Infant bed

Infant bed

An infant bed (commonly referred to as a cot in British English and a crib, cradle or stock) is a small bed specifically for infants, generally up to 3 years old.

Infant beds are typically used as a bed for a baby after it is no longer safe to leave them in a bassinet. Infant beds are more stable than bassinettes and become desirable when a baby can roll. They have a lower center of gravity, a broader base of support and can hold a larger baby than a bassinet.

Infant beds are designed to restrict the baby to the bed. The sides are too high for a baby to climb and provide no footholds. The thinking behind this design is that if the baby wakes up, they will return to sleep rather than roam around the house. To improve the reliability of the confinement, a top (solid or fabric) may be added to an infant bed.

Placing a child into an infant bed can put strain on a caretaker's back. To reduce the strain on those operating an infant bed, many infant beds feature:

  • a mattress that can be in a raised position until the child is able to sit upright.
  • a dropside, a side which lowers to ease the process of putting the child into the bed, but can be raised again to restore the integrity of the enclosure.

Infant beds that can be converted into a standard sized bed as the child grows larger have become increasingly popular.

Infant beds can be stationary or portable (portacots). In their portable form the beds generally don't feature a dropside, and portability factors are emphasised. Portacots are often made from plastics, are often smaller and fold into a compact package.

Design standards for infant beds include considerations such as preventing hand and head entrapment. Research has shown that the mattress influences SIDS outcomes; a firm mattress lowers SIDS risk.

Larger infant beds are manufactured, generally for hospital use or for those with special needs. They may include a top, generally made of plastic or metal, to prevent a child from climbing out.

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