The Ultimate Guide to Cots

For most soon-to-be-parents, preparing for the arrival of a new baby is a mixed bag of excitement, anticipation and embracing the reality that life is never going to be the same. Whether you have chartered these waters before or you are a complete newbie to parenting, yo-yoing emotions are completely normal! They’re often accompanied with a sea of wake-you-in-the-night questions (perhaps this is your body’s canny way of preparing you for disturbed sleep when baby arrives!); have you consumed enough raspberry leaf tea; have you packed your favourite P.J’s in your hospital bag… more to the point, where is your hospital bag?! Where is your new baby going to sleep – and equally as important, will YOU ever sleep through the night again?! 

Babies sleep… a lot! In fact, during the first two years of a babies life, they have clocked up more snooze time than awake time. Therefore, providing your tiny tot with a comfortable place in which to enjoy safe and restful sleep is a top priority, I would advise you to consider every available baby bed option before making this all important decision, as they all present differing features and benefits. A Crib or Moses Basket offer portability, but may only last a few months, a cot bed offers longevity but may be too big for your baby’s bedroom – so a cot may just be the perfect happy medium.

If the baby bed conundrum is waking you in the night, let me help to lift the brain fog and give you the low down on one of the most popular baby bed options – the baby cot. I’ve dedicated this article to answering some common cot questions I’m asked by bamboozled parents seeking out the best bed for their baby, so take 5, sit back on your laurels, perhaps even enjoy a cuppa and a slice of cake (or two!) and read my ultimate guide to cots.

New Life Baby Cot in Brushed Steel Grey by Woood

Cot vs Cot Bed

First things first, let’s establish that a cot is different to a cot bed. The main difference between a cot and a cot bed is that a cot bed can eventually convert into a junior (toddler) size bed without any additional conversion kits, whereas a cot cannot. So if you are specifically looking for a convertible cot then jump on over to Cuckooland to check out their great selection of cot beds.

Lifetime Baby Cot

What Size is a Cot?

A cot requires a mattress size of 60cm x 120cm, the actual dimensions of a cot may vary slightly between designs, which will be clearly detailed on the product detail page.

A cot sizes up bigger than a crib or Moses basket and smaller than a cot bed. Depending on where you are planning to put your baby’s cot, whether in your bedroom for the first few months or straight into your baby’s nursery, it’s advisable to measure up the space and check this against the particular styles that you like – and remember you’ll need a bit of space around the cot for maneuverability.

Retro Rio Upholstered Baby Cot in White

What age are Cots suitable for?

Cots are suitable to use from newborn and will comfortably sleep your baby through to the toddler years between 18months to 3 years, you will then embark another exciting parent/child adventure of transitioning your toddler into a big bed!

You can put your baby into a cot from day 1, however some parents decide to use a Moses basket or crib for the first few months as they offer portability and as they are smaller they are more suitable for a newborn’s size. It really is a personal choice and one that every parent will approach differently.

Mathy by Bols Fusion Adjustable Baby Cot

How to choose the best Cot

With many different designs available it can difficult to know how to choose the best cot for your baby. Here are a few points to consider that will hopefully help you narrow down your selection;

  1. Safety standards – All cots sold in the UK must conform to the British Safety Standard (BSEN716), these guidelines have been developed to reduce the risk of accidents. Follow the link for more information about how to help your baby sleep safely in a cot.
  2. Height settings – All cots feature height adjustable settings so that you can move the height of the sleeping platform to suit your baby’s development stage. This can range from 3 to 5 levels, depending on the design. The highest setting is intended for newborns, then it can be gradually lowered as your baby grows and begins standing.
  3. Detachable side rail – Some cot designs allow you to completely remove one of the side rails. This can be a great co-sleeping alternative as your newborn baby can safely sleep next to your bed. It can also be beneficial for when your little pip squeak is much more grown up and you want to allow them more freedom to get in and out of their cot.
  4. Conversion kits – Unlike cot beds that come ready to convert into a toddler bed when needed, standard cots don’t have this feature, but some designs offer an additional conversion kit that can be purchased in order to extend its life and use as a toddler bed.
  5. Matching nursery furniture – If you’re looking to furnish an entire nursery, then it could be more cost effective to buy a nursery furniture set. These baby furniture bundles include all the essential pieces you’ll need to kit out a nursery, sets often include a cot, wardrobe and baby changing unit.
  6. Cot mattressCot mattress safety is of great importance. Providing the correct level of support, comfort and safety for your new baby, a new mattress should always be purchased with any cot.

Now we’ve looked at the main features of a cot, let’s take a closer look at a few of my top cot picks available from Cuckooland.

Roulotte Cot & Kids Bed

Best Cot for a Newborn

As we’ve established, all cots are suitable to use from birth, however some designs offer up features that are invaluable when your baby is in the first few months. For example the Vox 4 You Baby Cot has the function to completely remove one of the side panels so it can adjoin the Vox 4 You Four Poster Bed (what a great excuse to treat yourself to a new bed too!) making those night feeds a little easier. It’s also set on wheels for easy maneuverability and offers up handy storage compartments for all those baby essentials. With 3 height settings you can gradually lower the sleeping platform as your child develops.

Vox 4 You Baby Cot with Storage in White & Oak

Cot with Storage

For such tiny beings, babies seem to require a lot of paraphernalia! Nappies galore, whether you opt for washable or disposable they still get through a fair few! Bedding, clothing, baby friendly toiletries… the list goes on! A cot with storage, as seen here with the Obaby Stamford Space Saver Cot offers up a place for all those baby essentials and due to its compact design is an ideal cot for smaller rooms.

Obaby Stamford Space Saver Cot in White

Cot with Removable Side

If you’re a forward planner (I can only dream!) then you may wish to look for a cot that has the feature to be able to remove one of the side panels. Perfect for when your little nipper reaches toddling stage and needs a little more independence. The Vox Concept Baby Cot begins life as a cot, with 3 adjustable height settings, you can then easily remove one side and continue to use as a small toddler bed or a mini sofa!

Vox Concept Baby Cot

Cot with Conversion Kit

Being able to have the option to extend the life of your baby’s cot may been an appealing feature for some parents, therefore look out for designs that offer an extension kit as an optional extra. For example the Leander Cot with optional Extension Kit gives parents the flexibility to buy the cot initially then add the extension kit that converts the cot into a junior bed that could see your munchkin right through until approximately 7 years old.

Leander Cot in White with Optional Extension Kit

Cot Bundle

There is usually a financial saving when buying a nursery set rather than individual pieces. If you’re planning to kit out a nursery with a cot, wardrobe and changing table for example it would make sense to check out a few cot bundles. Popular nursery brands such as East Coast and Obaby have a great selection from 2 piece up to 7 piece nursery sets.

East Coast Toulouse Nursery & Baby's 3pc Room Set

Now that we’ve covered the main features of a cot, it’s all down to personal preference which one takes gold as the best new baby bed for your precious bundle. At Cuckooland we’ve got all bases covered; great value cots from trusted brands as well as some cool design led nursery brands, cots with matching furniture and baby cots that can convert into a sofa bed!

If you’re still tossing and turning at night you can always pick up the phone (in waking hours please 😊) and our conscientious cot crazy customer service team will help you with any baby cot questions, give us a call +44 (0) 1305231231 or pop us an email.


With more than 8 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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