When your new baby comes home from the hospital, they need a place to sleep! Newborns need to have special sleeping arrangements: some parents choose to go with baby cribs, but bassinets are another option that a lot of parents and children love. A bassinet provides a safe, secure and comfortable sleeping environment, especially for newborn babies. If a baby bassinet is something you’re interested in purchasing for your baby, we’ve put together a guide to help you find a great, comfortable bassinet for your precious newborn.
Our Tips: Choosing a Baby Bassinet
As always, the first thing you should be concerned about is safety. Don’t assume that all bassinets are created equal! Some safety issues you’ll want to look out for are:
- Wide base — It’s important that bassinet has a wide base, which will ensure that there’s no possibility of it tipping over at any time.
- Sturdy — A sturdy bassinet will ensure that your baby can’t move it around when they’re inside. The best and simplest way to accomplish this is with a locking mechanism for the wheels on a moving bassinet.
- Appropriate for child’s & weight — Some bassinets have different size and weight limits, and obviously you should purchase one that will be suitable for your child.
- Safety certification — Bassinet manufacturers can comply with ASTM safety standards, which will be indicated by a JPMA seal. While this doesn’t guarantee that the bassinet is safe, it does mean that there is a certain standard it meets.
- Buy new, not used — Old and used bassinets could suffer from any number of problems. Baby products are recalled all the time because of safety defects, and you can never know for sure if a bassinet is worn out or missing parts. Family members might think they’re doing you a neat favor by offering you an old bassinet that’s been in the family, but this is actually very unsafe! Old bassinets are probably not up to modern safety standards and could pose a serious risk to your baby.
Features You Might Want in a Bassinet
While some bassinets are basic, some of the more expensive models have features and functionality that you might be interested in. When hunting for a bassinet, here are some of the features and options you might come across, and some that you should consider.
- Rocking mechanism — A rocking motion can be very soothing to a baby, especially when they are trying to sleep. Some bassinets have a rocking mechanism that will gently rock your baby back and forth, which can be nice. If you decide to purchase a baby bassinet with this feature, make sure that you never leave them unattended while it’s in the rocking motion.
- Music playing — Music is another thing that can be very soothing to infants. Some bassinets come with built-in music players, which can be a great way to sooth and calm them when you want them to sleep. Of course, you might want to make sure that it comes with multiple songs; if you had to listen to the same music over and over again, it might drive you crazy!
- Built-in mobile — Mobiles are a wonderful addition to any baby crib or bassinet; they provide visual stimulation and entertainment and are a classic baby item. If you think you want a mobile for your bassinet, it’s best to purchase one that comes with one that is specialized for it rather than an aftermarket one, because this is safer.
Safety Tips For Using a Bassinet
Once you have the bassinet in your home and are ready for your baby to sleep in it, you should understand a few safety precautions, first.
- Make sure that it’s properly assembled. Even the safest bassinet is unsafe if it’s not properly installed, so make sure that you thoroughly read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling it. If there are any screws or pieces left over at the end, it’s not safe!
- Use only the mattress or padding provided by the bassinet manufacturer. It is specially-fitted for the the bassinet so that there are no gaps between it and the walls of the bassinet. Always use the appropriate fitted sheets, too; never use a regular sheet or anything else as a replacement, as this can be a suffocation hazard.
- On that note, never leave anything in a bassinet that could be a suffocation hazard, including: pillows, stuffed animals, extra bedding/padding, etc. While you might think these things are comforting, they pose a definite hazard. Instead, consider putting your baby in a swaddle sack or other wearable blanket.
- Keep a mobile bassinet’s wheels locked at all times. If you move the bassinet from one place to another, double check that you put the locking mechanism into place to prevent it from rolling or being pushed around.
- Prevent strings or cords from hanging into the bassinet. Any string or cord from a toy, curtain, mobile or other item that hangs into the bassinet is a definite strangulation hazard. Make sure that anything of this sort is out of reach of your baby while he or she is in the bassinet.
- Always place your baby on his or her back. SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is known to occur in infants that sleep on their stomach. You should always lay your baby on their back, never on their stomach or side, where they could easily roll over onto their stomach.