands.
  • The cot msut be stable.
  • Dropside cots must be fastened with special cot latches, not bolts. Check for security and ensure fingers cannot get caught easily.
  • Avoid small decorative knobs on the cot uprights. These could catch clothing and pull tight.
  • Look for smooth rounded edges and splinter free timber.
  • Mattress should fit snugly.
  • Ensure baby cannot slip a foot between the base of the cot and the dropside.
  • If the base is other than slats, ensure plenty of ventilation holes for adequate circulation of air. This will prevent mildew through collection of moisture under mattress.
  • Wooden slats on the base are preferable to metal. Slats should be no more than 85 mm apart.
  • Solid ends on the cot prevent draughts.
  • Decorative transfer should not be applied to any surface inside the cot.
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education