Baby Cot Safety
This article focuses on Baby Cot Safety. We have gathered some useful information to help ensure that your baby sleeps safe and sound.
Cots have been associated with fatal injuries in children under 12 months old. Young babies are vulnerable to suffocating or choking, and toddlers are at risk of injury from falling while trying to climb out of the cot.
In Australia each year doctors treat 6,500 injuries from nursery furniture in children up to four years of age. This includes 540 hospital admissions, with most admissions in the under-one-year age group. They are startling statistics. Faulty cots cause more injuries than any other type of nursery furniture. This is why it is of most importance that your cot is safe.
So read on as we have compiled some helpful information and tips to assist you before in buying/using a baby cot that is right for you and your baby:
- Select a baby cot that complies with the mandatory safety standard based on the Australian standard for household cots AS/NZS 2172. Look for a label or sticker that says the cot complies with the mandatory standard. If there isn’t one, ask the retailer. If the retailer cannot verify that it complies, do not buy it. All cots sold, even second-hand ones, must comply with this standard.
- Check that bars, panels, mattress base and drop sides are firmly attached.
Take a tape measure with you when you go shopping so you can check the size of gaps and openings:
- The mattress must fit snugly to within 25mm of sides and ends.
- With the mattress base set in the lower position, the cot sides or end need to be at least 500mm higher than the mattress.
- The spacing between the bars or panels in the cot sides and ends needs to be between 50mm and 85mm. Gaps wider than 85mm can trap a child’s head. If the bars or panels are made from flexible material, the maximum spacing between the bars or panels should be less than 8.5mm.
- Check that there are no spaces between 30mm and 5mmm that could trap your child’s arms or legs.
- Check that there are no small holes or openings between 0.5cm and 1.2cm wide that small fingers can be caught in.
- Check there are no fittings (including bolts, knobs and corner posts) that might catch onto your child’s clothing and cause distress or strangulation.
Other Points to consider in the nursery are:
- Is the cot clear of curtain or blind cords as they are a strangulation hazard.
- Is the cot clear of heaters stoves and power points.
- Make sure the space above the cot is free of objects such as pictures or mirrors which could fall onto your child.
- Set the mattress base to the lowest position before your baby can sit up.
- Remove climbing aids (such as a large toy) from the cot once your child can stand.
- Make sure the cot has no more than two legs with castors or that at least one pair of castors has brakes that work.
- Regularly check that nuts and bolts are tight as per the maintenance instructions supplied with the cot.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully (and keep them somewhere safe).
Second-hand and heirloom cots can be a hazard to children because:
• The spacing between the bars may be too wide and trap a child’s head or may be too narrow and trap a child’s arms or legs.
• The corner posts of the cot may be higher than the sides and ends creating a strangulation hazard if clothes get caught on it.
• The catches on the side of the cot may be easy for a child to undo.
• Older cots may be painted with lead paint that children might chew on and swallow when they are teething.
Do not use U or V shaped pillows for children under two years old. It is safer not to use a pillow at all for children under two.
Do not allow small objects that could cause your child to choke to be placed in the cot, or anywhere accessible to your child.
Never use electric blankets or hot water bottles for babies or young children.
Do not leave mobiles or toys with stretch/elastic cords in cots.
Rest assured Bubs Baby Shops are now accredited
Bubs Baby Shops are the first baby products retailer in Australia to be accredited with the Infant and Nursery Products Association of Australia (INPAA), and also accredited with INPAA Baby Safety Program.
All baby cots sold at Bubs meet the Australian Standards. Should you have any concerns or questions please feel free to come to one of our stores and one of Bubs qualified trained staff will assist you.
Related articles: Setting up the Baby Nursery, Baby Safety and Baby's Safe Sleeping