Bassinet vs. Crib

Children spend a good portion of their day sleeping which makes their bed an important piece of furniture. Most new parents are faced with the dilemma of selecting the best type of furniture for their babies, bassinets and cribs are at the top of their list. We can help you make this important decision by weighing the pros and cons of bassinets and cribs. There are also a lot of tips and precautions for choosing bassinets and cribs.

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Bassinet vs. Crib--Put Your Newborn in a Bassinet or a Crib?

For many parents of newborns, the answer to this question is usually as a matter of personal preference. Newborns may feel more comfortable in a bassinet as opposed to a full sized crib. This is because they are tinier and cozier. Cribs tend to be larger and would require extra bedding, blankets and quilts which as we know are not recommended as they may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Small sized bassinets take up less space and make it easier for you to share a room with your newborn. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents and babies share a room though not the same bed. Sharing a bed also could increase the risk of SIDS but if you have the bassinet in the room, it makes it easier for the parent to feed the child at night. Another reason why you may want to go for a bassinet as opposed to a crib is due to portability. Moving bassinets around is quite easy due to their size.

When to Transition from Bassinet to Crib

According to babycenter, your newborn will grow out of the bassinet in weeks. Be sure to move your baby from a bassinet to a crib before she exceeds that limit. Always follow the recommended weight limits of manufactures. Bassinets are usually shallow; a sitting baby can fall out and be injured. Move your baby to a crib as soon as she's able to sit up. 

Regardless of whether you choose to use a bassinet or crib, ensure that it has adequate support at the bottom to prevent it from collapsing. The base should be wide enough to prevent tipping when or if someone bumps into it. Also keep in mind the weight and size limitations provided by the manufacturer. If the child is too big, you may want to move him onto a larger bed.

All About Bassinet vs. Crib

The following table shows the differences between bassinet and crib in great detail:

 

Bassinet

Crib

Basics

Bassinets are generally compact in size and light in weight. They are portable making them easy to move around and have in the parent’s room. Popular choices when it comes to bassinets are the round shaped bassinets with curtains, valances and Moses baskets.

Cribs are larger in size and are available in various sizes. While there are portable cribs available, the most popular are immobile. Popular styles include: convertible cribs that can convert into twin size beds and sleigh cribs.

Safety

Bassinets have weight limits and it’s important to move the child to a bigger one when they reach the weight limit. Portable bassinets like Moses baskets must be placed in a safe spot when the child is inside.

Do not place pillows or items inside the bassinet as this could pose a risk for the baby.

Cribs need to have a comfortable mattress and it is recommended that you purchase a firm mattress. The mattress must be perfectly fitted into the crib. Drop-side cribs should be avoided and due to their high infant mortality rate, they are actually banned by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Lasting Time

Bassinets are mostly used as a short term sleeping solution due to their limited size. Children quickly outgrow them and when weight limits are reached, you must move the baby to a new spot. That said, there are bassinets with high weight limits.

Cribs are more long lasting as they can be used for a couple of years. Most children graduate from cribs to beds.

Cost

Bassinets tend to be less expensive. They are quite affordable and you can find them in wide price ranges with the elaborate designs costing as much as cribs.

Cribs cost more expensive than bassinets and this is because they are larger and last longer. They are considered an investment.

Size

Bassinets are smaller in size and are designed more like small baskets. This makes them portable and convenient as they can be placed in the parent’s room without taking up much space.

Cribs come in all sizes and there are small and large cribs. The smaller styles are portable with the larger designs being more stationary like beds.

Parenting Style

If you want to have a closer relationship with your baby and would prefer to have them close by at night, the bassinet is preferable. There are designs that can easily slide into your bed.

If you are keen on making your child more self dependant from day one, cribs may be a good idea. Cribs are larger and need a lot of room which means you would probably have them placed in a nursery.

How to Buy a Bassinet

When buying a bassinet, the first thing you need to consider is safety. Consumer Reports recommends that you buy a model that has a Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) seal.

  • Bassinets that have rocking features are not safe either and have been known to cause suffocation when rolled to the edge.
  • The bassinet needs to have a perfect fitting and firm mattress.
  • Make sure that the bassinet is solid at the bottom so as to hold the baby’s weight and it also helps to select one with a wide base to prevent toppling.
  • Look for top-notch construction and stability and always inspect the bassinet’s bolts and screws.
  • When buying a bassinet with folding legs, go for the type that has a lock to prevent accidental collapsing. If it has wheels, they should also have lock to prevent accidental rolling.
  • The slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart because baby’s head could easily slip into the slats and get stuck.

How to Buy a Crib

  • When buying a crib, an important consideration is the mattress. The density of the mattress is important and high density mattresses are recommended.
  • The slats of the cribs must be less than 2 3/8 inches apart and this is about the size of a can of soda.
  • If you are buying a crib with corner posts, the post should be shorter than 1/16th of an inch. An infant’s cloth could easily be caught by the posts leading to choking. Unless the corner posts support a canopy, keep them short.
  • The frame size needs to accommodate the mattress and should therefore be wide enough. You should not have space in between the cradle and mattress.
  • Stability is essential, buy a crib that does not rattle or wobble.
  • In terms of design, go for cribs with features that allow you to adjust the height of the mattress. Such designs allow you to lower the mattress when the child begins to sit up and stand to avoid their climbing off.
  • Lastly, look for a versatile design that can be converted into a bed, bench etc. However, the transformation needs to be relatively simple to perform.

Watch a video to learn more about crib safety: