What You Need to Know About Bassinet Safety

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having your baby sleep close but not in the same bed is strongly recommended. In the first few months, a bassinet is the best option for keeping your baby safe while it sleeps.

Today, most bassinets are compact and can be placed at your bedside. It makes life more convenient when it’s time to feed and change them. Many new parents think this is the best way to take care of your newborn during the night.

However, it is important to learn all you can about bassinet safety guidelines. Safety should always come first. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, also known as CPSC, enforces strict safety standards and collects data to reduce the risk of accidental infant deaths and also Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, aka SIDS.

As new parents, you need to be aware and take every precaution possible to make sure you provide a safe environment for your little one.

Here is a quick guide to bassinet safety.

Choose the Right Bassinet

In today’s market, there is an enormous variety of bassinets. There are sturdy stand alone bassinets, bassinets that double as a changing table and even bassinets that can travel. Each will come with features that can be useful in taking care of your baby.

But before your rush out and buy a bassinet, its very important that you do do plenty of research on the type of bassinet you want. You should check for any recalls and read tons of customer reviews. This may influence your decision. It may take some time but your child’s safety is most important. Do your due diligence.

Safety Check List

  • A strong sleeping area with sturdy base
  • All pieces are in good working condition
  • Smooth surfaces, no sharp edges
  • Breathable material i.e. mesh sides
  • A firm mattress that fits tightly to bassinet frame

Additionally, the bassinet and mattress should be made from non-flammable materials. There is elaborate testing that is necessary before a bassinet fits these standards. Check CPSC for additional bassinet information before you purchase. 

Another Option - Bedside Sleeper

There is another option to consider called a bed side sleeper. A bedside sleeper are similar to bassinets except without a frame and legs. It’s designed to be placed in an adult bed while giving the baby its own personal space with low walls. This option was created for new parents who want to co-sleep with their baby or are traveling on the road. Be sure to check safety standards and reviews as you would for a traditional bassinet. 

Before You Buy the Bassinet

According to Consumer Reports, buy certified and buy new. They state that it’s not a complete guarantee of safety, but purchasing a certified bassinet is an added layer of protection. Go to the store and ask questions. See the exact model you are considering purchasing. Check for any moving parts or sharp edges. Test out similar bassinets.

It’s generally better to avoid getting a used bassinet even if its a family heirloom. Most bassinets are not equipped with today’s safety standards. Even if the bassinet fits Federal safety standards, a bassinet can become damaged with use or made out of date materials. But if you decide to purchase a used bassinet, check to see if there is a recall for the bassinet model first. It is also recommended to examine it thoroughly for functionality and machine wash all possible material before you start using it.

Check the Size and Weight Requirements

Every bassinet company has different size and weight capacity standards. Most bassinets have an upper limit of 15 or 20 pounds but it also depends on your child’s size and milestones. The manufacturer's safety standards and guidelines are very important thing to consider.

When your baby outgrows their bassinet by size or weight or milestone, it is time to move them into a crib. This will probably happen when they are four to six months old. Make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines in regards to weight capacity for your child’s safety.

You Have Purchased a Bassinet

Read entire instruction booklet that comes with your bassinet. Call the manufacturer if you are missing any parts Before you start assembling the bassinet.

Once assembled, make sure to follow all safety standards that are recommended. Make sure to use bassinet properly and send in the registration to be informed if there is a recall for your bassinet model.

Test for Safety After You’ve Assembled It

  • First, it’s very important to make sure that you have correctly assembled the bassinet. Any loose parts are a choking hazard.
  • Check the mattress for firmness before you make your purchase. The firm mattress needs to fit snug against the bassinet frame. Make sure there are no gaps.
  • Bassinets have to be absolutely stable with their feet firmly planted. If it’s bassinet model that you can transform into a cradle, make sure it rocks softly without tipping over. If the bassinet has caster wheels, make sure the locks work properly.
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    If the bassinet comes with built-in music module, make sure it can be easily turned off and on. Test to see if the volume button works and is not too loud for your baby.
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    Many bassinets are designed with a folding mechanism for easier setup. Always check whether the folding mechanism is properly locked into place before you start using the bassinet.

Keep the Bassinet Bare

Keep all nonessentials out of the bassinet. Baby mobiles, stuffed animals, baby pillows and blankets can be dangerous for your newborn. Unfortunately, they all are safety hazards even though it looks cute.

Many parents often make the mistake of filling the bassinet up with blankets, pillows and toys. Don’t put your child at risk. Save them for when your baby is older and its safer to be around all the cute baby items.

Sleep Safety for Your Little One

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are over 3,500 infant accidental deaths in the US. It happens suddenly and unexpectedly due to suffocation, accidental strangulation or sudden infant death syndrome. In order to avoid these tragic events, the AAP suggests that your baby sleep on its back at all times including nap times. It is recommended doing this up until the baby is one years old.

Here are important safety tips to keep in mind:

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    Check the surroundings of the bassinet.  Make sure there are no sharp or dangerous objects anywhere near the bassinet. Keep baby monitors out of reach and be mindful of window cords which can be very dangerous if you put the bassinet near a window. Decoration around the bassinet needs to be placed away from bassinet.
  • Never leave your baby in a rocking bassinet in motion and unlocked casters.  It is unsafe to leave your baby in a rocking bassinet. Be sure to lock the bassinet in position before leaving the room and casters are locked.
  • Don’t move your bassinet when your baby is inside.  Move the bassinet into room first. Make sure to lock the casters and then put baby to sleep in bassinet.
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    Firm mattress & fitted sheets.  The mattress in the bassinet should to be tight-fitting and very firm. When you place your baby down on it, there should be no indent. Always put baby to sleep on their backs for safety. Mattress must meet CPSC standards and be flame resistant. Use fitted sheets from manufacturer for specific bassinet. Do not substitute with pillow case. Its handy to have a few fitted sheets especially when your baby has an accident. You can wash and replace without any issues.
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    No pillows or blankets.  Nothing. This applies to small and decorative pillows too. All are safety hazards. Instead, swaddle your baby in a blanket or put them in a sleep sack if it is cold. AAP states that your baby should wear only one extra layer of clothing than you are wearing.
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    No toys or other objects.  Keep the bassinet clear of toys and stuffed animals. Don’t use a mobile. The only thing AAP recommends is a pacifier to help your baby sleep better and reduce SIDS. There’s no need to place pacifier back if the baby is already asleep.
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    Never use sleep positioners.  Sleep positioning devices on the market often claim they can prevent your baby from rolling over. But instead of keeping your child safe, sleep positioners can be dangerous. According to the CPCS, these devices come with risk of suffocation. Use caution on claims of reduced SIDS products.

Conclusion

Safety first! Keeping your little one safe when he/she sleeps is very important. We recommend you choose a high-quality bassinet model that meets CPSC safety standards and follow the safety tips we have provided. Sleep nearby as your baby grows. Make sure they sleep on their backs until they turn one year old. A bassinet with no blankets, pillows or toys is the safest environment for your precious baby. We wish you and your baby sweet dreams!

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