Differences In Baby Furniture Terminology Between the US and UK


Moving countries with a baby or expecting one while abroad can get tricky when you realise that the names for everyday baby items can be completely different! As an expatriate parent, you'll quickly discover that what you call a crib in America is a cot in Britain, and a stroller is called a pushchair across the pond. To help ease the transition, we've put together this guide covering the key differences in baby furniture terminology between the US and UK. Consider this your go-to resource for speaking nursery furniture lingo like a local, whether you're a Brit gearing up for a stint in the States or an American soon to be immersed in the Queen's English.


Cot vs Crib

Let's start with the biggie. What Brits call a cot, Americans call a crib. It's as simple as that. Both refer to the compact sleeping space for babies with bars or mesh siding. Traditionally, British cots were relatively smaller and lower to the ground. But there are lots of modern styles now. The American ‘crib’ also comes in countless shapes and sizes  from basic to ornate, compact to spacious, standard to convertible styles.

 Belgravia Cot Bed


No matter what you call it though, getting the right cot/crib is crucial for your baby’s safety and convenience. Which is why you should read our guide on picking the right cot/crib for your baby here.



Crib vs Bassinet 

For the first few months, many parents prefer a smaller, relatively more portable option before transitioning to a full-size cot/crib. The British classic is the crib  a small, cosy sleeping space designed specifically for newborns up until around 6 months old. Cribs come in compact styles meant to fit right in the bedroom, allowing you to have your baby nearby for easy feeding, comforting, and monitoring. While British cribs can be made of palm leaf or wicker, the American equivalent  bassinets  tend to be constructed with materials like plastic or mesh.



So, what Brits call ‘cot’, Americans call ‘crib’. You would say you want to buy a cot if you're shopping with The Baby Cot Shop here in the UK, and you would say you want to buy a crib if you're referring to the same thing while shopping with RH Baby & Child in the US. Also, what Brits call ‘crib’, Americans call ‘bassinet’. Therefore, you'd shop for bassinets in the US, but for cribs in the UK if you're referring to the same thing. It's the same general concept, just different names. Find out more about the distinctions between crib and cot, as well as which is best for your nursery setup here.



Changing Unit vs Changing Table

Having a dedicated surface for nappy/diaper changes is a nursery essential. In the UK, the setup designed to allow you do this is called a changing unit. In the US, the term slightly varies as it is referred to as a changing table. Changing units/tables have an elevated, contoured pad for baby comfort and safety, typically with raised edges and a safety strap to prevent rolling off. They also come with built-in shelving and compartments that provide handy storage for nappies, wipes, and other changing supplies.



Chest of Drawers vs Dresser

When it comes to storage for all those tiny vests, sleepsuits, and babygrows, you'll be needing furniture with ample storage space. A perfect one is what is called a chest of drawers in the UK. From tall pieces standing vertically to shorter, wider styles, if it is a freestanding cabinet with stacked drawers for folded items, it is a chest of drawers. They can be purchased as part of nursery furniture collections or as separates. In the US though, the exact same thing is referred to as a dresser.




Wardrobe vs Closet

In the UK, you'll be hanging your baby's clothes in a wardrobe  a freestanding, full-length cabinet with shelving and hanging space. In the US, that same nursery storage piece is called a closet, though these can typically be built directly into the room rather than used as freestanding furniture.



Pushchair vs Stroller  

For getting about town with baby in tow, parents in the UK use pushchairs, a word encompassing everything from prams to larger travel systems with attachments for carrycots or car seats. The generic American term is stroller, though more specific terms like baby carriage are also used.






So there you have it  the most important baby furniture vocabulary differences between the US and UK. With these in mind, you can feel confident purchasing, discussing, and assembling every nursery necessity without second-guessing yourself. At the end of the day, the most important things are keeping your baby safe and comfortable no matter what language variety you use. Here's to an easy linguistic and cultural transition as you create the perfect nursery for your little darling!



P.S. Whether you call it cot or crib, crib or bassinet, changing unit or changing table. chest of drawers or dressser, wardrobe or closet, and pushchair or stroller, The Baby Cot Shop is committed to giving you only nursery furniture of the highest quality. Made only from premium materials, our furniture collection is an investment in your baby's wellbeing that will be worth it. We guarantee it.

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