A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

(4) Conclusions: The Demand for Cot Bedding

It is useful to compare the proportions of mothers who said they had been unable to buy cot bedding with the proportions having no cot bedding of the different sorts.

Type of Cot Bedding % Mothers Unable to buy % Mothers having none
Mattresses 3 16
Pillows 6 40
Sheets 23 75
Pillow-cases 9 53
Woollen blankets 23 55
Thin under blankets 8 72
Waterproof Sheets 7 22
Eiderdown or quilt 5 33
Sample; 462 455

In all cases the proportion unable to buy cot bedding is considerably smaller than the proportion not having any, and this suggests that some mothers prefer to make their own or use substitutes, at any rate under present conditions.

The position is summarised in the table below which shows the proportions of mothers having one or more articles of each sort, the proportion having none who had been unable to buy recently, and the proportion having none who had not tried to buy recently.

% Mothers with children sleeping in cots or substitutes for cots.

Type of Cot Bedding % having one or more % with none who had been unable to buy % with none who had not tried to buy recently
Mattresses 84 2 14
Pillows 60 4 36
Sheets 25 20 55
Pillow cases 47 5 48
Woollen blankets 45 17 38
Thin under blankets 28 7 38
Waterproof sheets 78 4 18
Eiderdown or quilt 67 4 29
Sample: 455.

The figures in the third column are an indication of the proportion who prefer under present conditions to manage with substitutes. Their reasons are of course not know. It may be that they have not tried to buy recently because previous unsuccessful attempts led them to suppose that they would not get what they wanted if they did try, or would not be able to get it at a price that they could afford. On the other hand it may be that some would manage with substitutes or home-made bedding even if there were no shortage. The proportion is particularly high in the case of sheets. Pillow - 6 - cases and under blankets, items for which substitutes can perhaps be found more easily than for others. On the other hand the proportion is low in the case of mattresses and waterproof sheets for which it is more difficult to find substitutes. More mothers had mattresses and waterproof sheets than had other items of bedding.

The results suggest that ready made mattresses and waterproof sheets are more often regarded as essential than are ready made sheets, blankets, pillow cases and blankets than by the shortage of other items.

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