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The Eternal Dilemma: How to Choose Between a Bassinet and Crib

How to Choose Between a Bassinet and Crib
Most new parents often find it difficult to select between a bassinet and a crib for their babies. AptParenting presents the things to consider while selecting between these two options, aiding you in making the right choice.
AptParenting Staff
Last Updated: Apr 20, 2018
Did You Know?
The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certifies baby bassinets and cribs that meet the safety standards issued by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
One of the most important decisions of choosing baby furniture (bassinet or crib) needs to be made long before the baby is born. This will help you prepare your little one's sleeping place well in advance before you come home from the hospital.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, newborns should sleep in the same room as their parents; however, they should not share their parents' bed. This arrangement will help lower the incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Also, it will be convenient for the parent to monitor and feed the baby at night. Now, the question arises whether to go in for a bassinet or a crib? To answer this question, let us first try to understand the differences between the two.
BASSINET CRIB
Size
A bassinet is smaller in size than a crib. This provides a cozy sleeping environment, thereby making it an obvious choice for a newborn. Its size is big, making it an option for babies that are little grownup, say above 4 months old.
Portability
Bassinets are easy to move around. Cribs are usually immobile, though there are a few portable ones available in the market.
Weight-carrying Capacity
It can carry the weight of a child up to a certain limit set by the manufacturer. Cribs are larger in size and are used when the newborn needs more space to move.
Cost
It is less expensive compared to the cost of cribs. Being larger in size and long-lasting, it is more expensive.
Duration of Use
It can be used until the baby becomes 4 months old or his weight exceeds the weight limit of the bassinet. Beyond the age of 3 to 4 months, the baby needs to be shifted to a crib, which can be used for a couple of years.
Parental Preference
Using a bassinet will allow the parent to keep the baby in the same room as theirs. A crib will need a lot of space owing to its size, and therefore, it may require a nursery.
How to Make a Choice
Safety is the most important feature to look for when buying a baby furniture. Therefore, make sure that whatever option you choose, it has the JPMA seal. The reason for this is that the standards of the JPMA are stricter and safer than those set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Bassinet
Covered cane Bassinet
● Select a bassinet having a sturdy bottom with a wide base as this will help hold the baby's weight.
● Avoid buying those having rocking features since they have been known to cause suffocation when the baby rolls to the edge.
● A bassinet with folding legs should have a locking mechanism to prevent accidental collapsing.
Crib
Wooden baby crib
● The CPSC banned the sale of adjustable side rails since the up-down movement of the rail may lead to strangulation hazard by trapping the baby between the mattress and rails. Therefore, buy only those cribs having non-adjustable and fixed side rails.
● The corner posts, if any, should either be in level with the end panels or over 16 inches (41 centimeters) in height.
● When raised, the top rails of crib sides should be at least 26 inches (66 centimeters) above the top of the mattress support at its lowest position.
Common Features to Look For
● Select a mattress which is firm and perfect in fitting. This is mandatory because soft mattresses have been found to cause SIDS.
● The space between the slats should not be more than 2⅜ inches apart to prevent the baby's head from getting stuck between them.
● The sleeping area should not have any projecting hardware, which could potentially harm the baby.
● If wheels are present, then they should also have a lock to prevent accidental rolling.
Precautions While Using Either
● Always put your baby to sleep on his back.
● Regularly keep checking the hardware for any defects or loose screws, and repair the same immediately.
Baby asleep with teddy bear
● Do not put soft toys, blankets, pillows, etc., in your baby's sleeping area since it may increase the risk of suffocation.
● Replace the mattress immediately if you find a two-finger gap between the mattress and the crib/bassinet.
● When using a crib, keep the mattress at the lowest position once the child begins to stand on his own.
● Discontinue using the crib once the height of the top rails is less than ¾ the child's height.
● Avoid keeping plastic packaging materials near or inside the crib/bassinet.
● Avoid using bumper pads in cribs/bassinets since they have been found to cause a number of accidental deaths according to one study conducted by the CPSC.
● As far as possible, avoid using old, used cribs/bassinets. In case you do, ensure that they are safe for your baby.
Many parents prefer a bassinet over a crib since it provides a comfy, cozy sleeping space for a newborn. However, it won't be of much use in the long run since babies outgrow them when they exceed the size requirements recommended by the manufacturer. Also, having a bassinet will add to your expenses since you will have to buy a new furniture for your baby once he is not fit to use the bassinet. However, if you are on a budget, you can buy and use a large crib for your newborn from the very first day. Initially, this may not seem to be the best of the solution, but it will save you the trouble of shifting your child from a compact, familiar sleeping environment (bassinet) to a large, spacious, unfamiliar sleeping environment (crib). Parents can also choose from a wide variety of cost-effective cribs that are convertible into a toddler bed or a full-size bed, which can be used for many years to come.
The ultimate responsibility of choosing a baby furniture lies entirely on the parents. Irrespective of what you choose (bassinet or crib), make sure it is JPMA-certified.