Bassinet Vs. Crib: What’s The Difference And Which One Is Best For Your Baby?
If you’re wondering what the differences are between a bassinet and a crib and which one is best for your baby, you’re not alone! As a parent, safety is always on your mind, with safe sleep at the top of that list.
And a big part of the question of sleep safety is whether to go with a bassinet or a crib. Fortunately, Newton Baby’s experts are here to guide you through your baby’s journey to safe sleep.
In this article, we’ll provide you with the answers to commonly asked questions so that you can make the best decision for your family.
Bassinet Vs. Crib: What’s The Difference?
Both a bassinet and a crib are safe places for your baby to sleep. But they do have a few important differences that we’re going to break down for you.
What Is A Bassinet?
A bassinet is a bed specifically for babies from birth to about four months old. They are shaped like an oval, have mesh or cloth sides, and are generally designed for easy mobility.
The base of the bassinet raises the bed level to the average adult’s waistline. Many parents have found this taller structure helpful in laying their baby down.
If you’ve had a C-section, for instance, you may not be able to lean over the side of the crib to lay your baby down and pick them up, so the bassinet becomes a better option.
Bassinets are available in a variety of colors and decor. Many even come with ruffled designs, hoods, and storage beneath the bed. Over the years, interesting features have been added to bassinets, like:
Expert tip: Once your baby reaches 20 pounds or can roll over on their own, a bassinet is no longer a safe sleeping option. Based on the development and growth of your baby, plan to transition them out of the bassinet around four months of age.
What Is A Crib?
A crib is defined by Merriam Webster as a small child’s bedstead with high enclosing, usually slatted, sides. Cribs are a safe option for keeping older babies in their beds.
And while they come in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes, below are the four main types of cribs.
A traditional (or standard) crib is rectangular. These cribs don’t come with any extras like convertible cribs do, but the simple — yet effective — design is easy to set up.
A mini crib is also rectangular, but it takes up less space. The traditional crib uses a standard crib mattress of 28 inches wide and 52 inches long — like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress — whereas the mini crib uses a crib mattress of 24 inches wide and 38 inches long.
Check out our mini crib mattress if you choose this option!
A convertible crib is also rectangular and can eventually be converted into a toddler bed or daybed when your little one outgrows the traditional crib.
While the setup for convertible cribs is more extensive than that of traditional cribs, extra hardware and sides can be put together to transform the crib to fit your growing baby.
Also, the cost of a convertible crib is a little more than the cost of a traditional crib, but you may find this investment beneficial in the long run.
The round crib is the least common type of crib available.
Its unique design makes it the most expensive option on our list. But the style and size of a round crib provide your baby with more open space to move around and play in as they grow.
Bassinet Vs. Crib: Pros And Cons
- Smaller sleeping space for your newborn baby (transitioning from a tight womb to a small sleeping area rather than a large crib)
- Easy mobility (you’re able to move your baby around the house)
- Weighs less than a crib
- Convenient for room sharing
- Perfect for small living spaces
- Less expensive than a crib
- Easier to lay your baby down
- Smaller size and high center of gravity could pose a potential tipping hazard
- Used only for a few months
- Stable, sturdy design (less risk of tipping)
- Used longer, even several years
- Standard-sized mattresses are easy to find
- Wide variety of styles, shapes, colors, and sizes
- Heavy (can be hard to move)
- May not fit into your bedroom
- More complicated assembly
Bassinet Vs. Crib: Which Is Safer?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), both cribs and bassinets are acceptably safe options for newborns.
That said, they do suggest choosing either a freestanding crib or bassinet. A co-sleeper — or any type of sleeping device that attaches to your bed — is out of the question because, according to the AAP, they’re not safe sleeping options for your baby.
The AAP recommends that your bassinet or crib have a tightly fitted sheet and an optional mattress pad — like Newton Baby’s Waterproof Mattress Pad — under the sheet to keep your baby safe.
No matter which one you choose, follow these safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics:
- Always lay your baby down on their back (never facedown).
- Share a room with your baby until at least six months of age.
- Do not share a bed with your baby (no co-sleeping).
- No loose items in your baby’s sleeping area (example: loose bedding, blankets, stuffed animals, or clothing).
- No crib bumpers.
- Do not use sleep positioners or any other type of sleeping aide for your baby.
We can’t stress enough the importance of following the safety guidelines for safe sleeping practices with your little one.
And guidelines are continually being updated, so consider buying a new bassinet or crib for your baby so that you can be sure it meets current standards.
Expert tip: Always read the instruction manual for the bassinet or crib you choose to see the product’s weight limits.
Ensuring there are no gaps between the mattress and side of the bed — whether that bed is a crib or a bassinet — is one way to provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
Bassinets usually come with a mattress specifically designed for the product, but a crib mattress is an additional purchase. When it’s time to purchase a crib mattress, look for one that is:
- No more than 6” thick
Also, make sure the dimensions of the crib mattress fit your crib exactly. The snug fit will ensure your baby doesn’t get caught in any spaces between the mattress and crib.
Bassinet Vs. Crib: Additional Considerations
Are you still on the fence about whether a bassinet or a crib is best for your baby? Now that you have the basic information and breakdown of the two, let’s take a look at a couple more factors to keep in mind.
When preparing for your baby’s arrival, you don’t want to spend several days trying to put their bed together. This can lead to frustration and stress (which is the last thing expecting parents need!), so think about how easily you can assemble the bed you’re considering.
And if you do choose a baby bed that isn’t easy to assemble, don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends or family when it comes time to put it together.
After assembling the bassinet or crib, check the stability of the product (you can always return it if you find it unstable).
Firmly push down or shake the sides of the bed, and inspect the wheels or legs. If your bassinet has wheels, make sure there is a mechanism for locking them in place so that the bassinet doesn’t easily roll or tip over if knocked.
If you’ve chosen a portable crib or bassinet, check the locks that hold the bed open. Make sure the locks are secure and in place so the bed doesn’t suddenly open or close.
Expert tip: Even if you think you know how to assemble a crib or bassinet, always follow the instruction manual carefully. Your baby’s safety is at stake!
Bassinet Vs. Crib: What’s Next?
Before your baby makes their big debut, you and your family will need to decide if they will sleep in a crib or a bassinet. But don’t stress too much! You can switch from one to the other later to adapt to your family and your baby’s needs.
Keep in mind that the AAP provides parents with some safe sleep recommendations even though there’s no clear-cut answer on which is the safer option, a bassinet or a crib. The most important thing is to always follow these guidelines to protect your baby as much as possible.
Speaking of protecting your little one, Newton Baby's 100 percent breathable mattress gives your baby safer, healthier, and better sleep, making our products the best choice. Consider a Newton Baby breathable mattress to ensure great sleep — for you and baby!