Understanding current bassinette safe sleeping guidelines is something every new and seasoned parent should know and understand.
The Pram Bassinette
There’s a lot of talk as to whether it’s safe to sleep a baby unsupervised in a pram bassinette. There is currently no Australian Standard for bassinettes which means that they are available in many shapes, sizes, styles and different materials.
SIDS and Kids have a number of basinette safe sleeping recommendations on what to look for in a bassinette and although the attachment of a bassinette pram may have a number of these recommendations, the SIDS & Kids National Education Manager is recommending that because the bassinette is marketed as part of a pram, it comes under the Australian Standard for prams.
These pram standards state that a pram should not be used as a permanent sleeping environment for a baby and that a baby should not be left to sleep unsupervised in a pram.
The Baby Bassinette
What to look for in a bassinette
Unlike cots, there is no Australian Standard for bassinettes, so we are careful to keep up to date with reports of accidents associated with bassinet use. This research shows that the most frequent accidents associated with bassinet use are falls and suffocation hazards. Australian and US governments draw on these reports and produce guidelines on ways to reduce these types of accidents. Recommendations include:
- Ensure that it has a wide stable base and that it is placed on a stable surface
- Use a size and style to suit your baby’s weight and age (see manufacturer’s instructions)
- Remove all ribbons and ties to prevent strangulation
- The sides should be at least 300 mm high measured from the top of the mattress base and preferably made of air-permeable material such as mesh (or breathable zones)
- Use a firm, clean, well-fitting mattress that is flat (not tilted or elevated) and is not thicker than 75mm
- If the legs fold, ensure they can be locked and won’t collapse when used.
Make sure baby sleeps on the back with face uncovered. Remove pillows, soft toys, lambswools/sheepskins and other soft items.
A safe baby sleeping bag which reduces the need for extra bedding is a good alternative when using a bassinet. If baby’s chest feels cool to touch and additional warmth is necessary, a lightweight blanket can be used if it is possible to tuck the blanket under the mattress so that it cannot be pulled over baby’s head).
It is recommended that a bassinet should be used for a short period only. Once baby becomes active and starts to roll, it is best to place baby into a safe cot.