Are Cots Safe for my Baby?

Writing and researching this article is flooding me with memories of the anxiety I felt when becoming a parent for the first time. I feel you. You are about to miraculously produce a little person and you will be totally responsible for them with no definitive instruction manual. There is plenty of advice out there, perhaps too much, and you aren’t sure which is applicable. Please don’t panic and remember that Mother Nature equipped us with a sixth sense and unfathomable parental instincts to get us through raising our young – she is the expert and has been doing it for Millenia. That said, a little extra help and guidance to consolidate your thoughts never hurt.

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Image source: @thebladeshousehold

Babies spend more time sleeping than awake in their first two years. It might not seem like that at 3am when you’ve been up for the umpteenth time since you can’t remember when, but it is true. That is why getting the perfect sleep environment for your little one is crucial. Yes, it needs to look beautiful, but above all, it needs to be safe. We will gloss over the fact that my parentals were caught off guard when I was born a little early so the bottom drawer, hastily emptied of my mother’s jumpers, had to do for the first few days of my life as a makeshift crib. Ideally, a Moses Basket would have been better. They can be a good option for the first few months as they are portable, you can carry your sleeping babe from room to room with you and they take up less space but mine only proved useful for a few weeks (big heavy babies) and then became an occasional nap spot and later a useful storage unit.

There are of course other options as to where your little one sleeps. Some parents choose to sleep with their babies in their beds, some have clever add-on things to their bed for baby to sleep on. Everyone is different but I think I’m right in saying that the vast majority of us don’t envisage sleeping with our kids as a default setting. The given advice by the NCT, Tommy’s and The Lullaby Trust is that the safest place for your new baby to sleep is in their own cot and in the same room as you for the first six months. They also advise that a clear cot is the safest cot. Keep the cot free of bumpers, teddies, duvets blankets etc. There is plenty of fantastic advice on their websites – see links below.

So, let’s talk cots because you ARE going to need one. Not only are they the safest space for your little one to sleep – they can be a sanctuary in which to pop your baby in emergencies. Yes, you will become an expert at doing things one-handed with babe on hip, but there are times (when nature calls?) where you just need to know your baby is safe whilst you get on with your business!

Family heirloom cots are a romantic notion but there are some safety considerations if going down this route. Pre-1973 cots may have been painted with toxic leaded paint. No thank you. Old stickers may peel and cause a choking hazard. Drop-side mechanisms on old cots are a particular red flag – they could be damaged and unsafe. Old mattresses are just nasty – don’t even go there.

If you are trying to keep costs down with a more modern second-hand cot, please please please ensure that it meets British Safety Standard BS EN716. Please get a new mattress that complies with BS 7177:2008+A1:2011 and BS EN16890:2017. We have a huge selection at Cuckooland.

All new cots sold in the UK should conform to British Safety Standard BS EN716. This ensures that:

  • the cot is deep enough – at least 50cm (so they cannot climb out)
  • the bars are a safe distance apart – no more than 6.5cm (no stuck heads)
  • there are no steps or cut-outs – (no climbing aids or limb traps)
  • that the materials used are safe – (no lead paint thank you)

But what kind of cot should you choose? There are a number of considerations. How many babies is this cot going to service? Are you planning on using this cot for babe number one and then subsequent siblings? Or do you want a bed that can grow with your child? How much space do you have?

A Traditional Cot is designed for babies up to about 24 months. Most Traditional Cots have base height options. You will definitely want to use the highest level to save your back when your baby is very new and unable to sit. As your baby becomes more mobile you will need to lower the base for their safety.

Then you have Cot Beds which serve as a Traditional Cot initially and then with a conversion kit and a smattering of light-duty DIY, convert into a Toddler Bed lasting your little one longer and creating a sense of security as you are not completely changing their sleeping environment.

Or you could buy the ultimate piece of space-saving furniture that does it all – check out the Galipette Celeste Convertible 5 in 1 Cot Bed.

Galipette Celeste Convertible 5 in 1 Cot Bed

Then we need to consider the design. Some experts recommend cots with bars all the way around so that air can circulate freely. However, cots with solid heads and footboards could be a better option if you have a draughty nursery as they provide a bit of shelter. Take into consideration how your nursery is set up. A cot with solid ends can protect from breezes and provide shade from an ill-placed light source.

So, to the fun bit. Which one do you choose? There are so many beautiful options available from Cuckooland where you can create the nursery of your dreams. It’s all down to personal choice. The Galipette Range is a particular favourite of mine. All the furniture has beautiful clean lines with a modern feel. It is made from premium quality wood from sustainably managed forests and it is lovingly handcrafted in France, not the other side of the world so environmentally it makes me feel better too. But if you are after a more luxurious look, check out the elegant Obaby Stamford Range. The Vox Nursery Furniture range has so many options – I just love the rounded shape of the Vox Paris Baby Cot Bed.

Obaby Stamford Mini Sleigh Cot Bed in White
Vox Paris Baby Cot Bed

Oh, if I had my time again…. now I’m getting excited for my future grandchildren and with 4 young adult children of my own, there could be a good few of them – hopefully! If you’d like to discuss any of our nursery furniture, call our customer service team on +44 (0) 1305 231231 or email – we’re always happy to help.



With more than 10 years’ experience in providing advice and support to parents looking for their perfect kids bed, mother of 2, Nathalie Davis is passionate about helping children develop. In her role as Director of Product Procurement at Cuckooland, Nathalie has helped thousands of parents improve their children’s sleep and sleeping habits through the beds and mattresses she sources and the articles she writes. In her spare time she teaches her Golden Retriever to be a responsible vegetarian and is often spotted sifting through clothes at her local Charity Shops.

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