What to consider when choosing a bassinet

If you’re a soon-to-be first-time mom, you’ve probably a long list of baby supplies you need to buy, from clothes to soothers, it’s totally normal to have dozens of Pinterest board ideas about your baby’s nursery.

As your mothering instincts kick in, you’ll want to make sure you’re making the best choices for the health and safety for your baby which is why it’s important to know what that a lot of what’s available on the market don’t come recommended by the experts. So if you’re thinking of adding a bassinet to your baby shower registry, have a quick look at what our midwives have to say on the safety of bassinets.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that as long as a bassinet has a Child’s Product Certificate (CPC) it is safe for use.  Manufactures obtain a CPC by undergoing third party testing through an accredited laboratory that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has accepted to perform the specific tests for each children’s product safety rule.  The CPSC is an independent federal regulatory agency tasked with protecting the American public from products that may pose a safety hazard.

The American Society for Testing Material Standards (ASTM) is used worldwide to improve product quality.  The CPSC utilizes these standards when discussing the safety standards for bassinets & cradles in their guidance – ASTM F2194-13 Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Bassinets & Cradles.  In this guidance, a bassinet is defined as a small bed designed primarily as a sleep environment for an infant.  This sleep accommodation can have free-standing legs, a stationary frame/ stand, a wheeled base, a rocking base, or which can swing relative to a stationary base & is not intended for use for infants greater than 5 months or when the child can push up on their hands & knees.

The CPSC’s guidance doesn’t have specific language related to vibrating bassinets.  However, it does offer some things to consider.  In its surveillance of bassinets, the CPSC reported one suffocation death which occurred in the corner of a bassinet whose rocking feature created a “non-level resting position.”  To address this discovery, the CPSC has created a rock/ swing angle requirement.  This requirement is intended to decrease the suffocation hazards that can occur when there are problems with the latch or lock & “excessive rocking or swinging angles press children into the side of the bassinet/ cradle.”  Taking this point into account, you want to ensure that the bassinet you chose does not rotate your baby into a position associated with an increased risk of harm.

That said, I would suggest consulting both NIH & the CPSC websites for guidance about purchasing bassinets.  The CPSC is excellent about posting information related to product recalls.  I would also encourage you to enlist the guidance of your pediatric provider to partner with you in the decision making process about which bassinet is the safest & best fit for you & your baby.  Hope this helps!


For the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), click here.

For the National Institutes of Health (NIH), click here.

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