Cot safety and your baby

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Baby furniture, and cots in particular, are a common cause for hospital treatment to babies under 12 months old. When buying a cot and using a cot, there are several precautions you should take to ensure the safety of your baby.

Purchasing a cot

Although it is against the law to sell a cot in Australia that doesn’t comply to safety standards, parents should still practice caution when buying a cot. These safety standards outline the various minimum and mandatory dimensions of the structure itself. Ensure that the cot is labelled as being compliant with national standards and that it comes with instructions for safe use and assembly.

Second-hand cots

Although these might appear to be in good working order, wear and tear can occur to the bolts and fastenings, and normally rigid parts can come loose. If you do purchase a second-hand cot, make sure it adheres to Australian safety standards and that it comes with instructions for assembly and use.

Putting together a cot

Follow all safety and assembly instructions when putting together a cot at home. An incorrectly assembled cot could be a safety hazard to your baby. If a part is missing, do not use the cot and speak to your retailer.

If your cot has a dropside, ensure it is in good working order through repeated attempts before placing your baby inside for the first time.

Mattress safety

Retailers should be able to provide you with information about selecting the right mattress for your cot. These dimensions should also be included in the safety instructions, on a tag or label, on the cot itself and on the packaging.

At a minimum, the mattress must fit within 2cm at the sides and ends of the cot and must be uniformly flat.

Positioning the cot

  • Keep the cot away from heaters, power points and electrical appliances.
  • Avoid placing the cot next to or under a window.
  • Ensure there are no dangling objects like blinds or blind cords overhanging the cot.
  • Avoid hanging pictures, mirrors and paintings over the cot.
  • Ensure the brakes are locked once positioned.

Repairing a broken or damaged cot

Avoid self-repairing your cot as this can compromise inbuilt safety features and render it unsafe for your baby. Always speak to your retailer or return the cot to your supplier if it is in need of repair.

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