Bassinet Safety: 10 Tips For New Parents

bassinet safety

New parents have a lot of things to worry about. One thing you definitely don’t need is anxiety about your child’s safety when you finally get your little one to go to sleep. So what do you need to know about bassinet safety?

In this article, we’ll discuss why bassinet safety is important and then provide 10 tips for making sure the bassinet is a safe space for your baby so that you can get some much-needed rest of your own.

Table Of Contents

The Need For Bassinet Safety

Mom checking bassinet safety

It’s possible that you’ve started reading this article and you’re actually feeling new anxiety about things you hadn’t even considered before.

After all, your newborn can barely move on their own, and a bassinet is a very small, enclosed space, so what’s the worst that could happen with a baby in a bassinet? (Aside from them refusing to sleep and keeping you up all night, of course.)

It’s never our intent to cause parents more worry. However, the reality is that there are dangers to your baby in their bassinet you should be aware of.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that in 2020, just over 900 infants lost their lives to accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed. Additionally, almost 1,400 babies died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is thought by some researchers to be caused by babies sleeping face-down.

Thankfully, the best bassinet safety steps you need to take aren’t difficult. They’re mostly about properly setting up your bassinet and bedding, preparing your baby for safe sleep, and keeping the bassinet and the area around it clear.

Bassinet Safety Guidelines

1) Keep Baby Close By

The first bassinet safety tip isn’t so much about the bassinet itself or how you use it but where you put it.

No matter what, you should keep it near you. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having your baby sleep in the same room as you for at least the first six months.

If you’ve heard people use the terms “bassinet” and “crib” interchangeably, you may be interested to know that the difference between them is that a bassinet is designed to be smaller and more portable. That way, you can set it up anywhere in your home to keep your infant close.

Of course, some bassinets will be easier to move from room to room than others. For example, the Newton Baby Bassinet & Bedside Sleeper is lightweight, easy to assemble, and breaks down into a carrying bag that’s great for travel.

2) Ensure The Bassinet is Stable

Mom taking bassinet safety seriously

Because they’re designed to be moved around, many bassinets come with wheels or folding legs. That’s convenient, but it means that you need to make sure the bassinet is stable and secured in place before putting your baby in it.

If you buy a wheeled bassinet, make sure the wheels can be locked and that at least two of them are locked whenever the baby is inside. Take care during assembly and setup that the legs are stable and even, without any incline of the mattress.

3) Keep The Surrounding Area Clear

Once you’ve made sure your bassinet is structurally sound and not going to budge from where you’ve placed it, the next step is to remove any potential dangers from the area around it.

Eliminate anything that could fall into or dangle down into the bassinet. For example, avoid hanging mobiles with strings or ribbons. And, if the bassinet is near a window, make sure to secure any hanging blind cords away from the bassinet.

4) Use The Right Mattress

Now that the bassinet is properly set up in a safe place, we can turn our attention to where your little one will lay their head, starting with the mattress.

The bassinet mattress needs to be the right size to fit inside the bassinet exactly, without room to shift around or gaps along the sides that a tiny arm or leg could get stuck in.

Most bassinets come with a mattress, but you should still check the fit. If you’re replacing a mattress, it’s ideal to get a replacement of the original mattress for your bassinet from the manufacturer.

Thankfully, the mattress in the Newton Baby bassinet and bedside sleeper is completely washable from cover to core, so you shouldn’t need to worry about replacing it.

5) Use The Right Sheet

And we do just mean sheet, singular, not sheets, plural. A single fitted sheet is all your baby should have in their bassinet.

The sheet should fit snugly to remove any risk of suffocation, and it should be made of a breathable material, like cotton, to reduce the risk of your baby getting overheated.

6) Remove Dangerous Distractions

Baby in bassinet

Your little one doesn’t need pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, or bumper pads.

Aside from being potential distractions that could keep your baby from falling asleep, any of these things can become smothering hazards if your little one inadvertently rolls over against them.

The inside of your bassinet should contain the mattress, a sheet, and your bundle of joy — and nothing else.

7) Dress Baby Properly For Sleep

Another reason that blankets aren’t recommended for bassinets is temperature. If you get too hot during the night, you can fold back some of your bedding, but your baby doesn’t have that ability.

That’s why it’s so important to dress your baby properly before bedtime so they stay at a comfortable temperature.

Experts say that when it comes to baby pajamas, you should typically only use one more layer of clothing than an adult would need to be comfortable in a room of the same temperature. A onesie and a sleep sack are a good combo in most cases.

Remove any hats your baby may have on before putting them down for a nap or for the night. These can cause overheating and can also be a suffocation risk if they shift down over your child’s face.

8) Put Baby In The Proper Position

Your favorite sleep position might be on your stomach, your back, or your side. But when it comes to your newborn, there’s only one proper position, and that’s on their back.

Statistics show that babies who sleep on their backs are safer than babies who are allowed to sleep on their stomachs or sides. Plus, there’s the added benefit of making it easier to see their adorable sleeping face!

If your child is starting to be able to roll over on their own, it may be time to transition them out of the bassinet; more on this a little later.

9) Consider Swaddling

One way to tackle the issues of proper sleep position and proper choice of jammies for your infant is to swaddle them.

Swaddling your baby calms the startle reflex which may disturb their sleep, helps regulate their temperature, and also keeps them from accidentally scratching themselves in their sleep with their tiny, sharp fingernails.

10) Know When Baby Is Too Big For A Bassinet

toddler standing in bassinet

The last important part of proper bassinet safety is knowing when it’s time to put away the bassinet and transition your growing baby into a crib.

Generally speaking, bassinets are designed for babies under six months old. Physical and developmental milestones indicating it’s time to move out of the bassinet include:

  • Sitting up without support
  • Rolling over in their sleep
  • Head reaching the top of the bassinet when sitting up
  • Trying to rock the bassinet or using the sides to pull up

If it’s time to start looking for a crib, Newton Baby offers everything you need to make the switch safe and comfortable, from the crib itself to breathable and washable crib mattresses to supremely soft organic cotton sheets.

Safe Sleep And Sweet Dreams With Newton

older sibling checking on baby in bassinet

When it comes to parenting a newborn, there’s nothing you can take for granted, especially not your baby’s safety when they finally go to sleep. Bassinet safety is something new moms and dads definitely need to be conscious of.

To have the peace of mind your little one is sleeping safely, pick a sturdy, stable bassinet with a properly fitting mattress and sheet. In addition, keep the bassinet itself and the space around it free from potentially dangerous clutter. And dress and position your baby correctly.

It may seem like a lot, but once you have a bassinet and bedding you feel good about, the rest is mainly just developing good habits and routines when it’s time to try to get your baby to sleep.

We offer a range of safe sleep products for your little one, from bassinets to mattresses and sheets. We’re also always updating our blog with more advice for parents, so check back regularly.

Hopefully this advice on bassinet safety helps you sleep better — when you can get any sleep at all, of course. Hang in there, mom and dad, and try to treasure this time. Your little one will be in a “big boy” or “big girl” bed before you know it!