A study conducted by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that co-sleeping can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
After the remarkable results of the study, the academy recommended that parents should co-sleep with babies for up to one year and at least for first six months.
While that's great news especially for parents who can't get over the nighttime anxiety of being separated from their babies, it raised a little concern as of how to ensure the co-sleeping is safe for the newborn?
Since AAP still don't recommend bed-sharing for co-sleeping, there are some outstanding options if you don't want to drag the crib and has a space problem.
Well, instead of resigning yourself to sleep on the floor, consider investing in a good quality certified bassinet.
You can pick a bed-side bassinet or an independent bassinet as long as it meets the AAP safety recommendations and has a Children's Product Certificate (CPC) of safety.
Wondering if bassinets are suitable for babies, how to ensure newborn bassinet safety and what are the standards and guidelines you need to follow?
Let's explore more about co-sleeping bassinets and how safe they are for babies.
WHAT IS A BASSINET AND WHY YOU NEED IT?
A bassinet is a small portable bed specially designed for newborn babies to have a safe and cozy sleep.
They are typically used for babies up to 4 months and come with variations in design from traditional basket-shaped bassinets to play yards.
These days, many companies also make bed-side bassinets, however, their safety is still under consideration as there are chances that a baby may entrench or fall from the space between the bed and the bassinet.
While bassinets have always been an excellent choice for the newborn babies, they are in demand ever since AAP has recommended room-sharing co-sleeping safe to reduce the risk of SIDS.
However, it has been found that most parents don't pay heed to buy new bassinets. They either choose to go for a family heirloom or shop a used one since the item is used only for a few months.
Though we don't recommend a used bassinet if you choose for the one, ensure its sturdy and safe. There shouldn't be any splinters, worn spots or peeling paint since you don't want to compromise with the strength.
Moreover, if it's an heirloom, it may have lead-based paint.
We advise getting the bassinet repaired months before the baby is born so that the piece is in perfect condition and tested thoroughly before using it for the little one.
FEATURES OF A SAFE BASSINET
Since it's a short-term utility item, you have to ensure that the product you buy serves best during the period.
According to Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association (JPMA), a bassinet should be strong, functional and portable.
When buying a new piece, ensure it adheres to all the safety points stated by AAP and CPSC.
Different models have different functional combinations. Many bassinets include a storage space underneath to keep diapers, wipes, and clothes under a quick reach.
Many models offer to change table option, and others can turn into a bedside sleeper that can be attached to an adult bed.
Bassinets like Halo bassinet provides a 360-degree rotating facility which is very helpful and user-friendly.
However, a bedside sleeper is not recommended by AAP. You can choose an item based on your functional requirements.
Since bassinets are suitable for night time as well as nap time, you need to look for portability.
Many models come with a handle to carry away the bassinet elsewhere; some manufacturers offer a feature of removing the bassinet from the stand while others have casters to roll the entire unit.
You can choose an item with best portability feature as per your requirement.
Since rocking motion is always very soothing for babies, many manufacturers give an option to convert your bassinet into a cradle with a quick-release latch and retracting wheels.
Some bassinets use batteries to glide for a soothing sleep.
However, if you consider a bassinet that doubles up as a cradle, ensure that you never leave the child unattended while in the rocking motion.
A well-fitted mattress or pad and a fitted sheet are essential to ensure safe sleeping. Various models also provide fabric lining, ruffled hood, and even bed skirt.
However, they are not mandatory and can be avoided if add more to the cost. For the fabric, vintage florals, gingham, white eyelet, toile and colorful checks and plaids are most common fabrics for bassinet bedding.
These days, organically grown and undyed cotton fabric in shades of brown, pastel green and cream are also trendy.
Whatever print and fabric you choose, ensure its machine washable. You can refer to the instruction manual for more details about bedding care and washing.
Canopy is not mandatory but its very useful. Therefore, it is better to opt for it. Some bassinets have a thick built-in canopy to let baby enjoy her sleep by blocking the light while you still want to read a book before sleeping.
Fabric canopies and frilly curtains are also available, but despite the fact that they look beautiful, they could be a strangulation hazard. So better to stay away from them.
- Toys, Sound, and Light
Many manufacturers offer detachable mobiles as well as built-in functionality to play music, sound, light, and vibration.
