Safe nursery furniture other styles of bed
There are no Safety Standards for portable or travel cots, so when you buy one you need to check that:
- There should be a safety mechanism that prevents the cot collapsing if the lock is accidentally opened.
- A portable cot should not collapse under pressure - so lean on it hard!
- Check the cot and mattress for possible gaps that could trap your child's head or fingers.
- Ensure that the mattress fits snugly inside the cot.
- Only use the thin mattress that comes with the portable cot as thicker mattresses aren't safe to use in this style of cot.
- Check for sharp edges and catches that could snag your child's clothing.
- If your travel cot gets a tear, make sure that it is patched immediately.
- Portable cots are not appropriate for children weighing more than 15 kg.
- Even babies who can't roll yet can accidentally be rolled on a waterbed so these are not considered safe for young children.
- Because they are so soft and giving, a baby who has rolled onto his stomach may not be able to lift his head high enough to breathe clearly.
- Babies and young children need to sleep on a firm mattress to ensure that their airways are never blocked.
- Ensure that your cradle has a locking pin and bolt so that you can secure it while your baby sleeps. This is extremely important if you have other children in the house who may want to have a 'turn' at rocking your baby.
- A rocking cradle shouldn't tilt more than 10 degrees - any more than that and you risk tipping your baby out of his bed.
Bassinettes do not have to conform to any Safety Standards to be sold, so you need to do a thorough check on the bed yourself before purchasing. Check for:
- It has a wide and sturdy base
- It cannot be tipped easily - this is important as bassinettes tend to be moved around.
- Ensure that you have a close fitting mattress.
- Make sure that the material that the bassinette is made from (often wider or cane) is supple enough not to break off.
- To make sure your baby hammock is safe, always follow the instructions when you set it up.
- Sleep your baby on his back in a hammock, just as you do in any other style of bed.
- Dress your baby warmly when you sleep him in a baby hammock rather than adding bedding which may cover your baby's face.
- Only use a baby hammock until your baby can roll over - after that, they become unsafe.
- Hammocks that have mesh sides are better than the solid fabric ones as they allow good ventilation.
- Don't use bunk beds for children under 9 years.
- Most injuries relating to bunk beds occur when children are awake and playing on the beds rather than during sleep.
- If you have space issues in the bedroom, consider using a trundle bed rather than bunk beds until your children are older.
- Regardless of age, you should use a guard rail on both sides of the top bunk that is at least 160mm above the mattress.
- Check the bunks for sharp edges, catches and hooks to ensure that it is safe for your children to get in and out of bed.
- Make sure that you have a safe ladder - if you have a child sleeping in the top bunk, he should be able to safely and easily get out of bed at night.
- Never put your baby in a bean bag as they pose an enormous threat of suffocation.
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