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11 best cot beds for your toddler that are a long-term sleep solution

Choose from a simple wooden model, a stylish sleigh design or Scandi inspired

Sally J. Hall
Friday 29 October 2021 15:02
<p>These beds will typically last your child until they are around five to eight</p>

These beds will typically last your child until they are around five to eight

From almost the moment of conception, parents start to think about where their little one will sleep. The Lullaby Trust recommends that your baby should sleep in your own bedroom with you for the first six months of life, so many parents choose a crib, moses basket or bedside crib for the early months.

Choosing a cot bed that will last for several years is a smart choice to follow this and can save you money. There’s lots of choice, from a simple wooden model through to a stylish sleigh cot bed.

Cot beds tend to be around 140 x 70cm in size and will typically last your child until they are around five to eight years old, but do check each one’s dimensions before you buy.

Be sure to measure the available space in your child’s room too – and always keep the instructions and any additional parts handy in one place for when you want to transform it. Some cot beds change not just into toddler beds but also into different pieces of furniture, such as a sofa or even a double bed, so think long term.

You’ll need to buy a separate mattress for most of these cot beds and some require additional elements to change them into other pieces of furniture.

Read more:

The best cot beds for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Gaia Baby Serena complete sleep co-sleep: £599.95, Scandiborn.co.uk
  • Best day bed – Silver Cross nostalgia sleigh: £650, Silvercrossbaby.com
  • Best Scandi-inspired cot bed – SnuzKot Skandi: £379, Snuz.co.uk
  • Best looking cot bed – Mamas and Papas Melfi: £460, Mamasandpapas.com
  • Best investment cot bed – Cam Cam Copenhagen Harlequin: £1,070, Harrods.com
  • Best oak cod bed – Leander linea: £649, Huggle.co.uk
  • Best centrepiece cot bed – Cadogan luxury upholstered cot bed: £2,470, Thebabycotshop.co.uk
  • Best robust bed – Cuddleco Clara: £395, Cuddleco.co.uk
  • Best sustainable sourced bed – East Coast Angelina: £229.99, Pramworld.co.uk
  • Best expanding bed – Stokke sleepi bed: £619, Stokke.com
  • Best for longevity – Boori Eton convertible plus: £699, Boori.com

Gaia Baby Serena complete sleep+co-sleep

Best: Overall

  • Dimensions: 90cm x 84cm x 147cm
  • Weight: 51.5kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-18+
  • Rating: 10/10

The Gaia Serena has quite a different look to many cot beds, as it is gloriously curvaceous, even down to its curved feet, and it is one of the most adaptable of the cot beds we have seen. It’s easy to assemble with just a screwdriver and Allen key, though there are lots of parts, so make sure you lay them all out and identify each piece before you begin. This model has a very important first stage, as you use half of the cot as a bedside crib, attached to your own bed to have your baby right next to you for the first few months of life (you’ll need some extra pieces of kit for this).

Next it becomes a small and cosy cot, with two mattress base positions; the higher one for small babies up to six months and the lower suitable for two years. When you reach this stage, you can swap parts on the cot bed around to create a really sweet little toddler bed that can be used for four or five years, with curved head and foot boards. If you then decide you can’t bear to part with it, you can buy an extension kit so that the bed can be used for up to 10-years.

Silver Cross nostalgia sleigh

Best: Day bed

  • Dimensions: 160cm x 76cm x 100cm
  • Weight: 54kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-4
  • Rating: 8/10

Combining old-fashioned grace with modern practicality, the Nostalgia comes in two styles, both as a standard cot bed and as this sleigh-style cot bed with gently curved ends. In pure white, the Nostalgia has three mattress base heights and a handy full-length drawer underneath it to store bedding and other baby items, which slides really smoothly and holds quite a lot of items.

It makes a cosy cot for newborns with the mattress base in its highest position and transforms easily into a toddler bed by removing the sides (make sure you store the pieces somewhere handy, as you need them later), and is suitable up to around five years. It can be a little fiddly to reach some of the bolts when removing the sides but you only need to do this once, so be patient. Next, replace one side to change it into a daybed, which can stay in your child’s room as a cosy place to sit and read, or even be a spare bed for little visitors. It’s solid, fairly easy to assemble and feels sturdy.

SnuzKot Skandi

Best: Scandi-inspired decor

  • Dimensions: 72cm x 133cm x 89cm
  • Weight: 32kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-10
  • Rating: 8/10

If you are bored with plain old wooden cot beds, the Snuz collection is worth a look, as you can choose between six colours including a sleek black and white model or a white and pine version with contemporary grey bars. Its Scandi vibe offers curved corners, slim pointed feet and narrow upright bars instead of the more usual slatted sides and it can be used from when your little one is born, right up to 10-years.

