Bassinets, Cribs

Bassinet Vs Crib – Comparison Table & Best Option for Baby

Ashley Davis

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Bassinet vs Crib

If you’re like many expectant parents, you may be completely overwhelmed by the many choices you have to make, which include choosing a suitable sleeping option for your little one.

Bassinets and cribs are both great options. But, how do you know which one is best for your family?

In this article, we’re going to make a detailed comparison between a bassinet and crib and tell you everything you need to know so you can make an informed choice.

What is a bassinet?

A bassinet is a small bed specifically designed for newborns up to about four months olds. They usually have a light design with mesh or fabric walls and can easily be moved around the house.

Bassinets come in a variety of styles, some with hoods, drapes, lowering walls, and storage compartments. Over the years, manufacturers have also added useful features such as vibrations, sounds, rocking, and lights.

Since bassinets rise to the waist level, many parents find them easier to use. They are a great solution for moms who have had a C-section, as they don’t have to lean over the sides to place the baby down or pick them up.

Pros:

  • Compact Size: Bassinets are smaller and more portable than mini-cribs, making them ideal for keeping the baby close in the parents’ bedroom during the early months.
  • Convenience: Many models have wheels or are lightweight enough to be easily moved from room to room.
  • Ease of Use: Their lower height makes it easier to lift the baby in and out without having to bend over too much.
  • Cozy Environment: They offer a snug, cozy space that can be comforting to newborns.
  • Lightweight and easily portable around the house
  • Sits high, easy to lay the baby down and pick them up without bending
  • They have a small footprint hence suitable for room sharing
  • Can fit in small living spaces
  • Can many useful features such as music, lights, canopies, storage pockets
  • Less expensive than a crib

Cons:

  • Shorter Usage Span: Babies typically outgrow bassinets by around 4-6 months or when they begin to roll over, push up, or exceed the weight limit.
  • Limited Features: They don’t offer the longer-term features and adjustability of cribs, such as adjustable mattress heights or conversion into toddler beds.

Mini-Crib

Pros:

  • Longer Usage: Mini-cribs can be used longer than bassinets, often until a child is 2 or 3 years old, depending on the crib and the child’s size.
  • Versatility: Many mini-cribs are convertible into toddler beds or day beds with the appropriate conversion kit, offering a better long-term investment.
  • Sturdier: They’re generally more stable and secure, providing a safe sleeping environment as the baby grows.
  • Adjustable Mattress Height: This feature makes it easier to put down or pick up your child as they grow, and can help prevent escape attempts as they become more mobile.

Cons:

  • Bigger Footprint: Even though they are smaller than standard cribs, mini-cribs still take up more space than bassinets.
  • Less Portable: They’re not as easy to move from room to room due to their size and construction.
  • Higher Initial Cost: Generally, mini-cribs are more expensive than bassinets, especially if you opt for a model that converts into a toddler bed.
  • Because of the high center of gravity and light design, they can tip over

Making Your Choice

  • Space and Location: If you have limited space in your bedroom or you want to keep the baby close by during the night, a bassinet might be the better option. For a dedicated nursery, a mini-crib could be more suitable.
  • Budget and Longevity: Consider whether you prefer a lower-cost, short-term solution or a higher-cost item that offers a longer usage period.
  • Lifestyle: If you travel frequently or want the flexibility to move the baby’s bed easily, a bassinet might suit your needs better.
  • Safety and Comfort: Regardless of your choice, ensure that the product meets current safety standards and is appropriate for your baby’s age and development stage.

