The most reliable cot beds and cots are those that are risk-free, simple to construct, and long-lasting. Find out how to steer clear of the nightmare that is the flat-pack assembly process so that you may get a cot bed that your child will adore.

Baby smiling while lying in cot

You want a cot bed for your baby that not only looks nice in the room where he or she will be sleeping, but is also going to keep your child secure while they are sleeping and is going to be simple for you to assemble and operate.

Should I get a cot or a cot bed for my baby?

When your child has outgrown a Moses basket or bassinet, which are two items that the majority of parents choose to use for a newborn, you will need to transition him or her onto a cot or cot bed. Each one has both positives and negatives to offer.

Cot beds

A cot bed is a cot that can be changed into a bed that is appropriate for a toddler because it has sides that can be removed and an end panel that can be removed. It’s possible that by the time your child is one or two years old, they’ll have outgrown the crib or cot that was used when they were younger. Because it can be converted into a junior bed, a cot bed has the significant advantage of having a lifespan that is many years longer than that of a traditional cot. The majority of cribs are designed to accommodate children up to the age of seven or eight years old. However, this will be contingent on the individual’s weight as well as the amount of wear and tear that they put the bed through. Because cot beds are often wider than cots (about 70 centimetres), they provide your infant with a little bit more room to move around in and stretch their arms. They may not be significantly more expensive than what you were expecting. If you have the room, purchasing a cot that converts into a bed right away may be the best option. Not only will it save you money in the long run, but it will also save you the headache of having to shop for two distinct pieces of furniture.


Prices for cots range from approximately £70 for a simple model to approximately £700 for a high-end model made of solid oak. Cots are often more compact than cot beds, measuring between 50 and 60 centimetres in width. Because of this, if your baby’s bed will be in your room until he or she is six months old, as is the standard recommendation, a cot may be easier to accommodate if space is at a premium.

However, sizes might vary quite a bit. Although they are typically the same length, cots that are intended to accommodate’standard-sized’ cot mattresses are often a few centimetres narrower than those that are intended to accommodate ‘continental-sized’ mattresses (around 140cm). On the label of the cot, the measurements ought to be presented in a readable format.

You can get bedside cots that have a side that can be removed, allowing you to place the cot right next to your own bed. It is possible to adjust the base so that your baby’s mattress is aligned with yours, which will make it simpler for you to nurse your baby during the night.

If you are intending on having more than one child with only a few years separating them in age, you may find that a cot is more appropriate for your needs. This is because you will most likely utilise the cot for the new baby and purchase a single bed for your older child.

Different types of cots and cot beds

You are not limited to the choice of a conventional cot or cot bed, which is characterised by a rectangular shape and fixed sides. You have the option of purchasing a cot or cot bed with drop sides, a sleigh design, or one that has an integrated drawer or storage space.


There are some cot beds and cots that have one side rail that can be lowered in order to provide easier access for putting your kid in and out of the sleeping area. You will find that drop-sided cot beds and cots are especially helpful if you are shorter than average or have a larger frame. This is because the drop side makes it much simpler to place and remove your child from the sleeping area. There are a few distinct approaches to bringing down the drop side.

Some drop-sided cots and cot beds come equipped with a nudge-and-lift mechanism. This mechanism is convenient since it can be operated with just one hand, allowing you to keep the other hand free to hold your infant.

Some are equipped with catches, while others include a trigger mechanism or a foot pedal. In the United States, there has been some debate regarding the safety of cots with drop-sided sides.

When converting a cot bed with drop sides into a junior bed, it is common practise to remove both the drop side and the back rail.


Parents sometimes choose to sleep their children on beds shaped like sleighs. The term derives from their undulating appearance, which distinguishes them from their congruent alternatives that have straight sides.

Make sure that the sleigh-shaped ends, which are often bolted on either side of the head and foot boards, do not create a dip or groove between the pieces of wood that your baby’s clothing could get trapped in when you are shopping for a crib.

There is also an option for sleigh cot beds to have fixed sides rather than drop sides.

In order to convert the cot into a bed, the side rails will need to be removed.

Changing tables with drawers

Some cribs and cot beds have drawers built into the area underneath the base and the legs, making use of what would otherwise be wasted space. If your baby’s nursery is on the smaller side and doesn’t have much room for storage, you could find that a cot bed that comes with a drawer is the best option for you.

There are cots available that come with drawers as well as sleigh cot beds.


If you are pressed for room, you might choose to purchase a traditional cot rather than a cot bed.

The cot, which measures about 120 by 60 centimetres, is the more compact option of the two. The dimensions of cot beds can vary due to the variety of designs available, but the standard dimensions are approximately 140 by 70 centimetres.