Starting life as a cot bed, the Skandi has three mattress base heights and then becomes a toddler bed, followed by a junior bed (with a separate extension kit). It’s pretty easy to assemble, though having two people really helps, despite Snuz’s assertion that one person can make this.

The highest position is a godsend if you are sore from giving birth or have had a caesarean, as you simply lay your tiny baby down without having to bend or stretch. Though it has a middle base height, you probably won’t use it for long, as once a baby can roll or pull themselves up, you’d be better off putting them at the lowest position, for safety. The lowest position can be used for a few years but the cot bed is rather shorter than some; however, if you have chosen to add the extension kit, that’s no problem.

The wood used in its construction is sustainably sourced and it uses no MDF, veneer or chipboard. Snuz also offers a matching changing unit and a range of coordinating bedding.

Mamas and Papas melfi cot bed

Best: Looking cot bed

  • Dimensions: 89cm x 75cm x 145cm
  • Weight: 60kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-4
  • Rating: 8/10

One of the most popular nursery colours now is deep blue and this stunning midnight cot bed with brushed metallic handles will look great with contemporary décor. Unlike some cot beds, this has quite a different look when it’s converted into a toddler bed, suitable up to four years, with lower head and foot boards that look sleek and it’s quite easy to transform it too, as the base remains in place.

The mattress base can be swapped between three heights, so it’s easier to lower a small baby in at night when it’s at the highest position. You can buy this alone, or as a bundle, including a cot top changer that doubles as an under-bed storage unit to hold all your little one’s essentials.

Cam Cam Copenhagen Harlequin cot bed

Best: Investment cot bed

  • Dimensions: 95cm x 132cm x 72cm
  • Suitable for age range: 0-4
  • Rating: 9/10

Fancy a fairytale theme in the nursery? This cot bed combines classic Scandinavian style with a pretty twist and it adapts as your baby grows up. It has three mattress base heights that can be changed to suit a newborn, a larger baby or a toddler and then when you’re ready to transform it to a junior bed, the side comes off really easily with patented and child-proof buttons – one of the simplest we’ve seen.

Simply pull and twist the buttons, then the side slides up within the frame and straight off. No need to take out screws or bolts and nothing that you can lose! Made from birch and FSC-certified MDF, it has a painted finish and closed ends that are cosy if there’s a breeze from a nearby window and comes in a white, grey or sand finish. There’s a matching changing table and a wardrobe to complete the look.

Leander linea

Best: Oak cot bed

  • Dimensions: 132cm x 65cm x 90cm
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-4
  • Rating: 7/10

Every piece in this stylish Danish range has been created by designer Stig Leander and adapts to your growing child. First, you can use the cot for a newborn with the mattress base raised to its highest position and then as your child grows, lower the base to the lower position for a toddler. Though easy to use and stunning to look at, the internal dimensions are smaller than some cot beds, so it may not last as long in its cot bed stage.

Remove one side to create a toddler bed (you’ll need a new mattress for this stage, which adds to the already quite healthy price) and finally, the cot bed transforms into a sweet little sofa by adding a cosy cushion set (sold separately). It’s made from solid lacquered oak and there are matching pieces of furniture including a changing table and chest of drawers to complete the look.

Cadogan luxury upholstered cot bed

Best: Centrepiece cot bed

  • Dimensions: 153cm x 89cm x 130cm
  • Suitable for age range: 0-5
  • Rating: 8/10

For those who want luxury and a stunning centre-piece for the nursery, the Cadogan cot bed, with two mattress base heights, is made from beautifully modelled beech with cushioned upholstered ends and carved accents. It’s made to order, so you can choose from a selection of colours including warm white, pure white, mushroom grey, light French grey or cream, or you can choose a bespoke shade that matches your nursery design.

It comes with a handy under bed drawer to store all your baby’s essentials and there are additional pieces of furniture available to complement it. When your child has grown out of the cot function, the sides come off so that you can continue to use the Cadogan as a junior bed, suitable to around five years.

Cuddleco Clara

Best: Robust bed

  • Dimensions: 88cm x 82cm x 156cm
  • Weight: 39.6kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-4
  • Rating: 9/10

This brings together the elegance of a sleigh bed with the practicality of a robust cot bed with three mattress base positions. Once your child has grown out of needing a cot and wants more independence, you can transform it into a toddler bed with lower head and foot boards, topped with a beech or white trim.

Both the initial build and process of changing it from cot to bed are fairly simple, and it feels very strong and robust once it has been properly assembled. It will last your little one as a bed up to around five years. It comes with a double-sided mattress in naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial bamboo fabric and you can also add a chest of drawers with a top changer and a wardrobe to fill your nursery beautifully.