When a Bassinet is More Suitable: The First Weeks Home

Imagine bringing your newborn home for the first time. Those initial weeks are a period of major adjustment for both the baby and parents. A bassinet proves to be incredibly suitable during this phase for several reasons:

  • Convenience for Nighttime Feedings: With the baby sleeping in a bassinet right next to your bed, nighttime feedings and comforting become much easier. There’s no need to walk to another room, which is a blessing for postpartum recovery.
  • Reassurance: For new parents, the ability to easily reach over and check on their newborn provides immense reassurance. The open and accessible design of a bassinet means that the baby’s face is visible at all times, easing those frequent checks to ensure the baby is breathing and sleeping safely.
  • Space Efficiency: Especially in smaller living spaces or bedrooms that cannot accommodate a larger crib, a bassinet’s compact footprint is ideal. It allows parents to keep their newborn close without rearranging their entire room.
  • Portability: Whether moving from the bedroom to the living room during the day or traveling to visit grandparents, the portability of a bassinet is a significant advantage. It ensures the baby has a familiar sleeping environment, no matter where they are.

In this scenario, the bassinet serves as a practical, comforting, and convenient sleeping arrangement, perfectly suited to the newborn stage and the needs of recovering mothers and attentive parents.

When a Mini-Crib is More Suitable: Transitioning to Independent Sleep

As the baby grows, becomes more active, and starts developing a more regular sleep pattern, the mini-crib becomes the more suitable choice. Consider a baby who has begun to outgrow the cozy confines of a bassinet and is ready for a little more independence:

  • Safety and Space for Growth: The mini-crib offers more room for babies to move, roll, and eventually pull themselves up. Its sturdy design and adjustable mattress levels accommodate growing mobility safely.
  • Longevity: Unlike a bassinet, which may only be used for the first few months, a mini-crib can last until the toddler years, especially those that convert into toddler beds. This makes it a more economical choice in the long run.
  • Stable Sleeping Environment: Establishing a consistent sleep area that can remain constant through the baby’s first years can contribute to better sleep habits. A mini-crib placed in the baby’s own room facilitates the transition into independent sleeping.
  • Design and Comfort: Mini-cribs are designed to offer the same comfort and safety features as full-sized cribs but in a more space-efficient form. They can be equipped with a comfortable, firm mattress, providing the support growing babies need for their development.

In this scenario, the mini-crib represents a wise transition as the baby begins to exhibit more independence and physical growth. It accommodates the baby’s evolving needs while still fitting into smaller living spaces, making it an excellent choice for families looking to invest in a longer-term sleeping solutions.

Crib

Pros:

  • Longevity: Designed to last from newborn stages up to toddler years, especially those that convert into toddler beds. This makes them a more economical choice over time.
  • Safety and Stability: Cribs are sturdier and come with adjustable mattress heights, catering to your growing baby’s needs.
  • Space: Provides more room for the baby to move around, which can contribute to better sleep as they grow.
  • Available in a wide range of styles, shapes, sizes, and finishes

Cons:

  • Size: Cribs take up more space, which might not be ideal for parents sharing a room with their baby or those living in smaller spaces.
  • Initial Cost: Generally more expensive upfront, especially for models that convert into toddler beds or come with additional features.
  • May not fit in small bedrooms. Check out baby products for small nursery spaces.
  • Have complicated assembly
  • They are generally more expensive

Making the Choice

  • Consider Your Space: If you’re limited on space or want the baby in your room for the first few months, a bassinet might be the better choice. If you have a designated nursery or enough room, a crib could be more suitable.
  • Think About Longevity: If you’re looking for a product that will last longer and offer more value over time, a crib is the better investment. If you prefer the convenience and closeness of a bassinet for the initial months, consider whether the short-term use aligns with your budget.
  • Lifestyle and Convenience: For parents who travel frequently or want to keep the baby close at all times, the portability of a bassinet is advantageous. If you prefer a stable, long-term sleep environment for your baby, opt for a crib.
  • Budget: Weigh the cost versus the longevity and usage. Some parents opt for both, starting with a bassinet and transitioning to a crib as the baby grows.

Ultimately, the choice between a bassinet and a crib depends on your personal needs, lifestyle, and preferences. You can start with a bassinet for the convenience during the newborn stage and then move to a crib as the baby grows, or invest in a crib from the start. Consider what will work best for your family’s situation.

