Re using an old cot
With babies growing so fast, the average cot is used for a very short time. This can have a huge impact on the environment, with many cots contributing to the household waste thrown away annually. However, this also means that second hand cots can be often be found in very good condition. Buying or borrowing a second hand cot is perfect for minimizing your impact upon new resources and keeping a large item out of the waste stream.
When buying a second hand cot, ensure it isn’t covered with lead paint, which can put your baby at risk of lead poisoning. If you suspect that the cot contains lead paint, it is best to have it professionally stripped or to find a safer, modern alternative.
Remember that if buying a second hand cot, it is important to buy an accompanying new mattress to prevent the spread of bacteria from previous babies.
If buying a new cot, avoid cheap, MDF models which have shorter lifespans and can contain the carcinogenic ingredient formaldehyde. Instead, opt for sturdy, sustainably sourced wooden models. Wooden cots are long lasting and can be passed down to future generations to prevent waste. They are also biodegradable and will have a minimal environmental impact when they come to the end of their lifespan.
To get more use from your eco friendly cot, it can be worth investing in a model which transforms from a cot to a bed as they grow older. Some models convert into a child’s bed, suitable up until the age of around 10, while “4 in 1” cots can eventually grow to a full sized bed. This allows it to provide long term use and is ideal if you aren’t having any more children.
While some cots can be bought with mattresses provided, you may find yourself looking to buy a cot mattress individually if you own a second hand cot or are looking for a natural fibre mattress for your baby to sleep on.
Mattress materials to avoid include:
Fire retardant chemicals- can interfere with thyroid function and brain development and have been linked to various cancers
Latex- can trigger skin allergies and possibly asthma
PVC- used for creating a waterproof layer on the mattress. PVC can grow very hot when slept on, which can contribute to a high temperature in your baby. It has also been linked to genetic changes, skin diseases, digestion problems and more.
Polyurethane foam- a synthetic padding which can harbour bacteria and trigger breathing and skin problems
Natural fibre mattresses
When shopping for a mattress for your eco friendly cot, keep a look out for the following natural alternatives:
Lambswool or sheep wool- a natural, sustainable and thermally regulating material which is resistant to dust mites and and naturally fire retardant, eliminating the need for fireproof chemical coatings
Natural latex- a latex substance produced with the sap of the rubber tree. Can cause inflammation in those with sensitive skin but is usually well covered and only used in small levels
Organic cotton- a lightweight, unbleached cotton which is grown and produced without the use of pesticides