Bassinets are cute, but your baby is safer in a crib

Consumer Reports News: January 12, 2012 02:08 PM

There’s something undeniably cherubic about the image of an infant sleeping peacefully in a charming bassinet. But for your baby’s safety, not to mention the money you’ll save, this is one purchase you might want to skip.

The fact is, the safest place for your baby to sleep is a bare crib with only a fitted sheet, meaning no soft bedding, pillows, bumpers or cuddly stuffed animals. To keep your baby warm, use a footed sleeper, wearable blanket or sleep sack.

There are no federal standards for bassinets, cradles or Moses baskets. While some cradle and bassinet manufacturers opt to voluntarily comply with standards established by ASTM International, it’s not required, which means that the products aren’t subject to recalls if they don’t meet standards. Consumer Reports does not recommend the use of Moses baskets, which are handled-baskets with a bottom pad and puffy fabric sides, meant for transporting your baby.

“Bassinets are cute,” said Gary Smith, M.D., who concurs with Consumer Reports’ position that they’re not a good idea. Smith is director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and past chairman of the Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “What I say to parents is that the crib is the safest place from Day 1.”

If a family already has a bassinet from an older child—one that has not been repaired or recalled—Smith conceded that there may be limited use for a bassinet. The item may be handy for keeping an eye on a sleeping infant while a parent works on the main floor of a home (using a crib for bedtime sleeping).

Disadvantages outweigh any advantages. As Smith added, “Children will grow out of them quickly, usually by four months. Bassinets are not as safe as cribs.”

Check out our buying advice for cribs, bassinets and a wide variety of products for babies and kids. Subscribers can see our Ratings for cribs and other products for babies and kids.

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Merri Rosenberg

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