Choosing nursery furniture is an exciting part of preparing for your new arrival.
Although it can be hard to imagine your bump as a baby or toddler, it’s worth some forward planning when it comes to sleeping arrangements.
There are lots of similarities between a cot and cot bed, but there is one key difference that sets them apart – longevity.
While a cot is suitable from birth to around the age of 2, a cot bed can be used from birth until your little one is around 6 years’ old, with some cot beds lasting even longer!
What are the differences between a Cot and Cot bed?
The two main differences between a cot and cot bed are size and longevity.
Cots and cot beds vary in size, with cots typically being the smaller option out of the two. On average, cots measure around 65cm x 125cm and need a 60 x 120cm mattress.
Cot beds, on the other hand are slightly bigger with the average size being 75cm x 145cm and they usually need a 70cm x 140cm mattress.
If you are limited on space, a cot might be your best option as it will allow you to fit other pieces of furniture into your nursery.
However, if you have enough space a cot bed gives you more options and is a much more cost-effective solution in the long run.
While a cot is suitable from birth to around the age of 2, a cot bed can be used for much longer as it can convert into a toddler bed.
Some cot bed designs can even be further adapted from a toddler bed into a day bed, allowing it to act like a sofa when your little ones are old enough.
Cots – the pros and cons
The main advantage of choosing a cot rather than a cot bed is that they are often smaller than cot beds and vary in size, meaning if you are struggling for space, you will be able to find one that fits in your room or nursery.
Although many cot manufacturers suggest your child only stays in their cot until around the age of 2, many children are comfortable and happy to remain in a cot for longer than this.
One of the main considerations when deciding whether a cot or cot bed is the best choice, is whether or not you plan to have any more children.
Although a cot has an average lifespan of 2 years when compared to 5-6 years of a cot bed, it can be a cost-effective option if you decide to use it for future children.
If you do decide to buy a cot and keep it because you are planning to have another child, consider whether you have the space to store it before it’s needed again.
Although you can use a cot from the day you bring your baby home, cots are not easily transportable from room to room so you will still need to invest in a portable option.
Cot beds – the pros and cons
The great thing about cot beds is that they grow as your baby grows. A cot bed has removable sides and an end panel so it can convert to a toddler bed once your child is ready.
Although cot beds are slightly more expensive than cots, they last twice as long so are seen as the more cost-effective solution.
If space is an issue for you, a cot bed may not be the best solution. The NHS recommends that your baby should sleep in your bedroom for the first six months so if you don’t have the space, a cot could be the best solution for you.
Things to consider when buying a cot or cot bed
The decision to buy a cot or cot bed will be influenced by a variety of factors, with the available room in your house likely being the deciding factor however there are a few more factors to consider when selecting the appropriate place for your little one to sleep.
If you have had a c-section selecting a cot with an adjustable height is one feature you will be thankful for.
Many cots and cot beds allow you to place the base on the top setting, making it ideal for lifting your baby in and out of bed. As your child grows you can lower the height.
Removable bars are a common feature with cot beds rather than cots as they allow your child independence to get in and out of bed once they’re a toddler.
When purchasing a cot, you should ensure the difference between each bar is no more than 6.5cm apart so your baby can’t get stuck between the cot bars.
Your little one will spend a lot of their first few months in a cot, so you need to ensure it complies with the current safety standards.
If you’re buying a new cot, ensure it meets the British safety standards BS EN 716. The BS number will be marked on the cot, or if you are unsure check with the manufacturer.
There are pros and cons to both cots and cot beds, and while it completely comes down to personal preference, a cot bed may seem to win as it offers more flexibility and is the more cost-effective solution in the long run.