Having a little one is such a magical, rewarding, beautiful experience. Your little bundle of perfection deserves the absolute best, especially since they always sleep exactly when you want them to…
Hmm. I’m sure if you’ve actually had children, you know that most of that is not true.
Babies are tough! And baby sleep can be even tougher. I might not be able to give you the break that you’re craving, but I can talk you through what to look for in a good cot bed.
I meant what I said when I told you that your new baby deserves the best. I want to take the work out of your decision when it comes to choosing your baby cot or cot bed, since you probably have enough on your plate!
I’ve brought together all the information you need for choosing your baby bed in this buying guide and reviewed the best cot beds out there, so you know what to expect. I’ve also included links below so that you can buy them online.
Top 5 Best Cot Beds
If you need to make a quick decision, then here are the five best cot beds on the market. Each one has a short review, with a link that will let you buy it online.
1. Top Choice – John Lewis Alex Cot Bed
Brand: John Lewis
Dimensions: L144.5 x W75.5 x H93cm
- 3 Mattress Positions
- 12 Month Guarantee
- Teething Rail Included
This is a John Lewis cot bed and it’s exactly what you would want from a cot bed: sturdy, simple and practical.
It won’t take hours to assemble when you take it home and even has space underneath the cot bed which you can use for storage. Multi-tasking is a big plus from any piece of nursery furniture.
This cot bed also has three different mattress heights, which means it’ll work for just about anyone and a more practical purchase than a fixed-height cot bed.
The simple design of this John Lewis cot bed also means that it will fit in well with any nursery theme, whether it’s farmyard, fairies or fire engines.
2. Luxury Choice – Silver Cross Notting Hill Cot Bed
Brand: Silver Cross
Dimensions: H85 x W75 x L152cm
- Stylish Design
- 3 Mattress Heights
- Very Sturdy
Silver Cross have set the quality and safety standards for baby products since 1877. Their baby cots and pushchairs are fashionable but Silver Cross don’t compromise quality for appearances. They know what they’re doing!
This is a safe, sturdy cot bed that will see even older children through their early years. Its design means that it can be easily turned into a toddler bed. The end panels can be made smaller, which gives it the bed a more ‘traditional’ look. This is important, since it might help your little one settle into their ‘big bed’, because it looks just like yours.
3. Best Sleigh Cot Bed – John Lewis Rachel Sleigh Bed
Brand: John Lewis
Dimensions: H100 x W76 x L157.5cm
- Wooden Cot
- 3 Mattress Heights
- Drawer underneath
I think that this is one of the safest cot beds on my list. It’s super strong and is made out of solid pine.
Like the Alex Cot Bed, this also has storage built-in underneath the actual bed – useful for all of those essential toys that your child will keep in there for safekeeping!
Another similarity between this and the Alex Cot Bed is how easy it is to put together. It’s another cot bed that comes with three mattress heights too.
I will say that the visual design of this cot bed is really nice, it would make a lovely addition to any baby’s nursery.
4. Best Convertible Cot Bed – John Lewis Rachel
Brand: John Lewis
Dimensions: L144 x W79 x H103cm
- 3 Mattress Levels
- Extra End Panels To Convert To Toddler Bed
Another John Lewis cot bed and another cot bed with three mattress levels, which means a smooth bedtime for you and your little one.
John Lewis are a brand you can trust, since they provide the solid construction you’re looking for when it comes to your child’s safety.
Another big plus of this cot bed are the different end panels that come with it. They can be swapped out when you want to make this into a toddler bed, which means you can keep it for longer as your child grows up. Minimising the amount of things you have to keep replacing over the years will keep your wallet happy!
5. Best 2 Height Cot Bed – Boori Casa
Dimensions: 104 x 80 x 157cm
- 2 Mattress Heights
- Hardwood Construction
This cot bed is the big kahuna: all 43kg of it!
While this means that it’s extremely safe, it does make moving it around a real pain, unless you’re a lot stronger than I am! If you need to reshuffle your baby’s nursery, then this could be a problem.
This cot bed also has two mattress levels, rather than the three that most others come with, which is something to be aware of. This could potentially have an impact on how easy it is to put your baby down to sleep.
This cot bed is definitely a luxurious option, and will last extremely well, but I do think it’s a bit on the pricey side for what you get.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COT AND A COT BED
WHAT IS A COT BED?
There are two things that make a cot bed different from your standard cot:
- A cot bed is generally longer and wider than a cot.
- A cot bed has removable sides.
A cot bed is easier to adapt as your little one gets bigger, which means it will last them a lot longer than a traditional cot. Economical and simple!
