Guide to Buying a Cotbed - The Koch Family
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Guide to Buying a Cotbed

Cotbeds are the ideal way to lengthen the life of a cot as they transform into a toddler bed when the time comes to upsize. This can be a difficult transition for both child and parent but cotbeds have the advantage of smoothing this process as the child remains within their same bed. If you have already started looking around for a cotbed then you will know there is a huge amount of choice and a wide array of options safety features, fixed or drop sides, colours, woods, styles making the right choice is not easy.

Newborn babies will spend the majority of the day in a cotbed, sometimes up to 20 hours so it is a hugely important decision to make. Also as this item of furniture will be on display in your home for 5-6 years you will want a style and colour that suits your home d cor.

The purpose of this cotbed buying guide is to help you come to an informed decision on which safety features and options will be most useful and important to you.

Different Base Settings

Cotbeds should have 2 or 3 different settings for the mattress height. You will start with the highest setting as this provides the easiest access to your baby. Once your baby starts to push up onto their hands and knees unaided you will need to move the base down for additional safety. The sides of the cotbed should be at least 500mm higher than the mattress when it is in its lowest position.

Fixed or Drop Sides

Either of these options will be fine for most people but some do like to have the ability to drop the side of the cot for access to their baby. Drop-sides can be extremely useful for those parents that have a back condition or are petite and may have difficulty in reaching over and into the cot. If you do opt for a drop-side then look for one with a simple, one handed mechanism with latches that will not be reachable by your child.

Mattress Choice

There are essentially three options - foam, fibre or sprung. Ventilation is vital as there must be a constant flow of air around the baby's head. This means that you will require a ventilation system in the head and mid section of the mattress for when your baby is placed in the 'feet to foot' position. It is vitally important that the mattress fits snugly into the frame. When the mattress is gently pushed to one side there should be no more than a 4cm gap to the rails. Useful features to look for are a wipe clean surface, removable and reversible covers.


When your baby starts teething they are likely going to chew on the edges of their cot. To provide extra protection for your baby's delicate mouth and also for prevention of damage to the cot teething rails are a protective covering on the cotbed edges.

Cotbed Slats Spacing

This is an extremely important safety aspect to ensure that your baby's head cannot get stuck between the railings. The recommendation in the UK is that the spaces between the slats must be 45-65mm, and less than 60mm wide in the mattress base. It is also best to avoid cotbeds that have cut-outs in the head and foot boards

Baby Safe Paint or Varnish

All paints and finishes used on cotbeds must be non toxic and have a non lead base.


Please note that you will need to buy cotbed bedding and not bedding designed for cots else it will not fit. The bedding that you choose should not include any trailing ribbons or strings of material as a safety precaution.

Build and Design

- Ensure that the cotbed you choose is sturdy
- If corner posts are present they should not exceed 1.5mm in height
- Avoid sharp edges, splintered wood or exposed hardware
- There should be no missing screws or bolts and they should all be tightly fastened


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