If you provide a cot or travel cot in your holiday house, then you need to comply with the British Standards (which covers European safety standards) which is applicable to items such as cots, high chairs and play pens – and this is what you need to know.

This NTS venue has chosen to provide a travel cot

This NTS venue has chosen to provide a travel cot

The cot and mattress you provide must conform to British safety standards BSEN716 and when starting a holiday house business it is advised to buy both as new, and most venues currently choose to buy a travel cot, which can then be stored easily. (More information on choosing a cot or travel cot can be found at the “Which” guide to choosing a cot). When providing a cot or travel cot, then this must come with a mattress, but no bedding, as this is brought in by the incoming client for their baby.

This holiday house has a traditional modern cot

This holiday house has a traditional modern cot

The cot frame should have a depth of 600mm from the top of the mattress (or any foothold) to the top of the cot sides, to prevent a baby from climbing out. The cot bars should be vertical, otherwise they may act as a ladder to climb out. The distance between each bar is to be no less than 2.5cm and no more than 6.5cm. It should not be possible to fit a soft drink between the slats. This is to prevent a baby’s head managing to get between the bars.

This cot is situated within a dressing room to the bedroom

This cot is situated within a dressing room to the bedroom

The cot mattress should be clean, dry and free from cracks or tears and fit snugly in the base of the cot. If the cot has been used during the holidays, then the mattress needs to be checked that it is as clean and hygienic as possible. A mattress is also required to conform to safety standards and should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10.

Older cots like this can comply, but buying new is advised

Older cots like this can comply, but buying new is advised

If you have provided a second hand cot, you will need to be aware of certain potential issues and that it complies to current safety standards. All moving parts, in the drop-side mechanism and latches should be work smoothly and have no sharp sections. Cots made prior to 1973 could have used lead paint which is toxic and if this is the case, then the paintwork would need to be stripped down and re-painted. All stickers to be removed and any additions like mobile animals to the cot to be taken off. Replace the mattress with a brand new one.

For more information on the use of Standards in England and Wales, and in Scotland, are provided by the Health and Safety Executive.

Antony Sherlock

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