What Is a Cot Bed

A baby arriving soon can be one of the most exciting events for parents. However, it can also be as stressful. This is because you need to consider so many things, particularly setting up the baby’s room and buying the essentials.

Cot beds are an increasingly popular choice as parents look more for evolutive baby furniture that will last. If you’re expecting or have recently had a baby, you’re probably considering purchasing a cot bed. To make sure that it’s the right choice for you and your little one, let’s take a closer look at what is a cot bed and why one could be the best baby bed for your child.

What Are Cot Beds?

A cot bed is a convertible cot that features removable sides. While some designs may be slightly different, once your baby is ready to transition from a cot to a bed, you can remove the sides and the end panel to convert it to a toddler bed.

Specially designed to be adjusted to suit your baby throughout his or her first years, some cot beds also include built-in features such as a changing station or storage when in cot format. Unfortunately, when you convert your cot to a bed, you normally lose these extra features.

Cot beds are designed to prolong your baby’s first furniture usage period and thanks to their low drop height. As a result, they can make the transition from cot to bed a lot easier. Some models also come with rails to ensure that your little one doesn’t roll out of bed while still allowing easy access. When your child is ready, these rails can be removed, and they can continue to use their cot bed or make the switch to a larger single bed.

What Is the Difference Between a Cot and a Cot Bed?

Cots and cot beds can be very similar. They are suitable for keeping babies safe in bed and are available in very similar styles and designs. There are, however, some quite important differences.


Cot beds are designed to convert to toddler beds, whereas baby cots aren’t. Both usually require building but cot beds generally have extra pieces. Some of these parts are needed when converting from a cot to a toddler bed and vice versa.

As we mentioned earlier, cot beds may also have some extra design features, such as storage or a changing station, which are really useful for you and your baby.

Usage Duration

Cots are designed to be used throughout your child’s first two years or even more, depending on when your little one is ready to make the transition to a big bed. A cot bed can last up to around five or even six years. If you’re expecting, as your child will be using their bed for several years longer than a standard cot, you will need to purchase a cot for the next baby or transition your toddler earlier to a single bed.


Cot beds are larger than cots. When you convert your unit, you may need to purchase a new cot bed-sized mattress if it’s not included. Your bedding will need to be a specific cot bed-size too. Standard cots measure approximately 120cm by 60cm. Meanwhile, cot beds vary considerably between models, averaging around 140cm x 70cm to accommodate older children.


Cots and cot beds can vary a lot in price, with cot beds being quite a bit more expensive. Even so, given their longer usage period, most parents consider cot beds more cost-effective for their children. This is especially true for models with built-in storage, saving you from buying other baby furniture right at the start.

What Age Is a Cot Bed Suitable For?

During the first few months, parents typically use a Moses basket or crib for their newborn baby. Cot beds can be used from birth. A converted cot bed, while smaller than a standard single bed, can be used up to age five or six, although you may decide to make the change to a single bed sooner.

A tiny newborn may look a little small in a cot. Also, if you are planning to have your new baby sleep in your room, as recommended by the NHS, you may prefer to go with a Moses basket at first. Cribs take up less space and are easier to move, making them a good choice for keeping next to your bed in the first few months.

However, it is not compulsory to use a crib. If there is enough space, many parents are happy using a cot bed in their room from birth before moving it over to the nursery later on.

Is It Worth Buying a Cot Bed?

A lot of parents, both before and after the birth, wonder if it’s worth paying the extra and getting a cot bed. Here are some benefits to consider, as well as a couple of drawbacks to purchasing a cot bed for your baby.

Available Space

Cot beds are often bigger and bulkier than cots. As a result, you may be tempted to opt for a smaller cot in your child’s nursery. However, remember that you will eventually install a full-sized single bed bigger than any cot bed. Plus, if space is tight, you could pick up a model with integrated drawers to make the most of bedroom floor space in the baby’s first years.

There are pros and cons to both tactics, and you may consider buying a larger piece of furniture if you know you will be moving soon or plan to switch rooms in the future.

Easier Transition


Your child may find it easier to make the transition to sleeping in a bed with a cot bed. This is especially true if your toddler doesn’t have any siblings and is comfortable sleeping in the same cot bed. Plus, as these models are designed to be extra low to the ground, there is less chance that your child will get hurt if they fall out of bed. What’s more, they can easily get in and out without a big drop.

Mattress and Bedding

As cot beds are not in standard sizes, if you choose to pick up a second-hand cot bed, your new mattress may not fit. So, make sure you double-check the mattress size before purchasing. Also, when converting your baby model to a bed, you may need to change mattresses or purchase a new mattress insert to extend your toddler bed from its cot format.

Finally, with a different sized mattress, your baby’s bedding may need to be a special size, particularly sheets. While this isn’t such a big deal, in reality, it is something to be aware of when making your selection. This is even more important if you plan out all of your nursery details during your pregnancy, including mattresses.


Models are available in a huge price range. As a result, you may be tempted to pay more for a cot bed than you would for a cot as it will last much longer. However, bear in mind that you will still need to purchase a standard bed at some point, and if you are going to have a larger family, your cot bed may not last longer than a cot would for all of your children. Alternatively, you may end up having to buy another one for later baby arrivals.


Some cot beds can be converted to a small toddler sofa when your child transitions to a big kid’s bed. This can be an excellent addition to your child’s room or reading corner if you have space. It can also be a good place for afternoon naps, relaxing, and even playing. Plus, it saves buying another item and means that you could get many extra years of use out of your purchase.

Get the Best Bed for Your Baby

Most parents start planning their baby’s nursery during pregnancy. While there are so many things you need to look into, sleep is one of the most important considerations for the whole family.

Now you know what is a cot bed, you can make an informed decision before making a purchase. Whether you decide to choose a standard cot or a cot bed, make sure that you consider the advice given above. Next, go for the model that best suits your budget, available space, and family. Lastly, don’t forget the importance of a good mattress specifically designed for baby or toddler use that is also the correct size for your unit.

Did you already purchase a cot bed for your child? Are there other helpful tips you can share, especially with new parents? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comment box below!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *