The bassinet is one of those purchases that many parents never make.
Instead, a family heirloom bassinet is handed down from generation to
generation, leading to an increased chance of safety concerns, wear and
tear. The bassinet is typically only used for the first three months as baby soon grows out of the small bedding area. As baby becomes more mobile, the bassinet is no longer a safe place for baby to sleep, even if she has not outgrown the bedding space. The sides on a bassinet tend to be low offering little protection for a rolling, moving baby.
Choosing the Right Bassinet
For parents who are taking a bassinet as a hand me down, make sure it is sturdy and safe. There should be no splinters, peeling paint or worn spots where strength could be compromised. If the bassinet has been passed down from generation to generation, chances are greater that lead based paint may have been used – though still miniscule at best. If there is any question, have the bassinet repainted by a professional using low fume paints safe for a nursery. The painting should be completed months before the baby is born.
If buying a new bassinet, weight the cost verses the return. Babies will use the bassinet only a short time and the cost is often around $100 to $200 for a quality bassinet. A bassinet mattress and bedding will also need to be purchased. Some parents opt to place the crib in the bedroom for the first few months in place of buying a bassinet. If the crib does not fit through the door and it has been assembled in the nursery, parents can choose a pack and play unit with a bedside attachment. When the play area is assembled, a flat bedding area can be butted up against the bed next to mom. This allows mom to breastfeed baby in the middle of the night, as needed. The unit can be moved around so parents can take turns caring for baby in the middle of the night.
Safety Precautions for a Bassinet
- Just like a crib, the holes between slats in the bassinet should be no wider than 2 3/8”.
- The base of the bassinet needs to be wide enough to hold the weight of the bassinet and baby without tipping over.
- Folding bassinets should have locking mechanisms in place to hold the bassinet open.
- Wheels on the bottom of a bassinet should have locks to prevent it from moving.
Buying or using a bassinet is a very personal choice. Some parents see no use in spending the money on something with no longevity and others love the idea of bedding next to baby. Bassinets can be a safe choice for baby during those first few months when everyone needs some comfortable sleep.