Stressing over buying the perfect cot or playpen? No idea where to start? MH brings you some starter tips.
WORDS ALEXIS TAN
One of the first things newly expectant parents do when they find out that they are pregnant is to make a checklist of all the baby essentials that they would need in the days to come. On top of that extensive list is probably a baby cot or playpen. When choosing your baby’s future bed, you will want something that is safe and comfortable. So, the big question is whether to go with a baby cot or instead opt for a playpen. The choices are never-ending and can leave a new parent feeling overwhelmed. Here’s a simple guide to choosing your little one’s bed.
Will it be a Cot?
The baby’s safety is of the utmost importance when buying a cot. Check to see if the baby cot passes all the safety regulations especially if you are thinking of getting a second-hand one, as second-hand cots may be older and thus do not fulfil the current safety requirements. This is very important as this will be where your baby will be spending most of his time and as you might not be able to keep an eye on him all of the time, you want him to be safe from accidents. The first thing you should do is to check the slats at the side of the cot. It should not be more than two inches wide. This is to prevent your baby’s head, arms or legs from getting stuck in between the slats.
Your baby will probably be using the cot for a long time, at least two to three years, so before settling on one, you should consider all your options carefully, as baby cots can be fairly expensive. The longer the baby is able to use the cot, the better it will be for you. There are some baby cots in the market that are able to convert into a toddler bed for when your little one reaches two or three years of age and becomes too big to fit in a crib. Certain brands can even be used up to seven years of age.
You might want to consider a cot that is easily movable. There are cots which have features such as four wheels for easy transportation from room to room. This will allow you to transport the cot easily into your room if you wish to sleep with baby at night or to move the cot out into the living room during the day. You can even place the cot next to the bed at night so that your baby will be within easy reach during the night for feeds.
Dropsides and dropdowns
Dropside cots are cots that have sides that are able to drop down, allowing you to pick up and put down your baby with more ease then cots that have stationery sides. However, since 2011, dropside cots are not recommended by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission as there have been numerous infant deaths linked to dropside cots. Dropside cots might also become a safety hazard when your baby is older and is able to stand as the baby might accidentally push the dropside down and fall out of the crib. The latch of the dropside might also be weakened after years of use and might fall open if the baby pushes too hard against the side, leading to the baby falling out. It is probably safer to get a cot with stationery sides. Perhaps, you should consider a cot with an adjustable base height that can be adjusted downwards as the baby grows. As soon as the baby is able to stand, lower the cot down so that the baby does not climb over the rail and fall out.
Beddings and bumpers
Be sure to inspect the bedding and the mattress too! A soft mattress can increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The crib mattress has to be firm so that the baby does not run the risk of suffocating due to sinking into the soft mattress. A good rule of thumb to see if the bedding is too soft is to press your hand into the bedding. If you are able to see your handprint when you lift your hand, the mattress is too soft. Crib bumpers, padding that surrounds the four sides of the crib are also discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics as the infant might accidentally push his face into the bumpers and suffocate.
Or Maybe a Playpen?
The playpen must be able to meet all the safety regulations such as the sides being more than 51 centimetres high so that the baby is unable to fall out when he is playing inside. If you are getting a playpen with mesh sides, make sure that the mesh is tightly woven so that no clothes or buttons can get caught in it. However, if you opt for a wooden playpen instead, the slat should not be larger than 2 inches in width. It should also be able to secure tightly to the top rails and the floor so that it will be sturdy and not topple over.
If you are a season traveller, portability becomes the top factor when choosing the perfect playpen. Make sure that the crib is easy to set up and dismantle. Another point to note is that when folded up, the playpen should be compact and take up minimal luggage space. Playpens that come with attached wheels also allow you to transport it easily from one room to the other. It can also be used as a portable crib at night.
Most playpens now have add-on features that are sure to attract parents. A bassinet that is attached to the top of the playpen is very useful for newborns. It can then be removed as your baby grows bigger. Some playpens also come with a changing table and storage space to keep all your diapers and baby essentials so that they don’t clutter up the room and take up extra space.
With all these tips in mind, it should be now be a breeze choosing your first baby cot or playpen. It is important that your final decision meet the needs of your family and baby. Ultimately, the safety of your baby should always come first so do adequate research and access your needs carefully so that you can choose the right baby cot or playpen for that special little someone in your life.