East Coast Angelina

Best: Sustainably sourced bed

  • Dimensions: 144cm x 77cm x 91cm
  • Weight: 24kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-5
  • Rating: 8/10

If you need an inexpensive cot bed that comes in either a traditional antique wooden finish, in white or in white and grey, the Angelina is a very good choice. It is quick and easy to put together and has a great build quality, meaning that it will withstand small children bouncing and playing for years and has the potential to stay in use for a second or third child.

It has slatted sides and solid ends with curved tops and there are three mattress base heights to choose from. The side rails have teething protection and the cot bed has been made from solid, sustainably sourced wood. When your baby has grown out of the cot function of the piece, remove both sides and split the head and foot boards in two to create a sturdy little toddler bed.

Stokke sleepi bed

Best: Expanding bed

  • Dimensions: 86cm x 127cm x 74cm
  • Weight: 22.9kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-10
  • Rating: 8/10

Stokke is renowned for its innovative children’s products and its rounded crib-to-bed product, the Sleepi, is a best-seller. Suitable from newborn as the mini, (the crib in its smallest configuration), is a little round crib with handy castors underneath that means it can double as a bedside crib. It is let down a little by not having teething protection and when the mattress is in its lower position, it can be quite a stretch to place a sleeping child down at mattress height.

Add two side pieces to create a small cot that can be placed in the nursery, with two mattress base heights. Next, one side can be removed to make a small toddler bed; the mattress base can be left low so that your child can get in and out easily without any danger of falls. Finally, the Junior extensions are added and the base raised to create a bed that can be used up to ten years. It comes in natural wood, in a white finish, in mint or in grey and there’s a range of bedding and accessories to go with it.

Boori Eton convertible plus

Best: For longevity

  • Dimensions: 90cm x 84cm x 147cm
  • Weight: 57kg
  • Suitable for age range: 0-18
  • Rating: 8/10

If you’re looking for longevity and sustainability, plus a handsome piece of furniture that you’ll want to have in your home for years, the Eton is a good buy. Made from sustainable, FSC-certified Australian Araucaria wood plus yellow poplar, it is painted in your choice of three colours with baby-friendly finishes.

It has two mattress base heights, so as a cot it can be used in its higher position for small babies and in this mode, it’s fairly easy to get your baby in and out; however, once your baby can sit, roll or stand, you need to move the base to its lower position. This is right at the base of the cot and if you’re short, it’s hard to put a sleeping baby down without waking them.

In this mode, it can be used to around 18-months to two-years, at which point you can convert it into a toddler bed that will last up to five years. The side comes off quite easily here and you can simply bolt on a toddler guard panel to stop your child from rolling out in the night.

Once your baby no longer needs a toddler bed, you can transform the Eton into an adult-sized double bed and a sofa, by buying a conversion kit. This cot is big, heavy and cumbersome and it’s quite a feat to transform it between its different modes due to the weight and size of the parts but once made, it’s sturdy and solid feeling.

Cot bed FAQs

What to look for when buying a cot bed:

Height adjustable mattress base – Many cot beds have a base that starts in a high position, helping you when putting a tiny baby to sleep and avoiding backache. The base can be dropped to a low position once your baby can sit and pull themselves up, for safety, and some have an intermediate position too, often used when you change the cot into a junior bed.

Teething rails – Each side of the cot should have baby-safe guards over the top rails, to stop your baby chomping on the wood when teething.

Cot top changer – If you want to save space, you can add a changing mat and base to the top of the cot, saving having to buy a changing unit.

Underbed drawers – Great for additional storage, some cot beds come with a drawer that slides beneath the base.

Castors – If you need to move the cot bed, wheels can be helpful.

Mattress – As this bed is used for several years, it’s important to spend as much time choosing a mattress as you would for your own bed. Never accept a second-hand mattress.

Assembly – If you’re used to putting together a flatpack, you should have no problem assembling a cot bed (top tip; don’t do bolts up completely until you have it loosely assembled). Usually, once you have made a piece of furniture, however fiddly it is, it’s done. However, cot beds usually have two modes at least, so make sure that you keep all separate pieces, instructions and additional bolts etc. in one place. If there’s an additional piece of kit you may want in future, we’d suggest buying it now in case the style becomes obsolete.

The verdict: Cot beds

There really is something for every style and every pocket when it comes to choosing a cot bed, so it pays to think about longer-term plans when you are buying. Do you want to buy something that will last a few years, or do you want to choose a piece that will be in your home for much longer? The Gaia Baby Serena complete sleep+co-sleep is our overall winner across the board and for those wanting classic elegance, the Silver Cross Nostalgia is right on the button.

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