The process of choosing nursery furniture is an exciting part of preparing for a new baby. You should think ahead when considering sleeping options for your toddler, even if it’s hard to imagine your bump or newborn as one.
A Moses basket or crib can be used for a newborn baby instead of a cot, though some parents prefer a cot or cotbed from the beginning. There are many similarities between the two, but there’s one thing that sets them apart – longevity. A cot is suitable from birth to about 2 years, but a cotbed can be used from birth to about 5 years old. Some cotbeds can even turn into little sofas and last longer still!
What are the similarities?
There are many similarities between the cot and cot bed. In terms of shape and design, they are basically the same. There are varying sizes of cots, but they are usually cheaper and smaller than cot beds, and they have fixed side railings. The advantage of choosing a cot rather than a cot bed is that the shopper can select one to suit the available space in the room.
Some children are happy to stay in a cot for longer than the two years, which is recommended by many manufacturers. Other children can easily move from a cot to a full-size single bed. Another factor to consider is whether the buyer is planning on having more children. As a result, cots are more cost-effective for more children to sleep in.
Cotbeds can be converted to short, low toddler beds with removable sides and ends. A cotbed is larger than a cot, but smaller than a single bed. It requires a mattress and bedding designed specifically for it.
Cotbeds may seem like the obvious choice over cots – and there’s evidence of this in the wide range of options now available. Although slightly more expensive than the average cot, cotbeds will be used twice as long, so they can be more cost-effective. Though do remember to factor in the cost of purchasing an extra mattress and bedding, if necessary, when the cotbed is converted. Consider too that you’ll still have to buy a single bed at some stage.
However, if space is an issue for you, a cotbed may not be suitable. The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) recommends that your baby sleep in your bedroom for the first six months. If a cotbed is too large for your room, opt for a cot instead.
Additionally, some parents feel that the size of a cotbed leaves their newborn looking a little lost! During the first few months of a baby’s life, a Moses basket or crib would be a good choice, and then a cotbed would be a better choice.
There are a variety of cot sizes, but they are usually smaller and less expensive than cotbeds, have fixed sides (though some have a drop-down side for easier access), and come in a variety of bedding options. When choosing a cot over a cotbed, you are able to select one that perfectly fits the space in your room. While some children are happy to remain in a cot for longer than the recommended 2 years, others are easily moved from a cot to a full-size single bed.
Another important factor is how many children you intend to have. Cots tend to have a shorter lifespan than cotbeds, but if they can be reused for future siblings, they may be cost-effective. When you buy a cotbed, you may find that it is required for your next baby before you can turn it into a bed for your older child. So, you’ll have to buy a cot or second cotbed for your new baby.
Often, parents attempt to encourage their older child to move to a single bed – touting it as a ‘prize’ for being the ‘big brother or sister’, but some older children feel as if the new baby is taking them away from their cot! You should consider whether you have the space to store a cot before it is needed again if you plan to buy a cot for more than one child.
In any case, the same advice about mattresses applies whether you are using a secondhand cot or cotbed or reusing the one your first child slept in. It is very important that your baby’s mattress be clean, dry, firm, flat, and well fitted. Ideally, you should buy a new mattress for each new baby. If you are not able to do this, you can use the one you have as long as it has a waterproof cover and no tears, cracks or holes.
Whether parents choose a cot or a cot bed depends on whether they are looking for a long-term solution for their child or just a crib-like bed. A variety of cots and cot beds are available, providing buyers with the opportunity to choose what’s right for their children. The rule of thumb is: If you plan to have more children in the future, a cot is the best option. However, if the answer is no, then a cot bed is the best long-term solution for your child’s rest.
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Kayes-Thorpe, B., 2021. Cot or cotbed – which should you choose?. [online] MadeForMums. Available at: <https://www.madeformums.com/reviews/cot-or-cotbed-which-should-you-choose/> [Accessed 19 October 2021].
The Sleep Advisors. 2021. The Difference Between Cot And Cot Bed – The Sleep Advisors. [online] Available at: <https://www.thesleepadvisors.co.uk/cot-cot-bed-whats-difference/> [Accessed 19 October 2021].
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