Folding cots, also known as portable cots, travel cots or portacots, are easily collapsible for transport. Folding playpens with a supportive base are also considered to be folding cots.
Keep in mind that folding cots are generally less robust than household cots, so they should be checked regularly for wear and tear and to make sure the folding and locking mechanisms work correctly.
There are a few simple steps you can take to keep your baby as safe as possible in their portable/folding cot.
Choosing a safe portable/folding cot
There are some important features you should check when choosing a portable/folding cot for your baby:
- Look for statements/labels that show compliance with the latest Australian safety standards. If you’re unsure or can’t find them, ask the supplier. Safety requirements for portable/folding cots help to prevent injuries from falls, entrapment, strangulation and suffocation.
- Make sure there is a secure locking device to prevent the portable/folding cot from collapsing while in use, keeping your baby safe from serious injuries and suffocation.
- Babies quickly grow out of portable/folding cots. Consider whether a portable/folding cot is right for your baby and upgrade to a low bed when your baby:
- Can stand, shake the sides and ends and/or climb; or
- Weighs more than 15kg.
Using a portable/foldable cot safely
- Follow the instructions provided when assembling and using a portable/folding cot and ensure the locking mechanism is secure.
- Set up the cot away from blinds and curtain cords to keep your baby safe from strangulation. Keep decorative mobiles out of reach.
- All cot accessories, including bassinette inserts and change tables, should be removed when the cot is in use to avoid your baby becoming trapped or tangled.
The mattress matters
- Only use the mattress specifically designed for the portable/folding cot. Using a mattress that doesn’t fit properly or using extra mattresses can create dangerous gaps that can trap and cause suffocation.
- Make sure the mattress, padding and cushioning material is firm to prevent it from forming to the contours of a child's face and suffocating them. Inflatable mattresses should not be used.