Having a newborn baby makes you want to be as close to him as possible at all times, especially at night when he is peacefully sleeping. According to experts, it is highly recommended to keep your babies asleep in your room for the first six months.
Although there is nothing better than to sleep beside your little one on your bed, sometimes you both need a more restful sleep – one that is undisturbed, especially for you, since you will be taking care of him. For this reason, a bassinet is a wonderful addition to your space. It will allow your baby to sleep on your room without the hassle of thinking that you might disturb his sleep, or you are worrying that you might sleep on him!
There are a lot of baby bassinet brands in the market today, and you will find it confusing to choose which one to purchase. Let us try to help you decide which bassinet would be safe for your baby. Here are some useful tips and details about baby bassinets.
Bassinet Safety Standards
For some parents who are on a budget and are planning to purchase used bassinets, this would require you to do an extra check for any safety problems, as older kinds of bassinets were only subject to voluntary safety standards. It would be better to look for labels that say JPMA or ASTM. These groups joined in the voluntary safety standards before the up-to-date mandatory federal standards were applied.
The Federal Bassinet Safety Standards took effect in 2014 on April. Stability and durability of the bassinet are what these standards have ensured. The required mattresses and other soft parts of the bassinet would help reduce the risk of suffocation or entrapment. Manufactured bassinets after this date that are sold in the U.S. must meet the required standards.
Inspect a bassinet the same way you would do to a crib. Does the decorative stuff around it catch on a baby’s clothes? If there are side slats, it’s too far apart to be safe if a soda can could fit between them. Do the cutouts in the headboard or footboard that serves as decorations entrap a baby?
Weight and Age Limits
Bassinet manufacturers provide a standard weight and age limit. The average weight limit of most bassinets is 15 to 20 pounds, but some may be able to carry above the limit. The age limit is usually four up to six months. But these are the standard limits that don’t apply to all babies. So check the instructions or manuals for advice about when to discontinue using it.
To Rock or Not
Most babies prefer a slight movement to fall asleep that’s why rocking bassinets are made. But there are safety hazards that need to be considered before buying it. Babies’ first movements would most likely be rolling on the sides, and in a rocking bassinet, enough weight focused on one side would allow the baby to be trapped against that side which could cause suffocation.
If you decided to choose a rocking bassinet, be aware of the risk and take extra precautions. It would be better to select the one with a lock so that the bassinet would stay secure.
One of the benefits of having a bassinet is that you can easily move it around the house so that you can keep your eyes on your baby anywhere and anytime. Moving it will be easier with the help of a sturdy set of wheels, preferably with locks to avoid unnecessary movements that may be caused by curious siblings.
Some bassinets can be folded or disassembled quickly for storage or travel purposes. It can be beneficial, but a lot of precautions had to be made before trying it on your baby. Testing the latches is one way if it’s durable and secure. Another is the assembling if it is time-saving or it requires extra effort to fit back together. If you are not sure, skip buying it, as it will be very dangerous for your baby.
The mattress must be well supported. The supports should be strong enough to hold your baby’s weight without causing any misshape or bend. The mattress should fit the support perfectly without excess space. Babies may have difficulty with the hammock effect than adults would so the support must be well-built.
Sleep Like a Rock
Manufacturers tend to make an adult think that they want your baby to sleep on a rock. However, for babies, it is a must to have a firm surface to sleep on. The mattress of the bassinet should not be heavily padded because the baby might sink into it too much. It should seamlessly fit inside the bassinet like in a crib mattress to avoid gaps between the edges. Decorative items, especially with frills or fluff, would be fine outside the bassinet. Just make sure that none of it would extend into the baby’s space.
What kind of bedding does your bassinet have? Keeping it simple is what your baby really needs. It should fit the bassinet mattress perfectly. Cribs have standard sizes, but bassinets do not. Therefore you may have difficulty finding the right sheets for your bassinet. Having at least one extra fitted sheet might be essential for those inevitable midnight diaper blasts.
Speaking of extra sheets, it will be better if these sheets can be easily removed for washing. Make sure that the whole sheet can be cleaned, as every inch of the fabric inside the baby’s space is at risk of getting messy. Is there an available waterproof cover for the bassinet mattress? If it does not have one, can you toss the whole mattress in your washer?
Same as the crib, extras are not really necessary. Bumper pads, quilts, or pillows to the bassinet is a no-no. A simple and bare sleeping space is what’s safe for the baby. Almost all deaths related to bassinets are caused by the soft bedding added into it.
Know When to Stop
The manufacturers provide the weight and age limits for bassinets. Monitor your baby’s growth so that you can easily know when to stop using the bassinet before the specified limits. If the limit is until 4 months and 20 pounds, but your baby is now rolling on the sides, you should probably stop using it. Babies are fast-learners. If your little one develops rolling or sitting, you may want to shift to a crib or play yard to avoid falls. More than half of injuries on a bassinet is due to falls.
Buying a Used Bassinet
A used bassinet is much cheaper than new ones. However, you should use extra caution to assure that it is safe. Initially, check for recalls. Then, do the safety check same as on a new bassinet. Be sure that it is sturdy and does not have big enough gaps to trap your baby. Thoroughly inspect the mattress and supports, as used ones can be stretched out and may slump in the middle. Check if the original parts are complete. Don’t buy it if it has been modified. Know how it was stored. The bedding and wood pieces must be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent molds.
Now that the safety is ensured, we can now move to fashion and style! Bassinets offer different styles depending on your taste, from silky modern to classic lacey. There are also themes for babies like bears or lambs, or maybe you would like a dark wood design with fabrics based on your home style. It depends on your preference, really – now that you’ve ensured the comfort and safety of your little one.
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