Toddler hugging a teddy bear
Photo: Johner

Sleep safely – choose safe beds for children

We can’t help you choose between a cradle or basket, blue or pink, canopy or open. But we are happy to help you choose safe beds for babies and children.

Cradle or basket

It’s unlikely that the cradle or basket you lay in as a baby will comply with current safety requirements. The side walls must be at least 27.5 centimetres high. There must be at least 20 centimetres from the mattress up to the top of the side wall.

When the baby is able to sit, crawl or pull themselves up, they can easily fall out and hurt themselves. Then it’s time to swap the basket or cradle for a child’s bed.

Child’s bed or cot

Children’s beds are suitable from birth until the child is around two and a half years old. The first thing you should do when buying a child’s bed is check that it is solid. Rock the bed backwards and forwards to get an impression of how stable it would be with an active baby in it.

Important spacings

Next, check whether the bed complies with the safe spacing requirements. The spacing between the base of the bed and the side walls, and the spacing between the slats in the base of the bed, must be a maximum of 2.5 centimetres. This is to prevent a baby’s foot from becoming trapped.

The spacing between the rails in a cot must be no more than 6 centimetres. Any greater, and there is a risk that a baby could get their head trapped and choke. The distance between the base of the bed and the top of the rails must be at least 60 centimetres, sufficient to prevent a baby from climbing over the top.

When should you lower the base?

Many cots have a height-adjustable base. When the base is in the uppermost position, there must be at least 30 centimetres from the base of the bed to the top of the rails. This position is only suitable for young babies, to make it easy for you to lift the baby in and out of the cot.

You should lower it to the lowest and safest position, with 60 centimetres between the base and the top, as soon as the baby starts trying to sit up or pull themselves up.

From baby to toddler

When the baby starts showing signs of wanting to climb out of the cot, you should change to a toddler’s bed. You can also remove one of the sides of the cot, if the cot is designed for this.

Safe bed checklist:

  • The bed should be stable and steady
  • The bed must have no loose components that a child could put in their mouth
  • The base of the bed must be securely attached and must not become dislodged if the child jumps or moves around
  • The spacing between the side rails must be no more than 6 centimetres, and the spacing between the slats in the base must be no more than 2.5 centimetres
  • The distance from the base of the bed to the top edge must be no less than 60 centimetres
  • If the bed has wheels, at least two of these must be lockable
  • There must be no corners, edges or gaps that could trap clothing or security blankets and turn them into strangulation hazards
  • Follow the user instructions and assemble the bed correctly. If you’re not sure, ask in the shop where you bought the bed.

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