When to pick crib over bassinet:

If you have a moderately sized home with a dedicated nursery space and are preparing for the arrival of your first child, I would advise considering a crib over a bassinet for several key reasons:

Longevity and Future Planning

If you’re thinking ahead and possibly planning for more children, a crib offers the durability and long-term use you’re looking for. Cribs, especially those that convert into toddler beds and then into daybeds or full-sized beds, provide a lasting solution that can accommodate your growing family over the years.

Safety and Adjustability

Safety is paramount, and cribs are subject to stringent safety standards. The ability to adjust the mattress height as your child grows is a significant advantage. It reduces the risk of your child potentially climbing out and getting injured, offering you peace of mind.

Space for Growth

A crib provides more room for your child to move, roll, and eventually stand, which is crucial for their development and can contribute to better sleep patterns. Given that babies quickly outgrow the confined space of a bassinet, investing in a crib ensures your child has a comfortable sleeping area that grows with them.

Dedicated Nursery Setup

Since you have the luxury of a dedicated nursery room, space isn’t a major constraint. Setting up a crib there supports the goal of establishing a consistent sleep environment and routine for your baby, separate from the rest of the household activities. This distinction can be beneficial for both your child’s and your sleep quality.

Cost-Effectiveness

Although cribs can be an upfront investment, they offer better value in the long run due to their extended usability. The market offers a wide range of crib designs, allowing you to find one that meets your budget and safety requirements without compromising on quality or aesthetic preferences.

Personal Recommendation

Considering all these factors, I recommend opting for a crib. It aligns with your goals of creating a safe, comfortable, and lasting sleep environment for your child. While bassinets offer convenience for the newborn stage, the benefits of choosing a crib—especially in terms of safety, comfort, and financial practicality—make it a wise choice for your family’s current and future needs.

Comparison table of bassinet vs cribs

Below is a quick comparison of different features of the bassinet and crib

Bassinet Crib 
Footprint Dimensions76 x 40 cm/ 30 x 16 inches132 x 71 cm/ 52 x 28 inches
Longevity From birth to 4 -5 monthsbirth to 3 or 4 years
PortabilityHave a lightweight design and most also wheels to move around the homeHeavy and bulky, not easy to move. Only few have wheels and are still challenging to move room to room
Convertibility Most are not convertible but some can be transformed to a playard or changing tableSome convert to toddler bed, twin size, and full size bed.
SafetySafe, but can be knocked over Very sturdy and safe
ComfortVery cozy for newbornsCan feel too large for a newborn
Extra featuresSome bassinets have vibrations, sounds, lights, rocking movements, canopies, and storage compartmentsSome cribs have storage drawers underneath. Others have a changing table.
Average Prices $50 -$150$170 -$450 and above

AAP Recommendations

You ask, which one does the AAP recommend? And the answer is that the American Association of Pediatrics does not offer parents recommendations as to whether to choose a crib or bassinet. However, they advise parents to choose either a freestanding crib or bassinet for their baby and to stay away from co-sleepers or any other type of sleeping device that attaches to their bed.

Here is the full list of safe sleep practices that AAP recommends to parents to ensure safety for their babies:

  1. Sleep in the same room with your baby until at least six months of age
  2. Always lay your baby down on their back, never sideways or face down
  3. Do not sleep with the baby in your bed or while holding him in any other position such as in a chair.
  4. Ensure there are no loose items like beddings, blankets, toys, or clothing- the sleeping area should be bare.
  5. Do not use crib bumpers

Research

What about research? Over the years, studies have been carried out to find out which is safer between cribs and bassinets. One of the studies discovered that bassinets may have a higher risk than cribs because of the way they are designed. If there is a malfunction, it can contribute to the death of an infant.

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics analyzed the risk factors of 53 infants who had passed away in bassinets in the years between 1990 and 2004. It was discovered that 85% of the deaths were linked to suffocation, asphyxiation, or anoxia, while 9.4% of the deaths resulted from SIDS.

The study also showed that there was a huge number of unsafe sleep practices, which also contributed to the death of the infants. It records that 37% of babies were laid face down for sleep and 74% had soft beddings with them inside the bassinet. However, in 17% of the cases, the study concluded that specific mechanical problems with the bassinets caused infant deaths.

