Second-hand cot safety
Second-hand cots have been associated with fatal injuries in children under 12 months old. Young babies are particularly vulnerable to suffocating or choking, and toddlers are at risk of injury from falling while trying to climb out of a cot. To prevent injuries all cots must be checked before they are sold. Simple checks like measuring gaps and ensuring the cot is in good repair can help keep a baby safe.
How to check a second-hand cot
Keeping a baby safe is everyone’s responsibility, so it’s important to know the key requirements when testing a cot for safety.
- Inspect the cot for overall stability and ensure the rails and base slats are intact and there are no sharp edges. Make sure all nuts and bolts are tight and all mechanisms are in good working order. Check the bars, panels, mattress base and drop sides are firmly attached, and then take some measurements.
- Panels need to be spaced no greater than 95mm to ensure a child’s head does not become trapped.
- New cots cannot have spaces between 30mm – 50mm. Whilst this is not a requirement for second-hand cots, check to ensure a child’s arms or legs cannot become entrapped.
- Ensure the mattress is firm and fits tightly on the sides and each end – any gaps should be not greater than 20mm.
- The base of the mattress to the top of the cot should be 600mm and 250 mm when the drop side is down. If the base is adjustable the distance is 400mm when the base is at the highest position.
- Make sure catches on the side of the cot have not become loose and be easy for a child to undo.
- Check there are no small holes or openings where small fingers can be caught.
- Check there are no fittings, bolts, knobs or corner posts that stick out more than 8mm that could catch onto a child’s clothing, causing distress or strangulation.
- Antique cots may look good, but they don't meet current safety standards – they cannot be sold and should not be used.
If you are in the market or offering a second-hand cot for sale, access the following materials to ensure any injuries or tragedies are prevented.
Download the material:
- Poster A3
- Poster A4
- Keeping Baby Safe pack from Product Safety Australia - includes publication, smartphone app and videos
You can order free posters and flyers by email.
All cots sold, even if second-hand, must comply with strict mandatory safety standards relating to cots. This mandatory standard is based on Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household use—safety requirements.
Recently, the ACCC surveillance conducted recalls of multiple cot suppliers which did not meet the requirement of the mandatory safety standard. Due to the lack of recall data and suppliers who do not conform to mandatory standards, it is absolutely essential these safety checks be carried out to prevent injury or a tragedy from occurring.
Portable cot safety
There are also safety requirements for folding / portable cots.
For more information
If you need any further assistance please visit the Product Safety Australia website or contact the Consumer Protection Advice Line on 1300 304 054.
The safe second-hand cots campaign is supported by Kidsafe WA.
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