Is your cot safe?
Following a major cot recall, Parent24 gathers some useful tips for cot safety.
Drop side cots seem practical, giving easier access to the baby. But in some cases, this mechanism could be a hazard.

Stork Craft announced a cot recall on 2.1 million of its drop-side cot in the US and Canada. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) declared its faulty hardware to be the cause of multiple suffocation deaths. To date, over 110 instances of drop-side detachments have been reported.

The Hazard

The cot’s drop-side plastic hardware can break or parts can become missing. These problems can cause the drop-side to detach in one or more corners. When the drop-side detaches, it creates space between the drop-side and the cot mattress.  Infants and toddlers can become stuck in the space which can lead to suffocation. Also if the drop-sides  detaches it can lead to falls from the cot.

Baby City in South Africa has not had any recalls on drop side cots and they have had no reporting of infant death due to this malfunction.

Pumla Nyakaza of Child Safe SA also has had no reports of incidents like this happening in South Africa and says that there have been no cot recalls here.

Cot safety tips

But a parent can never be too careful when it comes to their baby’s safety so here are a few tips when buying a cot.

There should be:
  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the cot.
  • Cots that are assembled wrong, have missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats can result in entrapment or suffocation deaths. Infants can strangle when their head and neck become entrapped in gaps created by missing, loose or broken hardware or broken slats.
  • No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the cot or mattress support.
  • No more than 6cm (about the width of a soda can) between cot slats so a baby's body cannot fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats.
  • No corner posts over 1/8th of a centimetre  high so a baby's clothing cannot catch.
  • No cut-outs in the headboard or foot board so a baby's head cannot get trapped.

For mesh-sided cots or playpens, look for:
  • Mesh less than ½ centimetre in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby's clothing.
  • Mesh with no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby.
  • Mesh securely attached to top rail and floor plate.
  • Top rail cover with no tears or holes.
  • If staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed.

The CPSC has the following tips for cot safety:
  • Place baby on his/her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
  • Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the cot.
  • Consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket.
  • If you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the cot mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest.
  • Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for cot use.

Do you have concerns over cot safety?
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