It is important to keep your child’s sleeping environment safe and secure.
Think safety first with these helpful tips on household cots.
Choose a safe model
Buy a cot that complies with the Australian Standard (AS 2172).
By law, all cots sold by businesses must meet this standard.
Use the right mattress
Only use the mattress that is specifically designed for the cot. This information is stamped on the base of the cot.
The mattress should also be firm and fit snugly.
An ill-fitting mattress can create dangerous gaps that can trap a sleeping child and cause suffocation.
Keep the cot clear
Don’t put anything into the cot with your child. This includes:
- cot bumpers
- anything else your child sits on, lies in or climbs on.
Items like these can be used as footholds to assist the child to climb out of the cot and can cause suffocation.
Place the cot in a safe location
Never place a cot under a window. Hanging blind or curtain cords pose a strangulation danger.
Window ledges can also make it easier for children to climb out of their cot.
Check the mesh
Look for any rips in the side or bottom mesh before putting your child in the cot. Don’t use it if you find a rip.
Lock it in place
The cot should have 2 locking mechanisms to prevent accidental collapse and closure. Before putting your child into the portable cot:
- lock the sides and ends into place
- double check the locks are fully engaged.
Check the attachments
Change tables and bassinets should be fitted correctly. Straps should not be hanging inside the portable cot as they can be a strangulation hazard.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, including all safety warnings. Keep the instructions somewhere safe.
Check second-hand cots
Second-hand and heirloom cots might not meet current safety standards. Some older cots may be coated in dangerous lead paint.
Second-hand cots have the same design and construction requirements as new cots. There are 3 exceptions:
- protrusions must be no greater than 8mm
- there must be no gaps greater than 95mm, but there is no requirement preventing gaps between 30 and 50mm
- there are no requirements for informative labels and safety markings.
If you’re buying a second-hand cot, regardless of these exceptions make sure that:
- all parts are in good working order, especially the locking mechanism
- it complies with the mandatory safety standard
- it comes with full instructions for safe assembly and use.