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How to Choose the Best Bassinet for Your Baby

Chicco Close To You Bedside Bassinet

Welcoming a newborn into the family is a joyous occasion filled with anticipation and preparation. Choosing the right bassinet is one of the many tasks you’ll likely want to tackle before bringing your baby home. With all the available options, choosing a bassinet can feel overwhelming. To help you make the best decision, we’ve compiled a guide on what to look for in a bassinet.

Bassinets are small, cozy sleeping spaces for newborns and infants. They typically feature mesh sides for breathability and visibility, a raised sleeping surface for the caretaker's convenience, and a firm mattress to safely support the baby. Bassinets offer parents the convenience of having their newborn nearby at night or during the day, making feeding and comforting easier.

It's crucial to monitor your baby's developmental milestones closely when using a bassinet to ensure that their sleeping environment evolves with their growth. While bassinets are ideal for the earliest months of a baby's life, they are typically designed to support infants only until they begin to show signs of increased mobility, such as rolling over or pushing up on their hands and knees. At that point, it's important to transition your baby to a more spacious and age appropriate sleeping arrangement like a crib or playard when these milestones are reached.

Do I Need a Bassinet?

While not essential, bassinets are an excellent choice for parents who prefer to have their babies close by during sleep. They often come with features that make them adaptable to various living spaces and lifestyles, such as adjustable heights, wheels, and lightweight frames. Some bassinets can also fold up for easy storage and travel, so you’ll always have a safe place for your baby to sleep, regardless of whether you’re at home or away.

A bassinet is an ideal solution for room-sharing with your newborn, facilitating easier sleep management for the entire family during those early stages. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing until your baby is at least 6 months old. To ensure safety, it's important to avoid bed-sharing with your baby, as having their own dedicated sleep space like a bassinet is the safer option.

While there can be some crossover, there are four main types of bassinets to choose from. The kind you choose will depend on your preferences, lifestyle, and space constraints.

Bedside Bassinets

Bedside bassinets are safe, portable sleeping spaces designed to keep newborns close to their parents at night. Their proximity promotes bonding between parents and their baby and makes nighttime feeding and soothing easier. They typically have see-through sides and adjustable heights so parents can easily see and access their babies without leaving their beds. Some bedside bassinets also have wheels, making moving them to different areas of the house easier.

It’s important to note that bedside bassinets are not the same as co-sleeping bassinets. Bedside bassinets do not have an open wall that attaches to parents’ beds; they are separate sleeping spaces for babies placed next to parents’ beds.

Travel Bassinets

Travel bassinets are lightweight, freestanding sleeping spaces for babies that can be folded up and easily moved from one place to another. They offer a familiar, comfortable sleeping environment for babies when away from home, which can offer parents peace of mind and consistency in sleep routines.

Like bedside bassinets, travel bassinets feature breathable mesh sides and firm mattresses to ensure your baby gets good sleep in a safe area. They are designed to be convenient and are ideal for families who travel often.

Gliding Bassinets

Gliding—or rocking—bassinets combine a traditional bassinet's functionality with a glider's gentle motion. This motion mimics the sensation of being rocked, helping comfort and calm babies. They have sturdy bases, mesh sides, a firm mattress, and a smooth gliding mechanism, allowing the bassinet to move back and forth safely. Once you’re done rocking your little one to sleep, the gliding bassinet can be locked into place.

Playard Bassinets

Lastly, playard bassinets are versatile solutions that have a removable bassinet attachment atop a sturdy playard frame. The bassinet provides a cozy sleeping or changing space for babies, featuring soft padding and sometimes a canopy for added comfort. They may also have built-in storage for diapers, wipes, or other essentials. Once the baby outgrows the bassinet, it can be removed. Parents can then use the playard as a safe place for play or sleep.

Federal bassinet safety standards are regulations set by entities such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to minimize the risk of accidents and injuries. These regulations cover various aspects, including stability, materials, mattress firmness, and structural integrity, to ensure that bassinets can safely support a baby's weight and are free from entrapment or suffocation hazards. Compliance with these standards is mandatory for manufacturers, encompassing specific testing and labeling requirements before bassinets are marketed.

