My apologies to anyone who isn't super interested in cots, because I'm about to go DEEP and DETAILED on our top tips for picking the best cot for your baby!
This blog post was inspired by a discussion I had with my sister, who is pregnant with her first baby. She was looking for a cot and had no idea where to start. Here are the top ten tips we had for her:
It pays to invest in a cot that will last the distance and keep your baby safe as an infant and as a boisterous toddler.
While there are a number of things to consider, like your budget, your style and design preferences, and so on, the most important factor is keeping your child safe. This is an area where you want to do the best you possibly can.
2. Make sure it's legal
Make sure the cot has a current and up to date safety standard sticker.
The New Zealand Government has released safety standards which everyone selling cots must comply with (even those listing second hand cots on TradeMe).
However, rather than assuming the seller has it right, it pays to satisfy yourself that the sticker is current. This means it shows that it complies with AS NZ 2172 (as at the time of writing, being 2017).
3. Go for looks
You'll be living with this cot for some time, so you will want to ensure it fits your personal style and your life.
For some parents that will mean the most on trend cot, with a full matching nursery set.
Others will want a solid natural wood look, or something simple and white.
Or perhaps you're more interested in fitting the cot into a small space, or in maximising the life-use of the product with a cot that can convert from a bassinet through to a cot, and eventually into a toddler bed or day bed.
The cool thing with looks is that You're the Expert on what looks good.
4. Check under the hood (aka under the mattress)
The mattress base is basically where the integrity of your cot rests. In addition to the permanent warning and information sticker, experts look for:
- a good number of slats, and
- a centre support beam.
So, when you look at different cots, make sure you check under the mattress.
In a really good cot, the slats will be no more than a couple of fingers' width apart. Some bases will have less slats as this decreases the manufacturing costs - but there's an important trade off in that strategy which you are entitled to know about!
5. Get out the measuring tape!
The current NZ safety standard (as at October 2017) allows for gaps between bars of 50-95 mm.
This allows for air to flow through the cot, which decreases SIDS risks, but the gaps remain small enough to prevent a child or toddler slipping between them and injuring themselves.
6. Shake it
Drop sides can be convenient, both for lifting baby in and out of the cot and for making the bed.
Look for a drop side that doesn't easily shift from the inside when a child bounces, or opt for no drop side.
7. Make sure it's difficult to climb out off
(Note: not for adults... LOL.. that's certainly not a test we want to see you try in the shop... actually on second thoughts, we do want to see that... we're at 18 Ihakara Street, Paraparaumu - come give us a laugh!)
When you buy your first cot, your baby is usually either a newborn who doesn't move much, or enclosed in mummy's tummy. At some stage though, your tike will grow. When that happens, you don't want to have to go shopping for another cot due to climbing antics!
We think cots which have bassinet and cot settings are really handy for this reason as you can drop the cot down when baby grows.
8. Get it right, get it tight
You'll want to ensure that there's no possibility your baby could slip down the side of the cot and the mattress.
The safety standards allow for no more than a 20 mm gap when the mattress is centred. Make sure your cot complies with that.
Oddly there are a number of different cot sizes in New Zealand. We recommend buying a mattress when you buy the cot just to make sure the cot fits the mattress perfectly.
If you can't do that, talk to a specialist (like us!) to make sure we can get the right mattress for your cot. We often order special sizes in for customers.
9. Go for a firm mattress
A firm and tight fit is what you want. We also recommend going for a firmer mattress base. Because babies are so small, the risk of suffocation is greater. You can minimise this risk by providing a lovely firm sleeping surface.
10. Ask all the questions
When shopping for a cot, ask if you are unsure. At Baby Box we love it when customers talk to us about their baby's needs, it helps us get things right.
Now the most important question... Which cot did my sister settle on?
She went for the Touchwood 4 in one Meadow cot in White. She said she loved the style, and the strength, and that it would last a good time (with the ability to convert from a bassinet all the way through to a toddler bed).