A baby cot is simply a baby bed. It is a piece of furniture for baby to sleep or lie in. There has been much confusion over terminology and obstinance over language. The Collins dictionary defines a baby cot as, "A cot is a bed for a baby, with bars or panels round it so that the baby cannot fall out".
In fact there are many different sorts of baby cots with specific names. Cribs, bouncers, swings, playards and even strollers are just different forms of baby beds. Our list below describes the top ten most popular types of baby cots.
#1 - Standard Cribs
This are what most people think of when we mention baby cots. They come in a few sizes. But they are mostly defined by their type of construction. The frame and rails are made of a stiff material such as wood or steel bars. Solid wood is the most common option for such frames. Avoid the foldable models as they are structurally weak and can endanger your child.
Baby cot standard sizes range from 120cm x 60 cm to 140cm x 80cm. They are useful from roughly 0 -30 months from birth. The smallest size is the most popular. The compact size allows many parents to squeeze in a cot into the master bedroom.
Many parents think this allows them to skip buying a bassinet or other sleeping gear. This might not be true.
#2 - Cribs With Fixed Gate
In the US baby cots with drop side gates are not allowed for certain safety reasons since 2008. especially hands getting caught when the side gate is lowered. It is important that such cribs have a mattress slat base that can be raised higher. Mothers who have had a caesarian operation will find it easier to reach down to pick up baby.
Many experts also advise against installing wheels for baby cots. They make the cots unstable and can cause accidents when they are leaned on. Most cots sold in the US have no wheels. You can request for us to permanently "fix" your gate or not install the wheels.
#3 - Single Handed Kick Gate Crib
All it take is a gentle nudge with the shin and a single handed upward tug, the side drop gate can be lowered easily. The objective of this design is to allow a parent to lower the gate while holding the baby with the other arm. This is useful when you need to pick baby from the bath to the bed. Such cots do not have wheels incorporated in the design for safety and functional reasons. For the "kick" function to work, a firm stationary structure is required.
Such cots are usually made of thicker pieces of solid wood to provide a stiffer structure for the gate to work more smoothly. We also advise that the longer side of the cot is against the wall.
#4 - Convertible Cribs
These are baby cots that extend the lifespan of a crib by 2 to 4 years. The cot can be converted to a toddler bed with a side rail, a small sofa or a playard.
This is a good way to be more environmentally responsible. But there is some work to be done in the conversion. Parents with good DIY skills should not find this to be a major problem however bad assembly can be dangerous. For a reasonable fee we can help you with the conversion.
#5 - Convertible Crib to Single Bed
This baby cot converts to a full size single bed measuring 200cm x 95cm. After conversion it fits a regular standard sized single mattress (190cm x 90cm). As a baby cot this bed has a lot of easy to reach storage. This can be very useful for keeping consumables and daily gear. The sleeping area as a cot is quite large with a size of about 140cm x 90cm.
The first conversion happens when baby becomes a toddler and the parent is confident that he/she won't roll off the bed. Just remove the drop side gate. The next conversion happens when the toddler gets taller. This is a more major conversion. The cot converts to a full size single bed plus a cabinet or two nightstands.
When buying such beds be sure to check the final bed size. Most other convertible cots convert to a 1.6 to 1.8m length. You will be hard pressed to find a mattress in the local market that fits. Chose one that converts to fit a 1.9m x 0.9m sized mattress.
#6 - Bassinets
This is smaller bed that measures about 85cm x 45cm. It usually has a plastic or steel frame, has soft netting and cushions forming a basket that cocoons the baby. This is useful when baby is 0-9 months old and is not able to stand up or climb. During the first 6 months after birth baby cannot be left alone and it is strongly recommended that baby sleeps with their parents.
The bassinet is very useful in smaller rooms. It should be placed next to the parents' bed for easy access. It allows the parents to closely monitor baby's movement and well being. This placement also minimizes movement in the dark and greatly reduces the probability of an accident.
Some bassinets have a rocking function that can help put baby to sleep. Parents can do this while still in bed.
#7 - Swings
A baby swing is a nicely padded reclined contoured chair that is suspended on a sturdy frame. This frame lets the chair swing from left to right or front to back. Akin to a rocking motion that is similar to what baby experienced when in the womb. It can be used right from birth to when the baby is around 6-9 months old. An excellent piece of gear that is useful to put baby to sleep or to keep them occupied.
Some manufacturers have attached toys or attractive items above the "chair" for baby to look and play. Besides keeping baby occupied, this is a useful in an educational way. The first four years of a baby is the most important developmental phase of the brain. Shapes, colors, movement, texture, sound and many external factors stimulate the brain and fire up the neurons to initiate mental growth.
The reclined position of the chair also allows baby to see and observe the around him when he is awake. Unknowing to many parents this is a very important in mental and visual development.
#8 - Bouncers
They are are similar to swings but provide a different function. They are also a kind of padded reclined contoured chair. But the main difference is the movement direction. Bouncers move up and down versus left to right or front to back. Parents love them for providing a safe place for baby to play or relax while they get other things done in the kitchen, toilet or study. Babies love them because they're comfy and soothing.
Modern bouncers are compact and light and use a cantilevered C frame to create a bouncing motion that baby enjoys. This C structure does away with the need of having a permanent overhead structure and provides an unobstructed view for baby. Many models have an overhead removeable arc that has hanging toys to keep baby occupied.
For both swings and bouncers it is important to choose a model that has a deeper contoured chair. Young babies feel more comforted and secure in a tighter enclosed space that is akin to the environment in the womb.
#9 - Playards
Playards are a deep netted enclosure to keep baby in. Playards sometimes come with a mattress and can be used for sleeping. Some playards can be set up with the base at a higher or lower level. The higher level is suitable for babies in the 0-6 months age and the lower level is when baby starts to stand up. As baby gets older the base can be lowered. Playards can be used maximally until 3 years of age.
Many playards come with a small changing table and detachable bassinet. These can be useful during baby's first few months.
Some playards are designed with a quick fold function. The playard transforms into a long rectangular object about 70-80cm high and about 20cm x 20cm across. This is very convenient whenever youwant to put the playard away.
Manufacturers use the terms playard and playpen interchangeably. Playpens used to mean an enclosed or gated area for children to play in.
#10 - Strollers
Strollers are a form of baby cots. A chair or bed on wheels. Strollers designed for younger babies provide a horizontal sleeping position. Those designed for toddlers are more of a reclined padded chair to provide baby with a clear view of the surroundings. Another unique feature of strollers that make them different from other cots are safety belts that prevent baby from falling out.
Strollers are a whole new category of products and deserve a separate conversation.