This has been a common question from customers in store – “Which is better when it comes to Metal Cots Versus Timber Cots?”
Based on our 20 years of experience, the short answer is Wooden Cots.
Let me say that we understand why there is a lot of questions when it comes to choosing the perfect crib for your child and your home.
Let me explain..
Whilst there is a trend for a retro or heirloom look, there is a lot more that needs to be considered. And let’s face it, our child’s safety and comfort has to be the most important thing to think about.
We have evaluated many brands of metal cots over all the years of owning our baby store. As a result, we decided not to offer them.
Metal Cots with Drop Sides VS Wooden Cots with Drop Sides
Firstly, if we try to compare apples to apples, lets look at a metal cot with a dropside versus a wooden cot with a dropside. Metal cots with drop sides in every case that we evaluated and tested was way less sturdy than a timber cot with a drop side.
In addition, the metal cot drop sides are two handed drop sides, which kind of defeat the purpose unless you remember to leave the drop side down when removing baby from the cot. Otherwise, you need to put baby down when you return to drop it down. The same goes for any cot with a 2 hand drop side.
More importantly, the metal drop side mechanisms were loud and clunky. This also defeats the purpose of a drop side in that it wakes baby. I assume this is why some brands only offer ones with fixed sides?
The Look of Metal Cots Vs Wooden Cots
This comes down to personal preference. If you are looking for a retro look, you can achieve this with either a metal or timber cot. In fact, there is many more options and styles available with a wooden cot. Metal cots pretty much all look the same. I think for a child it will feel more like a prison – but that’s my personal opinion.
Whilst a metal cot may look more sturdy, that was not our experience with all of the ones that we evaluated. We were able to easily rock the metal cots from left to right with plenty of movement. But with wooden cots, this was not the case at all.
Length of Use
Cots made from timber have many advantages when it comes to the usable life for a child. Most are convertible. As a result, you can convert a wooden cot to a toddler bed easily and often to a sofa bed as well. This means you will get many more years use from a wooden cot over a metal cot.
Matching furniture for your Cot
Change tables are a must have if you want to save your back. Most change tables are wooden. Most wooden cots these days have matching change tables. I haven’t seen one matching metal change table on the market. If you are going to have a change table and you are choosing a metal cot for the retro look, then a wooden change table will look out of place anyway.
Cost Comparison of Metal Cots and Wooden Cots
We found that there was no reason for cost either way to come into the equation. There are wooden cots at the same or similar price points to metal cots.
Pro’s and Cons for your baby
Metal is cold, especially in winter. This means when baby touches the cot rails, both hen they are you and when they are older, it will not be comfortable for them. Even worse, if they roll to the side into the hard, cold metal bars.
Babies go through a teething period. If you have ever seen a second hand timber cot, you will almost always notice teething marks on the top sides of the cot. Unless of course like a lot of our range of wooden cots, it has teething rails on it. These protect the cot and the child. With a metal cot, I could only imagine the potential pain that could be caused by chewing on a cold metal cot rail.
Additionally, the metal cots are painted. As a result, they will look even less pretty after teething than a timber cot. Most metal cots are made from steel or cast iron and coated in a non-toxic powder coating. If this is chipped, then there is a potential rust problem. Especially in Australia’s high humidity.
If you are concerned about the environment in today’s world, then don’t be when it comes to timber cots. I could write a whole other article about that but the bottom line is that both have their pro’s and cons and they either come out even or the timber cot comes out on top.
Is a Metal Cot Safe for a baby
In short, yes as long as it has been tested against the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 2172:2010)
However, what if baby bumps their head against a metal railing? It happens more often that you think. Padded Cot bumpers are NOT recommended as this poses a risk of being used as a step to climb out. Therefore, timber cots are a little better from my point of view.
I hate to say this, but it has been claimed and there is evidence to back it that Metal bed frames (even adult ones) can actually increase the exposure to electrical pollution or electromagnetic fields (EMF). This can disrupt, sleep and increase health problems.
This is research done on adults and my concern is that if it applies to adults, then babies would be at a greater risk? See below some of the health problems I have found in my own research for metal beds for adults:
- Muscles cramps/aches
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t put my little one at this kind of risk.
Besides drop side mechanisms being noisy on metal cots, what about when the child is older and moves around ? What about when they stand on the mattress and shake the cot? When we tested them, they all made squeaky and creaking noises that would drive me around the bend! I am told that they get worse over time too.
Timber cots, do not do this at all. That’s with or without a drop side.
Although we chose not to sell metal cots, I am sure from the above, you can understand exactly why.
The best way to choose the right cot type for your exact needs is to find true experts and ask for help.
I can not stress the importance of getting the right advice from true independent baby stores with highly trained bay product experts. Not just a sales assistant working in a large multi-store who may not even be working there next month. Nor is asking a manufacturer of cots – they will just tell you what they want to sell.
The key is talking to a true independent baby store with experts that have all options and brands for you.
We have a full team of highly trained staff on helping you decide if a drop side cot is best for you and then choose the best cot for your needs. Do not hesitate to seek advice from us. We are here to help.
Right now, we have great deals on all of our cots. Click the button below to get instant access.
About the Author
Frank is a founding owner of Bubs n Grubs. He is also the sole author of the Bubs n Grubs Baby Blog. He has been personally evaluating baby products & testing them before offering them to our customers since 2009. In addition, he is consistently giving manufacturer’s feedback & product development advice, reviewing & getting customer feedback. He has been doing this since the business started in 2009. He is proud to be one of the rare baby store owners who regularly engages with customers in store. Frank values the constant feedback and regularly seeks it out. He has been featured on the Morning Show & the Today Show on Channel 7 and Channel 9 and is a recognised expert in baby products as a result.