Cots are a sleeping environment for children where they can be expected to be left unattended for long periods of time. They must therefore be safe.

Safety checks for cots

Make sure any cot you are buying complies with the safety requirements of the National Standard AS/NZS 2172.

See Household cots for more information.

For all cots

All new and second-hand cots must meet these safety requirements:

  • The cot must be more than 600mm deep. Measure from the top of the mattress base to the lowest point on any end or side.
  • The mattress must fit the cot firmly. Any gaps at the ends and sides should be less than 20mm with the mattress centred in the cot.
  • Spaces between the bars of the cot must be between 50mm and 95mm.
  • The 4 corner posts must not stick up more than 5mm.
  • The dropside catches must lock securely.
  • Screws and nails must not stick out.
  • Cot ends must not have fancy cut-outs.
  • There must not be any bars, ledges or other footholds that an infant can use to climb out of the cot.
  • The base of the cot must be firm, with no parts to collapse or bend when pushed down.

For second-hand cots

Carry out the additional checks on second-hand cots:

  • Corner posts must not be longer than 5mm. Cut off any excess and make sure the cut edges are smooth.
  • Check old cots for poisonous lead-based paint. Ring your local Community/Public Health Service Provider (listed at the front of the White Pages) for advice.

How to use a cot safely

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s assembly and use instructions. If in doubt, go back to the retailer for help.
  • Do not use pillows in a cot. They might suffocate the baby.
  • Remove plastic wrapping from new mattresses, as it might suffocate the baby.
  • Do not leave toys in the cot. Large toys are climbing aids. Small toys with ribbons can be a choking risk.
  • Do not place the cot within reach of curtains and window blind cords.
  • Keep the cot in good condition:
    • Repair broken or wobbly bars.
    • Make sure all bolts and screws are firmly in place and aren't sticking out of the cot, including both the inside and outside.

Other types of cots

Baby hammocks

Baby hammocks don't fall within the scope of current standards. We recommend that when a baby will be left unsupervised, especially overnight, they should be in a cot or other sleeping environment that complies with an Australian/New Zealand Standard.

Portable cots

Portable cots should be used differently to household cots.

See Portable cots and play yards for more information on choosing these.

Reporting a problem with a household cot

Check with us or your local Plunket service if you have any safety concerns about your cot.

Contact us

Plunket website(external link)

If a shop is selling a cot that doesn't meet the mandatory standard, you can report it to the Commerce Commission. They are the agency that enforces the Household Cots Product Safety Standard.

Commerce Commission New Zealand website — Report form(external link)