Babies need lots of sleep, and during the first two years of their life they will on average spend more of their time sleeping than awake. If your baby sleeps in a cot, you should take cot safety into consideration. To ensure your baby is as safe as possible, check that the cot you are looking to purchase conforms to British Safety Standards BS EN 716.2008. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right cot for you and your baby.
The distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides should be at least 50cm, to prevent your baby from climbing out when they become more mobile.
Should be vertical; if they are horizontal your baby could use them as a ladder to climb out. The distance between the bars should be no more than 6.5cm (2.5in) apart so your baby can’t get stuck between the bars of the cot. Also look out for any footholds, cut-outs or ledges that could help your baby climb out.
Choose a mattress that feels firm rather than soft, this will ensure your baby is getting the right level of support he needs while sleeping. The mattress will need to be kept clean and dry, buy one that has a detachable top layer that you can wash at a high temperature. Or opt for a mattress protector, this will keep the mattress dry from any nappy leaks or dribbles. The mattress should be no thinner than 8cm and check it conforms to safety standards (mattresses should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10:1997).
Place your baby’s cot away from blind cords, drapes or near any electrical appliances, or they can be at risk of becoming entangled. Babies are less able to control their temperature, so the cot shouldn’t be near a radiator or sunny window. The ideal room temperature is between 16°C and 20°C. Cashmere is known to regulate babies body temperature all year around and it’s breathable material makes an excellent choice for you baby, aiding them to a better night’s sleep (click here for baby cashmere blankets) Invest in a simple room thermometer to keep an eye on your baby’s room temperature.
INSIDE THE COT
A clear cot is the safest. Cuddly toys, cot bumpers, wedges or sleep positioners can increase risk of head-covering that can lead to suffocation, as well as accidents caused by falls from using items inside the cot for leverage to climb out. This includes any pillows and duvets especially for babies under the age of one. Instead use a fitted sheet and light blanket that is tucked across your baby’s chest and under their arms, or you could invest in a sleeping bag. Sleeping bags with a fitted neck and armholes and no hood are the safest. The best and safest position for your baby is to have their feet at the bottom of the cot so they can’t wriggle down and get caught under the blanket.