The Product Safety Standards (Household Cots) Regulations 2005

Cots are a sleeping environment for children where they can be expected to be left unattended for long periods of time. They must therefore be safe. Older cots with knobbed corner posts and decorative cut-outs have been implicated in child fatalities.

The regulations were put in place to help reduce an unacceptably high incidence of injury associated with cot use in New Zealand. A number of these injuries could be directly attributed to hazardous design features.

It was considered necessary to introduce regulatory measures both to ensure that only new cot designs that were safe could enter the market and also to protect consumers from older unsafe designs in the substantial second hand market for this product.

However, some new products such as baby hammocks, fall outside the scope of the current standards. The Ministry recommends that when a baby will be left unsupervised, especially overnight, they should be in a cot or other sleeping environment that complies with an Australian/New Zealand Standard.

The regulations declare AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household use - Safety requirements (with variations) to be a product safety standard. The cot standard applies to new and second hand free-standing cots designed for normal household use. This includes those cots of similar design that may be used in day-care centres or crèches.

It does NOT include: 

  • baby hammocks
  • institutional cots or purpose built cots such as space-savers
  • portable cots or play-yards
  • antique or collectible cots as long as these are labelled: 'WARNING: THIS COT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR USE AS A SLEEPING FACILITY FOR INFANTS OR CHILDREN'. 

The regulations declare AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household use- Safety requirements (with variations) to be a product safety standard. The standard sets out measurements for gaps and projections. It addresses such features as the depth of the cot, allowable base heights, safe sizes for holes and openings in the cot, protrusions, and the integrity of the fastening device. There is durability, information labelling and packaging requirements for new cots.

The Standard for Household Cots was revised in May 2010. The Regulations cite the 2003 version. The revised version incorporates amendments which do not affect the clauses stated in the Regulations. Until the Regulations are updated to include the revised version, this will be available from Standards NZ and will continue to be the mandatory safety standard.

Enforcing the standard

The Commerce Commission(external link) is responsible for enforcing this standard and has published some guidelines.

Purchasing the standard

AS/NZS 2172:2003 Cots for household use- Safety requirements can be purchased from Standards New Zealand(external link).