For a safe & comfortable sleep

Choosing a cot is a big decision for parents, and is often one of the first big purchases of baby gear, followed closely by the all-important nursery decor scheme! We have the following tips to ensure that your baby’s cot is safe.

First, choose a safe cot!

Cots sold in NZ should meet the latest New Zealand Safety Standard (AS/NZS 2172:2003). Only use a cot that is clearly and correctly labelled with this standard. Second-hand cots may not meet the standard. For example, the gap between cot bars may be too wide.

Drop-sides on cots need to be checked regularly and are one of the most likely parts on a cot to become unsafe over time. While all drop-side cots sold in NZ should meet the safety standard, parents should regularly check the mechanism works safely and reliably. Drop-side cots are now illegal in some countries due to safety concerns. Ensure you drop the mattress to the lower setting when your baby is close to sitting up.

Mattress safety check

Check that your mattress is the correct size for the cot so there is no more than a 2cm gap between the mattress and cot frame. Your cot will also state which depth of mattress can be used safety. 

Baby mattresses should be a firm surface, without added toppers or sheepskins. A wool underlay should also be a firm surface when used for newborns. 

Mattress protectors should be waterproof, breathable and fit securely. Remember to remove all plastic packaging before using the mattress!

Position the mattress flat, rather than elevated or tilted. 

Safe sleep positions

Position your baby's feet at the bottom of the cot, to avoid baby from wriggling down under the sheets and covers. 

Always place your baby on their back to sleep. It is recommended to sleep baby on their back until they are easily rolling from front to back. 

Do not sleep your baby on a sofa, water bed or bean bag! 

Resist the cuteness – the cot should be boring!

Baby beds should have safe bedding and a baby – that’s all! 

Some baby stores have cots made up with coordinated bedding sets, which are not a safe sleep choice for a newborn. For example, padded cot bumpers, cot pillows and padded duvets are a potential suffocation risk and should not be used until over 18 months of age. 

Social media and magazines often show images of cots with cute cushions, toys and loose bedding. While they may look beautiful, all loose items should be removed before baby is sleeping in the cot or not be in the cot at all.

Safe bedding for newborns

Newborns are usually swaddled for the first few months. Choose a well-fitting swaddle made from natural fibre, which doesn’t come undone or ride up by baby’s face.

If a baby is becoming un-swaddled during the night, it is safest to either stop swaddling or choose an escape-proof swaddle such as one with a zip front. Babies should no longer be swaddled once they are close to rolling due to a much higher SIDS risk with tummy sleeping when swaddled.

Sheets and blankets should be tucked in firmly, no higher than armpit height. Any blankets used should be a natural fibre, such as merino, wool or cotton. Using merino is particularly recommended, as it can help with temperature regulation.

Avoid using any type of synthetic bedding such as polar fleece blankets in your baby’s bed, as these can lead to overheating. 

Bedding for wriggly babies

Once your baby is mobile, a sleeping bag is a much safer option than loose blankets. This means there is no loose bedding to wriggle under or be pulled up over baby’s face. 

Sleeping bags also mean that baby is much less likely to wake up cold as the sleeping bag can’t be kicked off in the way blankets can be.

The safest option is to use a sleeping bag without anything added over the top. The correct weight of sleeping bag is all the bedding needed, and you can adjust the clothing used inside the sleeping bag according to the room temperature.

Be aware and responsive

The amount of bedding and sleepwear should depend on the room temperature and your baby. Regularly check the temperature of your baby by feeling his or her back, or ears with the back of your hand. It should feel warm, not hot and sweaty, or cold. Add a layer of clothing/bedding if it feels cold and remove a layer of clothing/bedding if it feels hot. Also, remember that a blanket doubled over counts as two layers. 

Do not use wheat bags or hot water bottles in the cot and never use an electric blanket with your baby.

Make sure your baby's head and face remains uncovered during sleep. No hats or hoods in bed. 

For guides on how to dress your baby to the room temperature and information on Tog ratings click here

Keep cords and electrical items away from the cot

Position the cot away from curtain or blind cords that could get tangled around baby’s neck. Baby should not be able to reach any cords or electrical cables, such as cords for the baby monitor or a night light.  

