Cots and beds

Cots and Beds FACT SHEET

Did You Know?

  • Young children move around a lot when sleeping and can easily fall out of bed.
  • If you purchase a cot with drop-down sides, be aware that young babies can slide between the frame and the mattress which can cause injury or restrict breathing. Our information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at the bottom of this page has lots of information relating to best practice involving babies and sleeping.
  • Bunk beds are not recommended for children under 6.  

How to Buy Safely

  • When thinking of buying cots and beds consider what your priorities are. Is it cost, or is it more important for it to be easy to set up? How about the safety and suitability for your child? Make sure you have read our information about SIDS at the bottom of this page.
  • Check any cot conforms to the latest safety standard, BS EN 716-1:2008+A1:2013. It should be marked with a reference to this standard together with the name or trade mark of the manufacturer, distributor or retailer. The cot should also be accompanied with assembly instructions.
  • If you’re buying a second hand cot you may wish to replace the mattress. Any new mattress should be a good fit to the cot, ensuring your baby cannot trap their arms of legs down the side.

Bunk Beds

  • We do not advise that children under the age of 5 sleep in bunk beds, However, as your child gets older, you may wish to use one.

How to Set Up Safely

  • Follow the instructions provided but if you’ve purchased a second-hand item, without instructions, find out the manufacturer is and search online to see if you can find a set.
  • For child safety, it is best to site cots for babies, and beds for young children, away from windows and radiators. Young babies should always be placed on their backs ‘feet to foot’ of the cot without pillows, cot bumpers or soft toys in the cot, to keep them safe.

What The Law Says 

  • General Product Safety Regulations require these items to be safe but there are also specific regulations for bunk beds detailing requirements to prevent entrapment.
  • Due to the number of serious accidents that have occurred where children have slipped through gaps in the restraining rails of bunk beds and trapped their heads, a standard has been developed. To prevent injury, strangulation or suffocation a British/European Standard BS EN 747-1: 2012 and BS EN 747-2: 2012 has been developed,
  • The Standards specify various safety requirements that a bunk bed must have. This includes; Protective barriers, Guard rails, Ladders, Strength of materials, Durability, Instructions for use and more.


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – commonly referred to as ‘cot death’ – is the term used to describe the sudden and unexplained death of a baby. SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants aged between one month and one year in developed countries. Some 290 babies die of SIDS every year in the UK. Nearly half of these deaths were boys in 2013 and the rate of infant deaths is higher for mothers below the age of 20.* Sadly, the cause of SIDS remains unknown. However, research has identified the simple steps parents and carers can make to reduce the risk of their baby dying suddenly and unexpectedly

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot. A room temperature of 16-20°C is recommended
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding.

*Credit Office of National Statistics 2015