As any parent soon discovers, children know when they are sleeping in an uncomfortable bed. Little ones have an unerring sense for the little problems that arise from poorly made cots, leading to restless nights, anxiety, and tiredness for everyone. But there's a flip side, too. By purchasing premium cots which deliver total comfort, mums and dads can let their kids zone out and recharge their batteries in their bedroom without interruptions.
The question is, how can you find that ideal bed? This hotukdeals buyers guide will supply some answers. We'll look at how to choose the right cot, the different styles parents can choose from, as well as some brands that won't disappoint. But before we do all that, let's kick things off with a short trip back in time, to find out when and how specially made cots became part of every child's nursery.
The History of Cots
When we talk about “cots”, we're not just talking about separate beds for babies. As anyone with a passing familiarity with the Bible will know, cribs have been around for thousands of years, so there's nothing new about that concept.
Until fairly recently, cribs tended to be pretty basic, often resembling baskets more than actual beds. Because of this, more nimble children often found ways to leave their sleeping place, causing consternation for mothers. As a result, children didn't tend to stay in cribs for that long, sleeping elsewhere when they could stand on their own two feet.
Things moved on in the 18th century when new metal beds appeared (partly in an attempt to keep babies away from fleas and bugs). Since then, other materials have come in and out of fashion, theories have emerged about the optimum cot height, and mattresses have undergone plenty of evolution. But the basic format of a cot has remained startlingly constant – essentially resembling a baby box, with added bells and whistles like smart cameras and baby alarms.
What Makes a Good Cot? Some Things to Keep in Mind
Despite the simplicity of the basic cot design, there are actually many things that good designs need to achieve, and where low-quality products fall down. Let's quickly run through some criteria to look for when you browse for a cheap baby cot at hotukdeals:
Bar width – Most cots will be made with bars, allowing babies to see out of the cot, and parents to get a good view of what's occurring on the inside. However, these bars can be spaced too far apart – allowing babies to stick their heads through and potentially become stuck. As a general rule, bars should be less than 6cm and more than 2.5cm apart giving purchasers some leeway when choosing their cots.
Adjustability – In the past, cots have suffered from being fairly hard to customise, but this is now changing. The best cots feature adjustable mattress heights, which can be changed as babies grow older and larger – extending the lifetime of the cot and lowering replacement costs. Some flexibility is very desirable if only to make sure that your baby can't climb out. Babies can suddenly gain mobility as they grow older, and fixed height cots can quickly become dangerous. Some models will also feature drop-down sides. These make it easier for parents to bend down and pick up babies if the mattress has been lowered, and are great for helping grandparents out with child-minding duties.
Extra features – Imaginatively designed baby cots tend to come with more than a mattress. They may feature a changing pad which folds out over the top of the cot, offering a clean, separated place to change nappies and generally check up on your child. And some will have useful storage drawers underneath the cot. This can be empty space in many instances, so why let it go to waste? Instead, it can hold baby essentials and toys, freeing up space elsewhere (and that's usually a godsend for new parents).
Mattress – Which cot bed mattress is best? Well, that's really up to your baby. Try a few brands and thicknesses to discover which one relaxes your child and lets them snuggle up reliably. When picking a mattress, size matters. Measure your cot and choose mattresses which have the perfect dimensions. Whatever you do, don't leave too much empty space between the edge of the cot bed mattress and the cot bars. Around 4cm is the maximum to safely leave.
Weight – There's a very good chance that you'll need to move your cot around regularly, with or without somebody inside. The sturdiest cots can also be very heavy, limiting their mobility. So keep that in mind. It's not usually essential to choose reinforced cots with extra thick bars and frames. They may look rugged and strong, but they offer very little that slender models can't. Some people even prefer using high-quality travel cots at home, as they are by far the easiest type to carry around.
Different Styles of Cot to Think About
When you come to browse the baby cot sale at hotukdeals, those are the kind of factors to think about. But what about different types of cot? As you'll quickly find, cots come in a range of sizes and modes, and it's vital to find one which suits your child.
For starters, one way to focus your search when checking out cot sale bargains is to divide the products by age. Different cots will suit children of different ages, and it's not likely to be possible to use the same cot for your child all the way through.
At first, parents will probably prefer some sort of bassinet (basket) cot, but this only really lasts for 3-6 months. By that stage, as babies become more independent, you will need to choose between a cot and a cot bed. They may sound similar, but the two styles have quite a few differences.
Newborns – Cots will be absolutely ideal when newborns become too large for baskets. They tend to be relatively small (measuring around 125 x 65 cm) and designed for immediate access. Above all, they have to be safe, which means choosing the right bar width, having a properly secured, properly sized mattress, and avoiding any sharp edges or small components. Aside from that, little extras like changing mats and storage space for baby clothes can go a long way, making life easier for parents who are running short of space. However, they are less common on standard cots than cot beds, so don't worry if you can't find them. Focus on safety, access, and style to find a simple cot that baby adores.
Toddlers – Cot beds offer a longer-term solution. By around 18 months old, toddlers often grow out of traditional cots, and larger toddlers start to come into their own. Toddler bed sizes generally measure around 145 x 75 cm and are basically a transitional stage between cots and proper beds. They are larger than cots, with space underneath for clothes and essentials, and tend to come with removable sides, providing more freedom as babies grow into toddlers. Cot beds are larger than cots and bulkier as a result. So, they aren't always a good option for parents who want their children to sleep next to the parental bed. But in many cases, it does make sense to invest in a good cot bed from the start. They should last for longer, offer more flexibility, and deliver the same comfort levels you'd expect from traditional cots.