Although the study did not conclude that bassinets should stop being used or banned, it recommended that parents always ensure that the bassinet they choose is functioning properly and take extra care to avoid putting any items in the bassinet.

Which one is safer: bassinet or crib?

Both cribs and bassinets can be safe for your baby, provided they meet current safety standards adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the United States. The key to safety lies in following these standards, as well as proper use and placement of the sleeping environment. However, there are specific considerations to keep in mind for each option:

Cribs:

  • Safety Standards: Cribs are subject to strict safety standards, which include specifications for slat spacing, mattress fit, and the elimination of drop-side designs to prevent accidents. Here are the CPSC Crib Standards.
  • Longevity: Cribs are designed to be used from newborn stages up to toddler years, especially convertible ones. This longer period of use means they’re designed to accommodate a growing child safely.
  • Stability: Cribs are generally more stable and sturdy, reducing the risk of tipping over or collapsing.
  • Adjustable Mattress Height: This feature allows the mattress to be lowered as the baby grows, reducing the risk of the child climbing out and falling.

Bassinets:

  • Specific Standards: Bassinets also have safety standards, though they differ from cribs. These include standards for the base to ensure stability and prevent tipping, as well as breathable sides. Here are the CPSC Standards for Cradles and Bassinets.
  • Portability: Many bassinets come with wheels or are designed for easy movement, which can be a risk if not properly locked in place.
  • Short-term Use: Bassinets are generally used for the first few months of a baby’s life. It’s important to transition to a crib or other safe sleeping environment before the baby begins to roll over or push up to prevent falls.

Choosing the Safest Option:

  • Compliance with Safety Standards: Ensure any crib or bassinet you choose complies with the latest safety standards. Look for JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification as an additional assurance of safety.
  • Proper Use: Follow manufacturer guidelines for assembly and use, including weight and age limits.
  • Safe Sleep Practices: Regardless of your choice, practice safe sleep guidelines: place the baby on their back to sleep, use a firm mattress with a fitted sheet, and keep the sleeping area free of pillows, blankets, and toys.

It’s best to buy a new bassinet or crib to ensure that it meets current safety standards. Old bassinets or cribs may have parts that are broken or loose, posing a risk to your baby’s safety, so as much as possible; try to buy a new one. The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents not to use any baby crib or bassinet that has been modified in any way or is more than ten years old.

If a second-hand bassinet or crib is the only option you have, you can check for recalls to ensure that it meets the current safety regulations.

Is it better to get a crib or bassinet?

There is no straight answer to this question as it largely depends on personal preference and factors such as ease of use, comfort, available space, budget, family lifestyle, etc.

A bassinet will make a better choice if you don’t have much space since they are generally smaller than cribs. However, you may also consider a mini crib because they are designed for small rooms.

A bassinet usually has an adjustable height that matches your bed height and is thus easier for a mom to use after delivery without straining as opposed to a crib where she would have to lean in and bend down every time she puts the baby down and picks the baby up. Some bassinets also have features such as music, vibrations, and nightlight that can help soothe the baby to sleep.

In terms of comfort, both have comfortable mattresses, but the bassinet may be cozier for a newborn because it provides a snug feeling like the one they are used to in the womb. A crib may feel too sparse.

Bassinets generally are used only for up to about four months, so you will still need a crib later on. You want to consider this fact before you buy. You may find that it may be best for you to buy only a crib and stick with it or decide to buy a bassinet and later a crib, depending on how you have structured your budget.

Evaluate these factors and see which option is best for your family.

How long can baby sleep in a bassinet vs crib?

A bassinet offers a safe place for newborns to sleep for up to four months. Once the baby starts to roll over or sit up, the bassinet becomes unsafe. On the other hand, a crib offers a larger sleeping space and can accommodate your child up to three to four years of age.

Can a newborn sleep in a crib right away?

Yes, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby should sleep in the parent’s bedroom until they are six months in a crib or bassinet.