There’s a lot of information out there about safe sleep for your newborn, but when your baby is ready to move to their own room after they reach 6 months old, it can be really daunting and confusing for parents to know what the right thing to do is. Is it safe to put a duvet in a cot? Is it okay to use a cot bumper?
We’re here to help and tell you everything you need to know about how to put your baby down to sleep safely in their cot. When the time comes and you and your baby are ready to make the transition into a cot in their own room, you will feel confident that your precious baby is safe.
When to move your baby to a cot
However, don’t feel that you must move your baby into their own room as soon as they reach this age if you or your baby aren’t ready. There is no rush so do what feels right for you, but they might start to outgrow their Moses basket or bedside crib so the next best thing is to set up their cot in your bedroom.
What to put inside the cot
After the 6-month mark, the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) reduces significantly, which is why it is safe enough for them to be in their own room for sleep, as long as you follow safe sleep advice.
Here is some safe sleeping advice that we recommend you follow from birth until at least 12 months old:
- Don’t put any blankets, comforters, cot bumpers or pillows in your baby’s sleep environment. The only thing they need is a tightly fitted sheet.
- Use a baby sleeping bag or a muslin wrap (better for younger babies) to safely wrap your baby up.
- Ensure the room is at right temperature for your little one, 16-20 degrees Celsius is ideal.
- Make sure your baby is in a well-ventilated sleep space so they don’t overheat
- Use a new mattress, not a secondhand one
- Choose a firm mattress that fits your baby’s sleep space without gaps.
- Put your baby with their feet at the bottom of the cot.
Cot bumpers and comforters
We understand that cot bumpers look adorable in a cot. They come in all shapes and sizes and in different patterns and colours. They are created to go around the perimeter of a cot to protect a baby from hitting their head or putting their arms through the slats.
However, as with the safe sleeping advice above, a cot bumper is unnecessary and shouldn’t be in the cot because a clear cot is a safe cot. If you’re wondering if a cot bumper is safe for older babies, once they reach 12 months old, unfortunately, the answer is no. Cot bumpers aren’t considered safe at all because they still pose a suffocation risk.
Pillows, blankets and duvets
The older your baby gets the safer it becomes to use pillows, blankets and duvets so it is up to the parent’s discretion to decide when your baby is ready. Generally, the advice is to wait until they are at least 12 months old to introduce a light blanket and to wait until they are 18 months old to give them a pillow and duvet.
Anything loose in a cot poses a suffocation risk. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and wait a little longer to use these things in your baby’s cot.
Choosing a cot mattress is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your little one is sleeping safely in their cot. We don’t recommend using second-hand mattresses because they don’t last forever. If you buy secondhand, you don’t know the life or condition of the mattress when you receive it. Always choose a brand new mattress for your cot for peace of mind that it is safe.
Choosing a mattress for a cot is the same as choosing a mattress for a Moses basket or bedside crib. It must be:
- Fit the space perfectly
We don’t recommend using a mattress topper or a memory foam mattresses as they aren’t firm enough. Stay on the safe side and choose a firm mattress with only a fitted sheet to cover it.
Safe sleeping positions
The safest sleeping position is to put your baby down on their back in the cot. When your baby starts to roll over themselves, they might roll over in their sleep and whilst this can be worrying as a parent. If your baby is confidently rolling over themselves it means they can confidently roll back.
Before your baby is confidently rolling over themselves, if they somehow find themselves on their front or side before 6 months old when they are in the same room as you, gently roll them back onto their back.
When to transition from cot to bed
Once you have taken the plunge and transitioned your baby from their Moses basket or bedside crib you’re probably wondering how long to wait to make the transition from cot to bed. Here we have all the answers for you.
There are no rules to say when a child should move from cot to bed so it’s down to your discretion. Most parents transition their child from cot to bed anywhere from 18 months old to 3.5 years. It’s up to you to decide when you think your little one is ready for the move.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to transitioning to bed. There are more options these days than just cot to bed, such as cot beds and toddler beds.
Cot beds are ideal if you want a piece of furniture that is going to withstand the test of time and grow with your child. A cot bed easily transforms into a toddler bed by taking the sides of the cot down, which you can do anytime after 18 months old. Some cot beds even transition into a sofa bed for when your little one has outgrown their toddler bed and needs a bigger bed.
Here are some examples of cot beds that you might want to consider to make the transition from cot to bed far easier than if you choose a simple cot that doesn’t function as anything else.
This Tutti Bambini Modena Cot Bed has a beautiful contemporary design that combines a classic oak finish with modern white detailing. The Modena converts into a toddler bed and even a sofa bed making it the perfect choice for any nursery designed to grow with your little one. This cot bed is suitable from birth and will last them right up until around 6 years old with the sofa bed option.
The Babymore Eva Sleigh Cot Bed is designed full of style and versatility. The classic curves complement both a traditional and contemporary scheme. This cot bed is made of solid pine wood and features every conventional function of a modern cot bed as it converts from a cot to a toddler bed, sofa or day bed. This bed is suitable from birth to around 4 years.
We hope you now feel more confident about safe sleeping in a cot so you know when to do it and how to do it so you and your baby can get a full night’s sleep over and over again.
The most important things to remember are to keep your precious baby with you until they’re at least 6 months old, don’t put anything loose in their cot and place them to sleep on their cot flat on their back at the bottom or the cot.