Young Children – Some parents will decide to opt for a smaller cot for the first couple of years, followed by a toddler cot bed until their child is 2 or 3. That's a great move if space is an issue (for example, if you need a space-efficient place for your second child to sleep while they are a baby). And there are some great cots aimed specifically at toddlers. The best of them will be suitable for children aged 1-4 (or thereabouts) and possibly even older. For example brands like Snüz sell cots that convert into toddler beds, and which can then be converted into junior beds via an affordable kit.
The key thing is to plan the first 4 years or so of your baby's life. You may well be able to find a bed which caters for every stage, via features like adjustable mattress heights and removable bars. And if they come from reputable brands, those will almost always be the beds to go for, unless you are fortunate enough to have the budget for separate baby cot, baby cot bed, and toddler cot bed models.
Basic cot beds can also be jazzed up as toddlers grow older via the right cot bed bedding set. Just check the hotukdeals listings for sets themed around Star Wars, Marvel - and a wealth of other entertainment franchises.
Aside from those age-related considerations, cot beds can vary by shape. Some can be well-adapted for the corners of rooms, making them very useful when space is at a premium, Others have half-moon style formats. Some have wavy “sleigh” style bars, while others keep things straight. And some have drop sides, while others give that a miss.
Then there are travel cot offers. Any parents who intend to travel with their children will want to invest in one of these, alongside their main cot or cot bed. Good travel cots should be safe and comfortable (naturally), but there are other factors in play. For instance, they need to be as light as possible, while retaining their stability. And they should ideally fold away small for storage when not in use. Brands like Chicco, BabyBjorn, and BabyDan tend to get the balance right more often than not.
Some of the Leading Cot Brands for UK Parents to Check Out
Whenever parents buy products for their children to use, it makes sense to look to reliable manufacturers and brands with a solid safety record and plenty of favourable feedback from their fellow buyers. These brands minimise the risks – while maximising comfort:
Snüz - Focusing on creating baby products made entirely from organic materials, Snüz is a British company, which takes its design inspiration from Scandinavia. Hence, its cots tend to rely heavily on sustainable hardwoods, which is no bad thing. Products like the SnuzKot look the part and are cleverly designed to suit babies from birth until the age of 10.
IKEA – The Swedish furniture giant needs no introduction, and – predictably enough – it offers an excellent collection of baby furniture. Baby-friendly rounded ages are standard on all IKEA cots, and the sidebars are meticulously placed to ensure total safety. Popular models include the Sundvik cot bed, and the Stuva/Fritid combo, which mixes a comfortable cot with drawers underneath.
Clair de Lune – Another UK manufacturer, Clair de Lune is based in Manchester, where it has made baby cots for over 75 years. Still owned by the Rodgers family which created the factory, the company is most famous for its Moses Baskets – a beautiful and very practical option for mums and dads who want a separate infant bed for their child.
Chicco– Italian furniture legends Chicco make all sorts of baby and toddler products, but their cots are right at the forefront. Their textile-based Next2Me cribs allow mums to be right there with their infants at all times, while Zip & Go is a superb travel crib, mixing mobility and comfort in one dazzling package.
Video: Discover the NEW SnuzKot Collection [Snüz TV]
What About Second Hand Cots and Trade-Ins?
If money is especially tight, parents may be tempted by second-hand cots and cot beds – and why not? By shopping wisely, you can pick up a specialist cot, a baby cot bed, then a proper toddler bed, for relatively little. However, buying cheap cots second-hand isn't without potential risks.
Firstly, don't buy a cheap cot bed with a mattress included. That's just a sanitary no-go area. Instead, use the hotukdeals listings to find mattresses that fit your second-hand cot precisely.
When you get the chance, look for a measurement of the width between the cot bars on the second-hand model. Listings should include a measurement, which shouldn't be more than 6cm. If it's not there, don't be afraid to ask.
Many cots will also come with a BSI (British Standards Institution) code imprinted on the side. This isn't always the case, but it should be there most of the time, and it means that the cot has passed basic health and safety standards.
Vintage cots may look great, and they could be an excellent purchase. However, avoid painted cots from over 30 years ago, as the paint could well contain lead – another massive red flag that all parents should avoid.
Check the cot yourself if possible. If you are shopping at an auction, furniture emporium, or charity shop, check for things like jagged edges, rogue nails, or splinters. And if pictures on listings that you can't check personally seem “too good to be true”, give the product a miss. It probably is.
How and When to Find Toddler and Baby Cot Sale Bargains
Babies can be very demanding when it comes to night-time comfort. They know when their parents have cut corners when purchasing cots, cot beds, and mattresses. And they won't let them forget about it. So to head off sleepless nights and give your child the best chance of resting their tired limbs, finding the right cot is absolutely essential.
When looking for a cheap cot bed, cross-compare the various deals and discount codes, and you're sure to find offers that cut the cost. If you're buying in advance of a new arrival, and want to get the best possible cot around, it could also make sense to wait a while. Deals tend to spike around Black Friday in November, when discounts of hundreds of pounds can materialise. But if you just need a comfortable cot right now, the hotukdeals listings are easily the best place to be.
Ensure A Great Sleep For Your Child with hotukdeals
Having a comfortable, safe place for babies and toddlers to sleep is one of the most important things for parents, and it's surprisingly difficult to find cots that youngsters actually enjoy. Don't just settle for the first cots you find. Shop around for deluxe models with super-soft mattresses, adjustable heights, shelves, and eye-catching designs. And save money too, with the hotukdeals cot listings.