Bassinets are smaller and more mobile than cribs, and are often used in the early weeks of an infant’s life, when parents prefer to sleep within just a few feet of their newborn babies. Unfortunately for some families, the convenience of having a bassinet for a sleeping baby was not worth the risk posed by the defective product.
There are many bassinets available for sale that are safe and as long as used properly, will pose no threat to a sleeping baby. Following several incidents over the years, bassinet manufacturers have made an effort to make a safer products and prevent incidents and injuries. However, it’s still important for parents to understand the risk associated with bassinets and be sure they are using their product safely.
Some of the safety risks associated with bassinets include:
- Mechanical defects
- Injuries and deaths resulting from the use of pillows and blankets in a bassinet
- Injuries and death resulting from improper positioning of baby in a bassinet
- Injuries and death resulting from drop-down sides that can result in a baby hanging him or herself
Dangerous Bassinets Recalled from the Market
After several incidents related to the use of bassinets, regulators recalled nearly 900,000 from the market in 2008. The recall was one of the largest child product safety recalls in years. Retailers Kmart, Big Lots, Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Target, Baby Depot, and JC Penney were all involved in the recall.
Choosing a Safe Bassinet
Sleep experts recommend babies continue to share a room with parents for the first six months of the baby’s life, which means a bassinet is going to be an important and useful purchase for some time. Parents should view it as just as important as the crib or bed in the child’s room, as opposed to a secondary sleep option that will only be used once in a while.
Most experts recommend buying a new bassinet, as opposed to saving on a used item. This is because the latest models of bassinets meet the most up-to-date safety standards issued by the federal government in 2014. These new standards were created with an eye toward stability and durability, and also feature strict requirements for the mattresses and soft items that will reduce the risk of entrapment and/or suffocation.
In addition to the safety standards manufacturers must meet, it’s also important for parents to evaluate a bassinet for safety before buying. Considerations include the spacing of the slats on the side, if there are any, and whether or not any decorative features could pose a risk to baby’s safety.
There are also weight limits to consider. Bassinets are usually intended for children up to 15 to 20 pounds. Some bassinets are designed for heavier children, but it’s also important to consider the length of your baby, even if he or she is within the weight range. There might be age recommendations provided by the manufacturers, but these are just guidelines. It’s important to consider your child’s size and weight when making your ultimate decision about the safe use of a bassinet.
As your child grows and is able to move independently, he or she can cause a rocking basinet to tilt or tip over. Rocking bassinets can also pose a safety hazard if your child presses his or her face against the side. If you choose a rocking bassinet, make sure it has a locking device that can prevent rocking when you are not actively monitoring movement.
The final safety consideration when buying a bassinet is the mattress. Babies must sleep on firm surfaces, no matter how uncomfortable it might seem to a full-grown adult. Mattresses should be firm enough to hold a babies weight without bending or flexing. If a child is heavy enough to “sink” into a mattress, that mattress is not firm enough and the child using it is at risk for suffocation. Parents should also ensure the bassinet does not feature heavily padded sides or excessive amounts of bedding.
We understand how stressful it can be to make decisions about consumer products for your family and we want you to have as much information as possible when purchasing products for your baby. Bassinets can be an ideal option to make sleep time convenient and comfortable for parents and baby, but it’s important to ensure you are making the best decisions possible when buying a bassinet.