Is it bad for a baby to sleep in a travel cot?

03-12-2022

The surface that a baby sleeps on is important. Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface for every sleep. This could be a baby cot, baby crib or Moses basket with a firm well fitted mattress. A carry cot or travel cot is also a suitable sleep surface.  Each of these sleep surfaces will reduce the risk of suffocation, rebreathing, or baby rolling into an unsafe position because of a soft surface which moves under their weight.


When thinking about what sleep space your baby will be in the following standards apply to products sold in the UK.


Cots and cribs must conform to British safety standards (BSEN716). The reason for these safety standards is to reduce the number of accidental infant deaths each year due to strangulation or suffocation. The following guidelines have been developed to help when looking for a baby cot:


Baby bed frame

Depth: The distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the bed should be at least 50 cm, to prevent the baby from crawling out of too much activity.


The bed rails should be vertical; If they are level, your baby can use them as a ladder to climb out. In addition, the bars should be no more than 6.5 cm apart so that your baby does not get stuck between the bars of the crib.


Some experts also suggest that it is better to have bars on all four sides of the baby crib, as this allows air to circulate freely while the baby sleeps.

baby crib

If the head and foot boards of your crib are solid and cut out of any design shape, check that your baby's limbs will not get stuck in any space.


Baby's mattress

We recommend that you purchase a new crib mattress, or - if using a used mattress - double check that it is clean, dry and free of cracks or tears. Your crib mattress should be firm, not sagging, and should fit snug against the crib with no gaps.


Mattresses tend to come in two sizes, standard and European sizes, and should be suitable for cot sizes common in the UK.


Mattresses need to be as clean and sanitary as possible. You can use one with a wipeable covering, or you can use a removable top plate that can be cleaned at high temperatures. Alternatively, you can use a mattress protector, which covers the mattress to prevent it from getting wet if the baby drools or the diaper leaks.


Choose a baby mattress that feels hard rather than soft, and your baby will need support while sleeping. It should be no less than 8cm.


Check that it meets safety standards -- the mattress should carry BSI number BS 1877-10:1997.


You can choose from three main types of mattresses: foam crib, spring crib, and coir fiber crib. These have their pros and cons. Research, test, touch and feel each type and decide which one is best for you and your family


The right mattress will not change shape or sag when the baby is placed on it. The baby's head doesn't sink into the water.


Something to think about

Some parents may opt for a bedside crib with one side attached to their own bed. These products are available from different manufacturers with different connection mechanisms. If parents choose such products, they must be aware of any gaps or height differences that may exist between the two surfaces.


Any continuation of a surface can become a shared surface, meaning the baby is not protected from loose adult bedding as it would be within its own sleeping space.


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