Please pay special attention to the safe installation instructions for baby monitors that have pads positioned under the mattress, as the cords need to be carefully secured and out of reach of your baby.

Room environment 

The ideal temperature for a nursery is 18°C. Using a room thermometer can help you accurately monitor the temperature in your baby's room and avoid baby becoming too warm. 

Parents can be tempted to make a room really warm in the winter, however, it is best to dress baby appropriately and have the bedroom no warmer than 20°C for safe and comfortable sleep.

Good quality sleeping bags such as Woolbabe come with a room thermometer and clothing guide. There are also excellent nursery thermometers, such as the Gro Egg, which changes colour to clearly show the room temperature across a darkened room.

Keep your house and baby’s room smoke-free before birth and after.  

Porta-cot & Travel cots

When buying a travel cot, choose an option that meets the voluntary AU/NZ standard for travel cots. For example, a compliant travel cot has mesh on all sides, all the way to the base of the travel cot. The travel cot range available at The Sleep Store meets all current AU/NZ standards. To compare our range of travel cots available click here.

With porta-cots or travel cots only use the firm mattress or base that is supplied by the manufacturer.  Travel cot mattress may look thin but are designed to be safe and have been specifically tested to comply with the safety standard.  Although parents may be tempted to add an extra mattress or softer layers on top of a travel cot mattress you risk your baby’s safety by doing so as there can be a suffocation risk where baby can become stuck between the side of the cot and mattress.

Look for fitted sheets which are specifically designed for the travel cot so they fit properly. A sleeping bag or well-fitted swaddle is the safest option for use in a travel cot as it is harder to securely tuck bedding into slimmer travel cot mattress. Parents can add additional clothing as required rather than piling on loose bedding.


Related Sleep Articles

Making Your Baby's Cot - Includes Video Guide

Cot, Bassinet & Bed Sizing Guide

Keeping Your Baby Safe In Bed

Woolbabe Sleeping Bag Clothing Guide

Choosing The Right Sleeping Bag

Tog Rating Guide

Travel Cot Comparison Chart

Related Videos

Baby & Toddler Bedding & White Noise

Winter Weight Sleeping Bag Guide

Mid-weight Sleeping Bag Guide

Other related links

Australian Product Safety Australia Article about Cots

Kids & SIDS / Red Nose cot safety tips - What is a safe cot?

Kids & SIDS / Red Nose portable cot safety tips

Where to from here

Newborn Sleep Articles Home


Mentioned Products:

1C580S701 Drift Travel Cot - Navy Our Drift Travel Cot has been designed with parents in mind.  Quick to assemble and easy to pack down, the Drift takes away some of the stress of holidays with babies! Comes with legs attached, so you just need to open and click the legs into place. The mattress has a firm base and lightly cushioned top, so just pop it into the travel cot. There are 6 velcro tabs to secure the mattress in place to make it extra safe.  The sides are mesh to the ground, which is a requirement of the safety standard to ensure it is fully breathable. The mattress is polyester, filled with polyurethane foam.  The metal frame is aluminium, not painted and has been shown in testing to be corrosion-resistant and non-toxic. Cotton mattress covers for the Drift Travel Cot are available to purchase separately on our website. To compare this travel cot with others in our range click here. Unboxing & Assembly Video Measurements: Mattress size 70 x 103cm Weighs 5kg in the carrier bag. Measures 15 x 48 x 67cm in the carry bag. Includes: Mattress / base Travel cot fabric & legs Carrier bag Instructions Safety Notes: Do not use any additional m
149.00 The Sleep Store New Out of stock

