By CHOICE magazine
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Boy in portable cot credit iStockphoto.com/Sean_Warren
 
When you’re looking at portable cots, it’s important to find one that’s safe and easy to use. Here’s a handy list of features to help you choose.

Safety

  • Make sure the cot meets current Australian standards (AS2195).
  • The cot should have two locking mechanisms to prevent accidental collapse and closure.
  • Make sure there are no protrusions or sharp edges.
  • Look for possible entrapment areas where your baby could get a finger, limb or head stuck.
  • Make sure there’s nothing that could be used as a foothold for your baby to climb out.
  • If the base has velcro strips to secure it to the cot, make sure they’re long enough to be easily threaded through the hole for attachment to the cot.
  • If the cot has wheels or castors, make sure it also has brakes or some other mechanism to stop it rolling away.
  • The mattress should be firm and fit snugly into the base without gaps at the sides or ends.
  • The cot floor shouldn’t sag. Press down on it to test.
  • The fabric and mesh sides should be stretched tightly and remain taut.

Features

  • The cot should be easy to assemble and fold up, and have a carry bag with a handle.
  • It shouldn’t be too heavy to carry.
  • The mesh sides should provide good ventilation and allow you to easily see your baby.
  • A pocket on the outside – out of reach of baby – is handy for storage.
  • An insect net for the top will keep out larger insects, but smaller ones like mosquitoes might still get in through the side mesh.
  • Some cots have a removable fitted sheet, which can be taken out for washing.
  • If you have a younger baby who can’t sit or stand up, look for a bassinette that sits higher up in the cot. This way you won’t have to reach down so far to your baby.
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