Cot vs. Cot Bed: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on 24 Jun. 2020

When your little one starts transitioning from an infant to a toddler, he or she will naturally outgrow their tiny crib, meaning you’ll need to get a larger, comfier baby bed. At this stage, most new parents are often torn between a cot and a cot bed, wondering which option best suits their little one.

A cot is a small infant bed characterized by its barred sides that help to enclose children when inside, and often has narrow sides and a slightly elongated length for an infant’s growth spurts, while a cot bed is the larger version and comes with removable barred sides as the child continues to grow.

As you look to upgrade your bundle of joy to a bigger bed, you’ll need to understand the differences between these two baby beds. This article will pit cot against cot bed by discussing features, pros and cons of each, all to help you make the best choice for you and your little munchkin.

Best Age For Cot bed

Comparison Table: Cot vs. Cot Bed

Features Cot Cot Bed
Size 120x60cm 140x 70 cm
Usability in Small Spaces 98/100 90/100
Long term Use 85/100 96/100
Safety 97/100 97/100

Cots: A Brief Overview

A cot’s primary purpose is to keep a baby safe and secure during nap time, especially when mom and dad are out of the room.

Cots come in different sizes, most of which are usually small. And while the fixed sides guarantee safety during infancy, these towering sides transform into safety hazards for toddlers as they learn to climb. As a result, cots are often preferred for short term use before an infant becomes increasingly active and capable of climbing the siding.

Modern cots used to integrate drop gates that allowed for easy access. However, drop gates were banned in the US due to safety concerns.

Advantages of Cots

Ideal for Limited Spaces

Cots usually measure an average of 120x 60cm, making them suitable for small nurseries. And if you want to monitor your little one closely, you can even fit a compact cot next to your bed.

Great for Siblings

A cot will come in handy if you’re planning to have children with minimal age-gaps. When the older baby reaches around three years, and a newborn is on the way, he or she can upgrade to a bigger bed while handing over the cot to the sibling.

Fair Priced

Due to their size and short term usage, cots are not as expensive as the larger types of beds meant for long-term use. A cot bed is usually costlier than a cot, which makes a cot ideal when looking to buy a baby bed on a budget.

Cot Beds: What You Need to Know

A cot bed is the larger version of a cot that is designed for long term use right from infancy to mid or even late toddlerhood. These beds are characterized by their removable sides and end panel.

Besides the removable edges, these beds are wider and longer to provide extra space that’ll accommodate your infant’s growth.

Although cot beds are usually larger than cots, they are relatively smaller in size compared to beds for older children. Their work is to provide additional space for growth and save parents the hassle of changing from a cot to a baby bed.

Advantages of the Cot Bed

Ideal for Long Term Use

Your infant can use a cot bed right from birth until when he or she is five years old, meaning you won’t have to switch between beds as your baby grows.

Cheaper in the Long Run

While a cot might appear less expensive at first, investing in a quality cot bed will help you save more, especially considering that you won’t have to replace beds. If you buy a cot, then you’ll have to switch to a bigger bed as your little one continues to grow.


Cot beds are safe as you can easily remove the sides when your child starts climbing the edges. With a cot bed, you don’t have to make any purchases to increase your child’s safety as he grows older. Removing the sides completely eliminates the risks of high falls.


A cot bed is wider and longer than a cot, meaning your baby will have additional space to play and toss around when in bed. You’ll have a good night’s rest knowing that your child is extra comfortable when tucked in his or her bed. Also, cot beds can easily accommodate your baby’s dolls as well as extra baby blankets for those chilly nights.

Differences Between Cots and Cot Beds


Cots: While some cots might have large dimensions, these beds are typically smaller than cot beds and measure approximately 120 x 60 cm (47 x 23 inches) on average.

Cot Beds: Cot beds are generally larger, not only in length but also in terms of width (140 x 70cm or 55 x 27 inches). Generally, however, cot beds are still smaller than standard baby beds in the market.


Cots: Cots more often than not come with enlarged sides that help to keep the baby in place. Most cots have latticed or barred sides that protect the infant as they become more adventurous.

Cot Bed: The typical cot bed will have removable sides that will come in handy when transforming to a childbed. Some modern cot beds come with removable end panels.


Cots: Cots are ideal for use from birth up until 18 months. Some parents, however, can use cots for up to 24 months, depending on the size and weight of their babies.

Cot Bed: Cot beds are larger in size, and once the sides are removed, they can be used until the baby is 5 or 6 years old.

Cot vs. Cot Bed: Choosing a Mattress

Baby cots are usually meant for short term use, meaning you won’t need to change your baby’s cot mattress if you buy a high-quality one. Remember, babies need soft and comfortable sleeping surfaces, so you can’t afford to compromise on quality.

With cot beds, choosing a mattress requires long term planning. At some point along the road, you might need to upgrade to a firmer mattress that can accommodate your child’s increasing weight. Consider buying a high-quality baby mattress that can be used by your child both in infancy and toddlerhood.

Cot vs. Cot Bed: Which Option Is Best for Me?

A cot is ideal if you have another bundle of joy on the way or plan on having one soon. The newborn can inherit the cot as the older sibling transitions to a larger bed. You can also settle for the cot when working with a limited bedroom or nursery space as cots are usually compact enough to fit in small rooms.

A cot bed is recommended if you want to avoid the hassle of buying a new bed when your baby outgrows his or her cot. With a longer lifespan compared to a cot, your child can make the most of a cot bed right from infancy until post toddlerhood.


Although frequently confused, cots and cot beds are entirely different types of baby beds. Cot beds have extra space and are ideal for long term use. On the other hand, a cot’s dimension is suitable for small spaces, meaning it can cutely fit into your baby’s small nursery.

Point to note, though, if you choose to get a cot bed, don’t wait too long to remove the rails. Your little Tarzan might end up hurting himself if he decides to climb up the railings.


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