The Sleep Store

1C240W507 Waterproof Mattress Protector - Cot 130 x 70cm Our Sleep Store bedding range has been designed by parents for parents. We’ve designed it in house so we can offer a range that’s made to our high standards, with everything our customers want from premium bedding. Manufactured exclusively for our customers, Sleep Store bedding offers excellent quality and wonderful value.  We are so thrilled with our range and we can’t wait to hear how much you love it too. Our Sleep Store Cotton Jersey Waterproof Mattress Protector : At The Sleep Store we love products that make life easier for parents, with saving time and money being high priorities for all our team! So when we were designing a mattress protector, we also wanted it to work well as a fitted sheet. Why use a sheet and a separate mattress protector if one product could do both! So we are thrilled to tell you about our Cotton Jersey Waterproof Mattress Protector - a mattress protector and fitted sheet in one. And yes it really does do both jobs super well. The soft jersey cotton top is lovely to sleep on. No need to add a fitted sheet over the top. This instantly saves you time and money, with one less item to put on the bed and wash. On the reverse of the jersey cotton is our excellent waterproof and breathable layer, protecting your mattress from all the possible icky liquids that come from children! The waterproof layer is not crinkly and softens up quickly in the wash. These super useful mattress protectors are excellent for year-round use, being comfortable to sleep on and never hot or sweaty feeling as the waterproofing is so breathable. All the benefits on a good quality mattress protector and quality jersey cotton sheet in one clever product. Fabric composition: 100% c
34.95 The Sleep Store New Out of stock

The Sleep Store

1W09DW723 3-24mth 3-Seasons Side Zip Woolbabe - PEBBLE Our Woolbabe merino/cotton blend sleeping bags are our biggest selling, most luxurious bag...we thought we couldn't make them any better yet here they are now made using Organic Cotton! Our 3 Seasons sleeping bag must be the most versatile sleeping bag available! It can be used from 18 to 30 degrees by varying the clothing inside the bag. Ideal for day sleeps year round, and night from spring through to autumn. It is made from 2 layers of gorgeous 30% merino/70% soft organic cotton blend fabric. This beautifully soft fabric is knitted specially for Woolbabe!  It is suitable for babies with eczema or sensitive skin, as it is so soft and does not feel at all woolly or scratchy. The combination of wool and organic cotton offers the best of both worlds, providing a light cover for your child in warmer conditions.  These conditions are often more difficult to gauge what your child should sleep in.  The wool component still provides the qualities which react to changes in body temperatures, keeping baby at a constant body temperature, which encourages everyone to have a good nights sleep. The Side Zip means you open out the bag fully, which is helpful for nappy changing.  It has 2 domes on each shoulder and underarm domes for use with smaller babies. Fabric: Outer fabric (yarn dyed stripe) 30% Australian wool/ 70% organic cotton. Inner fabric (yarn dyed stripe) 30% Australian wool/ 70% organic cotton. Zipper, Travel slot & Domes: This Woolbabe can be used in your buggy with a 5-point harness. It has a double-ended zip on the side, a travel slot in the front and back of the bag. There are 2 shoulder domes on each shoulder and domes under the arms for use with smaller babies. Should I buy a front or
149.00 The Sleep Store New Out of stock

Woolbabe Sleep Bags

GR550S010 Room Thermometer - Original Gro egg What is the Gro-egg? The Original Gro-egg from the Gro Company, is a colour changing digital thermometer that lets you know the room temperature at a glance without having to go in and wake your sleeping baby! Room temperature is vital in creating a safe sleeping environment for your baby and should be maintained at 16-20C to help reduce the risk of cot death - "Babies who get too hot are at an increased risk of cot death...getting a room thermometer will help you create a safer sleeping environment for your baby" Joyce Epstein, Director FSID.  The Gro-egg glows yellow if the room temperature is within recommended guidelines (16-20C), if the temperature is outside this range, it acts as a reminder for you to take action to cool or heat the room, or to adjust your baby's bedding or clothing. Every baby's home should have a Gro-egg room thermometer and it is ideal for use along with grobag sleeping bags to help you monitor the temperature of the room where your baby is sleeping. Key Features: Simple to use room thermometer that changes colour Digital room thermometer with permanent 'back-lit' LCD readout Provides a soft and very subtle glow Mains power adaptor included Instructions and safe sleep guide enclosed  Customer feedback about the Gro-egg: "We just brought a Gro-egg (after months of thinking about it) and again, it is something we should have got ages ago. We have a 13 month old who is very sensitive to temperature while sleeping. We had such a hard time trying to figure out what the room temperature was so
49.95 The Sleep Store New Out of stock

The Gro Company