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  • Here's the safety checks and vital advice you need to know But it can also be expensive. Thankfully, most cots are built to last, so this is one area where you can make serious savings by buying secondhand or accepting a pre-loved cot from friends or family.

    There are just a few key points to bear in mind when making a secondhand purchase, to ensure your baby slumbers safely.

    Does it come with secondhand mattress? If a mattress is included, you should toss it out. So remember to factor the cost of a new mattress into your purchase.

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  • Until the mids, lead was used in some paint, which is toxic. To find out how to remove lead paint safely, Directgov has info. Look at the general condition of the cot. Ask yourself these questions: Are there any sharp edges or pieces that stick out that your baby could catch themselves on? Is the paint flaking or the wood splintering anywhere? Run your hands over the frame — does it feel smooth and well made?

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    Are the bars secure? Give it a wobble — does it seem sturdy and all the joints sound? Are there cut-outs or ledges in the sides that an adventurous child could use to step on and climb out? If there are any transfers or stickers on the insides of the cot, you'll need to remove them, as they may pose a choking hazard if peeled off. Although teething rails can be replaced it can be tricky to find the right size, so check the existing one is intact and in good condition.

    This style of cot looks set to be outlawed in the USA due to safety concerns. What about recalled products?

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    Occasionally, manufacturers recall items that were found to be faulty. What should you know when buying a secondhand travel cot?

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  • If buying a secondhand travel cot, check it assembles and folds down properly and is structurally sound. The seller should be able to give you the original instruction booklet, or check if the instructions can be downloaded from the internet.

    Sales arranged by Direct Group Limited. Mattresses tend to come in two sizes, standard and continental and should fit the equivalent sizes of cots commonly available in the UK.

    More cot buying advice.

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