When you start thinking about where your baby is going to sleep at night or decorating your child's bedroom , you may find it useful to keep these safety tips in mind. This means that the cot is deep enough to be safe for your baby, that the bars are the correct distance apart, and that the cot does not have cut-outs or steps.
If your cot is second-hand or borrowed, the distance between the top of the mattress and the top of the cot sides should be at least 50cm.
Make sure the distance between each bar is no less than 2. It should not be possible to fit a soft drink between the slats.
This is to prevent your baby's head from slipping between the bars. If your cot is vintage and painted, you may need to strip it and repaint it with lead-free paint. Cots made before are likely to have been painted with lead paint NCT nd. Remove any stickers or transfers that may be in the cot, as they may peel off and become a choking hazard NCT nd.
Position your baby's cot away from direct sunshine, radiators, windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations, and any furniture that can be used to climb out of the cot. Put your baby to sleep on his back, with his feet at the bottom of his cot, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome SIDS , or cot death NHS Choices b. When you're not in the room with your baby, always keep the drop side of his cot up and locked.
Mobiles and toys Once your child can push up on his hands and knees or crawl , remove mobiles and any toys that hang across or dangle from the cot.
Your baby could pull himself up on them and may fall out of the cot NHS Choices Bedding Choose a good-quality mattress that feels firm and is at least 10cm deep NCT nd. Make sure that the mattress fits the cot snugly, with no gaps at the sides.
When your baby can pull himself up, put the mattress in its lowest position so that he can't climb out. Don't use a pillow or duvet in your baby's cot. For safe sleeping , your baby needs a surface that is firm and flat, and a duvet may make your baby too hot.
There's no evidence that cot bumpers prevent injuries AAP Studies have shown that cot bumpers can also cause strangulation or suffocation AAP They are therefore not recommended. When the cot mattress is at its lowest height and the top rail is below your child's chest, it's time to move him to a bed.
Make sure you secure your bumper correctly. The following guidelines have been developed to help when looking for a cot:
Bedroom furnishings Cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short. Check that the chains and cords on your blinds and curtains are well out of your child's reach as dangling cords carry a risk of strangulation RoSPA nd.
Safety regulations for blinds changed in February All blinds sold in the UK are now cordless or have tensioned or concealed cords. Even better, replace cords altogether in your baby's bedroom.
Secure wardrobes and bookshelves to walls to prevent them from falling over on your child.
Further information NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: A cot bumper is padding that runs around the inside of a cot, supposedly to protect the baby from banging their head on the hard sides or getting any part of their body caught between the bars. And it's worked, she might have tried to climb out they have been squashed down in the morning on occasions , but never succeeded.
For the same reason, always remember to close drawers. If you have a changing table, always stay with your baby when you use it. A safer option is to change your baby's nappy on a changing mat on the floor, so that there is no danger of him falling NHS Choices a.
Keep nappy-changing equipment, such as nappy sacks, toiletries, and wipes well out of your baby's reach. There have been cases of babies choking on nappy sacks or being suffocated by them RoSPA nd.
Safe sleepwear Make sure pyjama feet aren't too long or socks too slippery if your baby is pulling himself up or starting to walk. Use layers of bedding. This will make it easy for you to add and remove layers to keep your baby at a comfortable temperature.
Or, you could use a baby sleeping bag. This will help prevent your baby from wriggling down underneath the covers.
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