All these features help soothe your baby and also help to develop the underlying hearing and recognition.
However, they run on battery and might need frequent replacement depending on your usages. Moreover, these extras are more like added stimulation that might irritate the little one or you at a certain point.
Indeed, we can't miss out that feature.
Extra storage space is always welcome especially when you have less storage space, and the newborn requires all thing handy.
Many models come with a bottom storage basket for changing clothes, booties, diapers, wipes and more.
However, when looking for a storage feature, ensure it is sturdy and easy to clean.
- Easy to Clean
Be prepared for accidental spoiling inside the bassinet. It could be an overflowing diaper, the throw-ups or the spit ups. Ensure the bassinet is easy to wash and quick to dry.
When Buying a Bassinet Check for safety standards Federal bassinet safety standards went into effect in April 2014, and it is necessary for all bassinets manufactured after 2014 to meet the standards.
Though a certificate isn't a complete guarantee of safety, it adds an extra layer of protection.
Since certified products meet the ASTM standards such as the material used, correct spacing of side slats, mattress thickness and others, they are more reliable.
Moreover, look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal for authenticity. As per the standards, every bassinet should ensure durability and stability.
Buy New and Avoid Heirloom
A family heirloom is a beautiful thing, but it might not meet today's safety standards and have possible hazards such as an overly thick mattress, puffy sides, uneven spacing of bars and legs with old-style latching mechanism; all raise a safety concern.
Moreover, a second-hand bassinet is also not advisable.
However, if buying, check for the manufacturing date to ensure the product meets the new standards of newborn bassinet safety.
Ensure that the product isn't recalled.
Ensure Mattress Firmness
The mattresses and other soft parts should not pose any risk of entrapment or suffocation. The mattress should be 11/2inches thick, firm and fits snuggly. Anything thicker than this could be suffocating.
There should not be any decorative posts sticking up on sides that could catch on baby's clothing. The holes or gap in between the side slats should not be wider than 2 3/8".
Sturdy Bottom and Wide Base
The base should be broad enough to hold the weight of the bassinet and the baby without tipping over. There shouldn't be any sharp points or edges on the inside or outside. In case of a wooden bassinet, it shouldn't have any flakes.
Folding and Locking Mechanism
There should have locks on the wheels to prevent it from moving. In case it has a folding mechanism, double check the legs or frame and the lock before buying.
It's a Short Term Purchase
A bassinet is only for the first few months or by the time your baby reaches a specific weight. So when buying, go for something that meets your short-term objective safely.
When Using a Bassinet
You have picked the perfect item considering all the newborn bassinet safety points. But that's not all.
Even if you have a certified bassinet that adheres to all the safety standards, you have to be conscious when using it and especially when the baby is in it.
Never let the baby unattended in a bassinet.
Be close to the baby. Since you choose to keep the bassinet co-sleep close to your bed.
During the nap times or when busy with household things, check in between if the baby is safely lying in the bassinet. There aren't issues initially, but by the time your baby starts rolling on sides, it is important to check regularly.
Never leave the bassinet unlocked unless otherwise moving. As soon as you finish moving the bassinet, keep it locked. Moreover, never move the bassinet while the baby is in it.
Always use the mattress and bedding specially made for the model. There shouldn't be any loose space between the mattress and the frame. Also, the mattress should be clean and firm. Puffy bedding could lead to suffocation.
Just like the mattress, the sheet should be the one specifically designed to fit the mattress or the pad.
Make sure you have at least three sheets; one to use, one to wash and one as a backup. Never use a pillowcase or different size sheets as they could strangle or suffocate the little one.
Make sure the bassinet is securely assembled before using.Always put your baby on his/her back in the bassinet.
Never put stuffed animals, extra bedding, comforter, sleep positioner, blanket, pillow or any such item inside the bassinet. Rather, put your baby to sleep in a wearable blanket.
Keep the bassinet away from windows, doors or any passage.
Also, keep any strings, cords or suspended toys away from the bassinet. It is better to use only the toys provided with the mobile.
Bassinets are a boon for parents who choose to co-sleep with the newborn but want to ensure safety.
Considering the safety standards put in place for bassinet buying and using, you can provide a safe, calm and comfortable sleep without fearing of any hazard for the little bundle of joy.