Things to look out for when making a purchase

1. a base with a variable height setting

The majority of cots and cot beds have bases that can be adjusted as your child gets older, typically with three different settings to choose from. For the first few months of your child’s life, the mattress should be positioned so that it is at the highest possible base level. This will allow you to effortlessly raise and place your child on the mattress. In most cases, the instructions will advise that the lowest position is the safest one, and that it should be used at all times as soon as your baby begins to move around a bit and pull themselves up, which can be anywhere between four and eight months of age. You would believe that purchasing a cot bed with three different height positions is a waste of money in this scenario; yet, it is common practise to use the second-height position as the bed mode because the lowest one is often too low for a bed. You are able to alter the height of the bed to accommodate your child regardless of their age because it comes in a variety of different heights.

2. Cot mattress

Don’t forget, whatever cot or cot bed you decide for, it’s vital to purchase the proper type and size of mattress to go in it. The Lullaby Trust, which provides guidance on better sleep for newborns, recommends that you acquire a new mattress or, if using a second-hand mattress, carefully verify that it is clean, dry and free from cracks or tears beforehand. Your mattress should be firm, with no drooping, and should fit the cot or cot bed snuggly with no gaps. Read more about Cot mattress and infant bedding safety in our dedicated guide. Mattresses are typically supplied separately from a cot or cot bed, giving you a choice of several sorts, although the manufacturer will provide suggestions for which size you should choose. See our pick of the best cot mattresses.

3. Size

Cot beds are often bigger than cots, and although there’s a lot more range in sizes, most cot beds are pretty similar: roughly 146cm long and 77cm deep, and between 90cm and 105cm tall at the head end. Cots are normally roughly 50-60cm broad and 140cm long. Most cot beds have side rails that are roughly 84-87cm high in the tallest position, which makes them tough for shorter adults to reach over to set a sleeping baby down. A cot bed with a drop side will minimise this height, making it easier to reach your kid while the base is on the lowest setting. Double check the cot bed you purchase will fit in your bedroom (where your baby is expected to sleep for the first six months), as well as where you plan to put it in the nursery.

4. Teething rail

Chomping on the side of a cot is a habit many teething newborns appreciate. Choosing a cot with a teething rail – a protective covering on the side edges of the cot – helps to protect your cot bed and your toddler from damage caused by each other.

5. Those Who Cast

If you want to relocate the cot to a new room, some of them come equipped with casters or wheels that are mounted to the frame. It also makes cleaning under and around the cot much simpler to accomplish.

6. Colour

If you don’t want to go with a normal wooden finish, the two colours that are most commonly found on cot beds are white and grey. However, you can also get cot beds in blue and pink, along with a variety of other colours.

7. To wood or not to wood?

Check to see if the cot or cot bed you want to buy is made of wood or MDF, which is a product that is created to seem like wood but is not. The price of an MDF cot bed is often lower than that of a hardwood cot bed, however the price can vary depending on the type of wood used. For instance, a cot built out of plywood will have a lower price tag than one made out of real mahogany. Keep in mind that you should also examine to see if the “mahogany” described on the label is actually real mahogany or if it is only a finish applied over MDF.

The dangers of using a used cot

When it comes to the well-being of your infant, you can never take enough precautions, particularly with regard to the establishment of a secure sleeping environment. You might be able to save some money by purchasing a used cot, but before you do so, you should read some important safety advice first.

First thing you should do is obtain a copy of the first instructions; these days, most of them can be downloaded from the internet. Purchase a new mattress for the cot and confirm that it complies with either the British (BS EN 716-1:2008+A1:2013) or European (EN 716-1:2008+A1:2013) safety requirements – Check for a British Standard (BS) number in the user manual, or look for any marks on the actual cot. check that there is nothing that is damaged or worn out and that it is in good condition. Check the distance between the bars; they shouldn’t be more than 6.5 centimetres apart to ensure that your child won’t become trapped between them. check that there is at least 50 centimetres of space between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot check that there are no protrusions on the top rails where your child could catch his or her clothing or get anything caught around his or her neck check that the drop-side mechanism works smoothly and stays reliably in the ‘up’ position check that the drop side is secure and cannot be lowered by a child check that there are no footholds, cut-outs or ledges in the There should never be more than three centimetres of space between the edge of the mattress and the cot at any point. Also, any transfers that are on the inside of the cot should be removed because they could get loose and present a choking hazard.

Do not: accept a cot unless it comes with the original instructions or you can get a copy of them from the manufacturer; they contain important advice for using the cot safely do not use an old family heirloom, as it most likely will not meet current safety standards accept a cot unless it comes with the original instructions or you can get a copy of them from the manufacturer accept a cot unless it comes with the original instructions or you can get Use a mattress that is soiled, mouldy, or moist. Stick ornamental transfers and labels on the inside of the cot, or anyplace else your baby may reach. Choose a mattress with handles, as they may trap your baby’s hands or feet. Choose a mattress with handles.

Travel cots

Portable travel cots are cots that are designed to be taken with you everywhere you go because they can be folded up and stored in a bag. The majority of them are constructed with a frame made of plastic or metal, sides made of woven fabric or mesh, and a hard, segmented bottom with a foldable, lightly padded mattress.