The best cheap cots under £150

baby in cot

by Emily Thorpe |

A cot will be used by your baby a lot and as a result, it can be one of the hardest decisions to make when it comes to choosing one. If you're on a budget and specifically looking for a cheap cot, in this article we discuss your options and help you make the best choice for you and your baby.

When should you buy one?

It’s a good idea to buy your baby’s new bed a few weeks before your due date, and get it set up for your return from the hospital. This way you’re not trying to organise things at the last minute, and you’re prepared if your baby comes early. It’s safe to put your newborn in a full-size cot from night one, however, it’s recommended that you keep them in your room until they are six months.

If it’s a squeeze to have a full-size cot in your bedroom, you might prefer a crib or Moses basket instead. These take up less space and are more portable than a cot. Another option, if you like the idea of having your baby’s cot next to your own bed, with no barrier between you, is a bedside cot. You can remove one side and adjust the height to match your mattress. This can make nighttime feeding easier, and many parents and babies like the closeness. Be sure to check that the design of your bed lets you place a bedside cot flush to the mattress.

Do you want a cot or a cot bed?

Cot-beds are larger, typically 140 x 70cm, compared to 120 x 60cm for a standard cot. You can remove the sides of a cot-bed to convert it into a junior bed for use up to age five. A standard cot is normally outgrown by two and a half to three years. Cot-beds make the transition from cot to bed easier, because they’re familiar to your toddler, but they tend to be more expensive. Also, you’ll still need to buy a bed for your little one, just later on than with a standard cot.

How can you be sure a cot is safe?

Check that any cot you are considering conforms to current British Safety Standards. It should feature the code
BS EN 716 on the product details or packaging. Be wary if you are buying a second-hand cot. Even though it will be cheaper, you should check it complies with modern safety standards, is in good condition and has no missing parts.

Are several base positions useful?

A multi-position base lets you start off with the mattress higher up, so lifting your newborn in and out is easier on your back, and less likely to wake her. Later on, when your baby starts to pull themself up, you can lower the base to stop them from clambering over the side. While low and high base positions are useful, ones in-between aren’t necessary and you probably won’t want to keep changing the height anyway.

Do you want a drop side?

A drop-side, where you can lower one or both sides of the cot temporarily, can be a good feature especially once you’ve switched to the mattress base being lower down. The drop-side allows you to lie your baby down or pick them up without having to reach so far over the cot, so avoiding strain on your back. This is especially helpful if you’re petite and will struggle to reach down but in our experience, cheap cots rarely offer this feature.

What else should you consider?

Neutral colours: Go for a cot in neutral colours if you want your nursery furniture to co-ordinate, or buy everything from the same range.

Mattress/base dimensions: Mattresses are rarely included with cots. An unusual size or shape of base could reduce your mattress and sheet options. Check the dimensions of the cot and mattress for compatibility before buying. The mattress must fit snugly on the base, without a large gap round the edges. One way to check is to push it to the edge of the cot. If the gap on the other side is more than 4cm (1.5in), the mattress is too small. This could mean your baby could get an arm or leg trapped, or even risk suffocation.

Storage/changing tray: A drawer under the base is useful if storage space is limited. If you haven’t got room for a proper nappy-changing unit, look for a cot-top changer tray.

Wheels/castor: Not essential but a bonus if you want to move the cot to clean underneath it or to switch rooms.

Teething rail: While teething, your baby might gnaw on the cot’s rails. Non-toxic, plastic ‘teething rails’ protect your baby’s gums and the cot. You can buy inexpensive stick-on teething rails but they won’t fit all cots.

Construction material: Look for a cot made from durable material. Solid wood or good-quality veneer will withstand a toddler bashing toys against it better than a cheaper veneer which easily chips.

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