For optimal safety, it is essential to thoroughly read and adhere to the manufacturer’s manual prior to using a bassinet. Additionally, following the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Safe Sleep guidelines is recommended, as they advise placing babies on their backs on a firm, flat sleep surface to sleep.

Bassinet Weight Limits

Bassinets typically have weight limits ranging from 15 to 20 pounds, depending on the design and materials used. While adhering to these weight limits is crucial for preventing risks such as tipping and collapsing, it is often the developmental milestones that necessitate transitioning out of a bassinet.

Once your baby can roll over or push up onto their hands and knees, it is essential to stop using the bassinet to prevent falls, even if they have not yet reached the maximum weight limit. These developmental milestones often occur before babies reach 20 lbs. After your baby has outgrown their bassinet, transitioning them to a crib or playard is the next step.

Are Used Bassinets Safe?

Used or resold bassinets are not recommended because they may not meet current safety standards. These standards evolve over time to address new safety concerns and advancements in design, materials, and manufacturing processes, so it’s crucial to ensure the bassinet you choose meets them. Additionally, used bassinets may have hidden wear and tear that can increase the risk of accidents or injuries.

If you do choose to purchase a used bassinet, be sure to check the CPSC website for product recalls. You should also conduct a thorough in-person inspection of the bassinet for any structural issues. Look for frayed fabric, loose stitching, mold or mildew, stains, ripped or snagged mesh, and broken parts. Make sure all locking mechanisms, attachments, and hinges are functioning properly. For the bassinet to be safe to use, it should have a JPMA label indicating it has undergone stringent safety testing.

Now that you understand the different types of bassinets and their safety standards, let’s take a deeper look at how to choose the right bassinet for your baby.

1. Breathability and Visibility

Bassinets should have sturdy mesh sides that are resistant to collapsing, sagging, and tearing. The sides should be soft but not overly stretchy. This ensures that parents can easily monitor babies while they sleep and reduces the risk of suffocation or entrapment. It also provides adequate airflow, keeping your baby cool while they sleep.

2. Firm Mattresses

Bassinets must have firm mattresses to support your baby’s body, encourage healthy physical development, and promote restful sleep. They should not compress significantly under your baby’s weight. Ensure the mattress fits snugly in the bassinet's sleeping area without leaving any gaps around the edges. Never use an aftermarket mattress sold separately from the bassinet or add extra padding or pillows to the bassinet mattress, as they can pose safety hazards and may make the bassinet too hot for your baby.

3. Portability

Even if you don’t plan to travel extensively with your baby, you may need to move your bassinet around your house, making portability an important consideration. Lightweight, foldable bassinets or ones with wheels are easier to transport from room to room, allowing you to keep an eye on your sleeping little one while doing other daily activities. If your bassinet has wheels, make sure they have locking mechanisms. The wheels should be locked whenever the bassinet is not in transit, and you should never move bassinets with babies inside them.

4. Size

When choosing the best bassinet for your baby, be sure it will comfortably fit the space you have for it. Whether placing it in your bedroom, nursery, or another room, make sure you and others can easily maneuver around it without too much hassle. Also, be sure to place the bassinet in an area free of potential hazards, such as cords hanging from blinds.

5. Budget

As with any important purchase, you’ll want to consider how much you have to spend on a bassinet before choosing one. More basic bassinets without added features like sound machines or gliding motions are typically less expensive. Ultimately, your budget will play a major role in choosing the right bassinet, so decide what features are your top priority.

6. Appearance

Finally, once you have narrowed your choices by other criteria, you can choose a bassinet that fits your preferred aesthetic. Bassinets come in a vast array of colors and styles, making it easy to find one you like. While appearance is important, never compromise bassinet safety for appearance.

Choosing the right bassinet for your baby involves carefully considering various factors to ensure their safety, comfort, and convenience. From selecting a bassinet with sturdy mesh sides and a firm mattress to prioritizing portability and size considerations, each aspect plays a crucial role in creating the best possible sleeping environment for your little one. By following the recommendations outlined in this blog, you can confidently select a bassinet that will make your newborn's earliest stage of life easier for the whole family.

Discover the perfect sleep sanctuary for your little one with Chicco bassinets! Explore our collection today and give your baby the gift of sweet dreams.