Lara Green from Babyworld.co.uk has been testing out first beds with a panel of parents. We asked her what points parents should consider when picking a bed for their little one.
What age should we move babies into a bed?
Most children tend to move around 2 years old. If you have a really tall toddler you may want to move them sooner. It is up to the parent though.
How do you know when the time is right?
With Finn, he was showing a bit more independence and we thought it would be nice for him to get in and out of his bed of his own accord rather than having to wait for us. Some parents do it for that reason others do it because they are potty training or again they become to big. Sometimes the cots become dangerous because they're too big and they're trying to climb out all of the time.
So, tell us about the test you carried out...
We looked at six different styles of childrens beds. We looked at a cot bed - this is basically a cot, you take the sides off it, the mattress lowers and it turns into a bed. You're looking at £160 up to £300 for a cot bed. You can get really good cot beds at around £200. They will save you money in the long term. They're not hugely expensive in comparison to a normal cot. We looked at the Hauk Berlin cot bed at £160. This comes with a lot of extras but the winner of the best value award was the Mothercare Suffolk cot bed model at £200.
What are the pros and cons of using a cot bed?
The pros - they save you money. I don't think there's anything particularly negative about them. They do have a lot of positive attributes.
So what did you test for?
Construction and design. We looked at how easy they were to put together, they also looked at quality, value for money, longevity and practicality. One of the beds we looked at was from Treehouse Kids - quite good value at £229. That was a traditional sized single and some of the panel commented that some of the children didn't seem so cosy. The Natural Toddle Bed did quite well because it came with the built in guards. The Ellen bed from John Lewis won the Best Buy Award but you would have to put a rail on that as it didn't come with one. (We also looked at the) Little Tikes Cosy Cottage bed - Themed beds are great for kids but there is that idea that they'll only be appealing for a year or two at a push. You might find that it would be money wasted. Most of them were relatively easy to put together. The Ellen bedstead did come already made. Another reason this won was because the mattress came out very high.
How important is the mattress?
You want a mattress that's supportive for your child's back and neck, you want something that lasts. You want your child to be as comfortable and supported as possible.