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Take Care when Choosing an Alternative to a Crib for Baby

By Valerie Baldowski
Take Care when Choosing an Alternative to a Crib for Baby

Most consumers searching for the right type of infant bed will choose a crib, but the alternatives to a traditional crib are Moses baskets, cradles and bassinets. Unlike cribs, Moses baskets and bassinets have no federal regulations to ensure their safety. Parents who prefer them have some safety tips to follow.

  • Just like when shopping for a crib, it’s best to buy bassinets and Moses baskets new, and avoid accepting hand-me-down heirloom cradles or bassinets. Looking for certification by the American Society for Testing and Materials and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, and checking for a recall history, will help make a more informed decision.
  • Using only the mattress and mattress pad provided by the manufacturer, and the fitted sheet specifically designed to fit the bassinet’s mattress or pad, will ensure the baby’s safety. Avoid using a pillowcase or different size sheet.
  • To protect against accidents, do not leave the baby unattended in a rocking cradle. Never use a bassinet with the wheels unlocked, or carry or move a cradle with the child in it.
  • Keep strings or dangling cords to blinds or curtains away from the cradle. Keeping the cords too short for the baby to reach, and positioning a mobile far enough above the bassinet so the baby can’t reach it, are similar to the safety tips for standard cribs.

The advantage to Moses baskets, bassinets and cradles is space-related, and they are convenient for parents who don’t have room for a full size crib. But taking into account how fast babies grow, these smaller baby beds won’t be in use for long before being retired. There are some features to compare.

  • Some bassinets can convert into a changing table, or even attach to an adult bed to make it into a bedside sleeper. Others can be used as toy boxes when the baby outgrows it.
  • Other bassinet models feature motion that full size cradles don’t offer. They can be converted into a cradle with a quick-release latch and retractable wheels, so the unit can rock or glide.
  • By their very construction, they are more portable than cribs. Some have handles allowing them to be carried and moved, while others have wheels like cribs.
  • Some mobiles for cradles and bassinets feature soothing music or heartbeat sounds with volume control, plus lights and rotating toys.
  • The canopy over the bassinet blocks the light and protects from the sun. Sometimes it’s removable, but avoid lacy or frilly canopies as they pose a strangulation hazard for the infant.

Thoroughly inspect the unit before buying, to make sure it has a sturdy bottom, a wide base, sides that are meshy but firm and folding mechanisms that lock into place. Bassinets and cradles are temporary infant beds with a short life span, and can only be safely used until the baby can roll over or begin trying to push himself up. The maximum weight most cradles, Moses beds or bassinets can safely hold is between 15 to 18 pounds.

When shopping for Moses Beds, cradles and bassinets, keep in mind that many Moses baskets are imported from mainland China. Measurements and dimensions will be in centimeters and kilograms, making it more difficult to compare with U.S. made beds described in inches and pounds. Ordering an infant bed online from an overseas manufacturer is one adventure many U.S. consumers may understandably want to avoid.

Valerie Baldowski is passionate about writing about everything from childrens safety and juvenile products to gardening tools. She is the mother of a high energy 8 year old child so she is accustomed to researching childrens products and services… See more about Valerie

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