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  • What should my baby sleep in? Many parents start with a Moses basket or carrycot; both are portable and compact. For babies to sleep safely in either, use the same rules as for cots: Baskets are safe until your baby can roll over or weighs more than 7kg 15lb.

    Check that there is nothing on the inside of the cot that your baby can use as a foothold to help him climb out. This is key to a successful bedtime. Sign up now Cot safety features:

    Cradle Cradles are ideal in the early weeks and months but, again, they can be knocked or pushed by bigger children or pets. Crib A bit like a Moses basket only with a rocking stand. It might seem like a good way of saving money, but by the time your child becomes big enough for a bed you might need to buy a new one. This means that the gap between the slats must be no more than 6cm and none of them are loose to prevent injury. Likewise, if you buy a second-hand mattress, check that it fits the cot properly and that there are no gaps that could trap your baby.

    To ensure these vital skills can be developed in safety, their cot should have: Lockable castors, if it has any A close-fitting mattress. No more than two finger widths between it and the cot side A drop-side mechanism that can be locked when fully raised No horizontal bars to climb A mattress adjustment level, if it has one, that leaves 50cm 20in between the top of the mattress and top of the cot at its lowest level and 20cm 8in at its highest What should go in the cot?

    cot bed guide Cot bed guide

    Remember that whatever you buy needs to be easy to wash too. Are baby sleeping bags safe?

    There is some evidence to suggest that bringing in a mattress from another home might increase the risk of sudden infant death very slightly. Perfect for hot summer nights or for those who prefer to be kept cool.

    The safest are those the baby wears like a garment, like Grobags, which have become really popular over the last few years and are recommended by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths FSID. Like adult bedding there are different tog ratings and you choose which one to use and what the baby wears with it according to the temperature in the room. Useful guidelines for sleeping bags: These are easy to layer so you can add or take away when you think the baby is too hot or too cold.

    You can buy sleeping bags for babies up to months, which easily covers the period at which little ones are at highest risk of cot death. Some can be extended to grow with the baby, ensuring his feet are at the bottom. If you do swaddle your baby, use thin materials, leave his head uncovered and restrict the use of other bedding — getting too hot is a greater danger than being too cold. There are so many choices of mattresses around: Look for the blue and white label that guarantees fire-safety standards.

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  • The mattress should have a wipe-clean surface and washable cover. Keeping it well-aired and clean may not seem a safety issue, but think of the bugs! Apart from pee, there are dust mites. These are unavoidable, as they thrive in warm, moist conditions and feed off skin particles.

    Bugs in the bed are, in part, why parents are often advised to buy a new mattress.

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    But untold numbers of babies and children have slept on second-hand mattresses and thrived. Covers should be traditionally made up, with sheets and blankets. They also have an outer layer that protects against dust mites and are recommended by Allergy UK. Do you need special lighting? Baby monitors Lots of parents buy baby monitors so they can relax knowing that if their baby cries they will hear them.

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  • There are lots of varieties on the market. Costs aside, the best way to choose is to decide how much reassurance you need that your baby is OK and pick the one that will make you feel the most secure.

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