A good night's sleep is important for us all and a valuable basis for good health. The bed should not only keep the body in a back-friendly position but also take due account of the physical and motoric development of infants, toddlers and school children.
When it comes to youngsters and also children who have grown out of their cots, basically the same rules apply as for adult beds. There are just a few additional points that have to be heeded for small children and babies.
Bed-sharing with the parents is definitely not a good idea. The child's own bed should be in a light place free of draughts; a room climate of 16 to 18° C with relative humidity of 50 to 65 % is ideal. Fresh air is also part of a good room climate, airing frequently but just briefly.
The baby or child should not have to shiver when lying in bed, but should also be protected above all from getting too warm. This not only has a negative impact on the quality of sleep but is also made partly responsible among others for cot deaths. New mattresses also help to prevent babies from rebreathing. Vertical and horizontal climate channels or a permeable honeycomb structure all round help to remove any surplus heat, reduce possible rebreathing and provide a healthy, dry climate in the bed.
A duvet is not suitable for cots as it can make it too warm for the child and may even end up covering the respiratory passages. Pillows, soft toys and lambskins don't belong in a cot either.
A suitable sleeping bag considerably reduces the risk of the child getting too warm or becoming covered. It is less likely that a baby in a sleeping bag will turn over into the dangerous prone position. The main criterion in selecting a sleeping bag is to choose the right size. Here the rule of thumb is: child's body length minus head length plus 10 cm to max. 15 cm for kicking around and for growing. The main principle when buying a sleeping bag is that it is something to "grow out of rather than grow into".
On choosing the right size, the neck and arm holes will then be adapted accordingly. These must not be too large so that the baby/child cannot slip down inside the sleeping bag.
The sleeping bag is adjusted to the room temperature, not to the season. Sleeping bags are available for different room temperatures and in all necessary sizes, also for premature and newborn babies.
As with the bed, when choosing the mattress it is important to avoid any accident risks while at the same time providing optimum support for the young spine.
The mattress should be neither too soft nor too hard. The young body should not be able to depress the mattress by more than approx. 2 cm. The surface will then adapt to the baby's spine. This allows the buttocks, shoulder and hips to sink in slightly, encouraging a good body position while at the same time preventing any unpleasant or even bad pressure, while still providing sufficient support. The mattress must still adapt to the body profile even for lightweight children.
As soon as children start to grow and find their feet, the cot will often be put to other uses. A mattress that is too soft provides insufficient support when running, jumping and standing: the little feet will sink too far into the mattress.
Duo mattresses with a softer baby side and firmer child side together with a firm mattress frame prevent the risk of little feet getting stuck between the mattress and bed or between the bars of the cot.
A perforated board in the base of the bed is better than the classic rigid slatted frame. If the slats are too far apart, there is a risk of little fleet slipping through when jumping around or gambolling on the bed. Individual wooden slats could also possibly break.
The bars of the cot should be quite close together so that the child cannot put his head through; but the bars should not be too narrow either, to prevent any risk of getting stuck.
While mattresses for adults last around eight years before having to be replaced for hygienic reasons, children’s mattresses have to be changed more frequently.
They are subject to particular soiling, for example if the child wets the bed or when a baby is drinking out of a bottle, resulting in special demands in terms of hygiene and washing requirements. It should be possible to remove the mattress and wash it at up to 60° C.
Ecologically harmless materials, paints and dyes are very important in all aspects of a cot. Protect your child from possible allergies and other health risks posed by contaminated materials. We are already all exposed to more than enough environmental toxins and in many cases have almost no means of protecting ourselves. Babies and small children are particularly at risk here, being far more vulnerable than a healthy adult!
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