Babies and young children may be injured in an unsafe cot.
To help reduce the risk of injury to babies and young children, household cots must meet certain design and construction requirements, pass impact, strength and durability tests and have warning labels attached.
What types of cots are covered?
A cot is defined in the Product Safety Standards (Household Cots) Regulations 2005 as a free-standing product with raised sides and ends that is designed as an enclosed sleeping facility for an infant or a child. The rules apply to new and second-hand cots designed and intended to be used in the home for a child's or infant's sleeping use.
Cots used outside the home, for example, in hotels, motels or day care centres, that are the same as those used in the home are also subject to the product safety standard.
The product safety standard does not apply to:
antique or collectible cots, as long as they carry a warning label that is easy to read and displayed on the cot where it can easily be seen.
What are the rules?
The product safety standard sets out the design and performance requirements a cot must meet and the tests which have to be carried out to determine whether a cot meet those requirements. In addition, new cots must have warning labels. The safety requirements differ depending on whether the cot is new or second-hand.
The safety standard includes requirements that for cots:
all the components of the cot must be either permanently fixed, require a tool for putting together or taking apart, or require a method of assembly that cannot be tampered with by a child within the cot
space between bars must not be less than 50mm or exceed 95mm
distance between the edges of the mattress and any end or side of the cot must not exceed 20mm
distance between the bottom rails (when the cot is closed) and the mattress base cannot be less than 12mm or more than 30mm
the distance between the floor and the cot's bottom rail at its lowest point must not be less than 50mm
there must be no structures or components that could be used to get a foothold or toehold for climbing
the cot's design and fastenings have to allow free movement of the dropside of the cot – the dropside guides have to be firmly fixed
there must be either two fasteners or a system that requires two separate but simultaneous actions to access the cot
the bottom edge of the lowest rails must not be higher than the top of the mattress base
nothing on the cot can protrude more than 5mm, unless it is designed so clothing cannot be caught on it
there must be no sharp edges or points on the cot that could risk injury to a child, or that clothing could catch on.
This list does not cover all the requirements of the regulations, nor does it cover any of the requirements in detail. Further details are available from the Standards NZ website.
Who do the rules apply to?
Any person who supplies, offers to supply or advertises the supply of new or second-hand household cots must comply with the product safety standard, including private sellers and people in trade, eg, retailers, importers, distributors and manufacturers.
Offering cots for lease, rent, or as a gift is also considered an "offer to supply".
I want to pass my second-hand cot on to a friend. Does the standard apply?
Yes, you need to make sure your cot complies with the product safety standard whether you are supplying the cot to a friend or to someone you don't know. Supply includes giving the cot to someone as a gift.
If you have any concerns about the safety of the cot you have for sale, do not sell it or give it away. You are responsible if you supply any cot that does not comply with the product safety standard.