Cot beds have removable sides, which means that when your child is old enough, you can take these sides off and turn yours into a toddler bed. The transition from a cot to a bed can be difficult for some kids, so the familiarity of their cot mattress might make the change more smooth.
However, I will say that a cot bed is different from a drop-side cot. Cot beds have removable sides, that allow you to turn them into toddler beds. Drop-side cots have three fixed sides and one side that slides up and down. There is a lot of debate as to whether these drop-side cots are actually safe, since there is the chance that the movable side could drop while your child is sleeping unattended, which is extremely dangerous.
So make sure you’re going for a cot bed!
WHEN CAN MY CHILD USE A COT BED?
Your child can use a cot bed from birth up until they’re around five years old, depending on how big they get. No two children are the same!
This makes a cot bed much better value than a cot. It’s like those jumpers everyone got handed down to them at some point in their childhood, that their mum promised they’d grow into.
Except in this case, it’s true. Your cot bed will adjust as your child gets bigger, lasting much longer than your standard cot.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A COT BED?
When you’re shopping for a cot bed, there are three main things you should consider and look for:
1. Adjustable mattress heights
My wife is not the tallest woman in the world. There’s no way that she would manage with a lot of traditional cots that are out there, since the mattresses are usually a lot lower to the ground than you think, which is a problem when the sides are high.
Having cot mattresses so low and difficult to reach can create problems with putting your child to sleep safely, especially when you’re recovering from the birth in the early days. It’s uncomfortable and unsafe.
Having adjustable mattress heights on your cot bed makes it easier for everybody. If you can adjust how close to the ground the mattress is, there’s no reaching, stretching or ‘dropping’ involved. Easy access means an easy bedtime.
If you’re using an adjustable mattress height, then it shouldn’t be kept on the highest setting (when the mattress is furthest from the ground) all the time. You should lower it when your baby starts grabbing at the sides to pull themselves upright. This way, you minimise the risk of them pulling themselves out of the cot bed and falling onto the floor from a height.
No amateur acrobatics today!
2. Solid construction
The last thing you want to hear in the middle of the night is a crash from your child’s room, only to find them sitting in a pile of kindling.
All of the cot beds that I’ve recommended are available to buy at John Lewis. John Lewis & Partners have really high product standards, so you can be sure that what they’re happy to sell in their stores will be high quality.
If you decide to go with somewhere else, make sure you do your research beforehand and read reviews from other parents to ensure you’re getting a solid, safe cot bed.
3. A mattress
Maybe this sounds a bit silly but don’t forget the mattress!
Most cot beds actually don’t come with a mattress, so you’ll need to buy one separately.
If this is something you need, I’ve got a guide for choosing the best cot bed mattress, so definitely give it a read. You might want to consider hypoallergenic or waterproof cot mattress options, depending on what you need.
WHAT IF I STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BUY?
I appreciate that this is a big decision, since all of us want to do the best by our kids. If you’re a bit stuck, let me know in the comments and I’ll be able to help.
How long do cot beds last?
You could potentially keep your cot bed for about five years if you buy one that is good quality.
I mentioned it earlier, but your children can sleep in a cot bed from birth until they’re about 5 years old. A sturdy, wooden cot bed will last right the way through.
Some cot beds can even be turned into small sofas, which means you could keep it in your baby’s nursery for even longer!
Are cot beds bigger than cots?
Yes, a little bit. They’re bigger than a traditional cot but are still smaller than a single bed. This is why they’re ideal for young children, since they’re small enough for your little one to be comfy and cosy, without having too much space to roll around in.
What size bedding do I need for a cot bed?
Like I said, cot beds are smaller than single beds. This means you’ll probably need to buy bedding, especially for your cot bed.
The usual dimensions of a cot bed duvet are 120x160cm, but generally, you shouldn’t use a duvet in your cot bed until your baby is about 12 months.
Is it OK to buy a second-hand cot bed?
Generally, a secondhand cot bed is completely safe. They’re sturdy and there’s usually no reason not to opt for one. Obviously, you should try to see the cot bed you want to buy in person before you commit to it, to ensure there aren’t any glaring problems with it.
This is good to know since shops like Mothercare have started closing across the UK, so there potentially isn’t as much choice as before. Going for a secondhand cot bed can be cheaper and easier.
However, while it’s totally okay to go for a secondhand cot bed, you should always buy a new cot mattress for your little one. This way you minimise the risk of infection and germs, since you know exactly where the mattress has been.
Is a cot bed the same size as a toddler bed?
Yes, usually. You can turn the cot bed you’ve bought into a toddler bed just by taking the sides off, which doesn’t change the size of the mattress. It’s one of the great things about buying a cot bed.