Unsplash / Dragos Gontariu

Factors and features to help you decide

Quick notes:

• The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend one over the other.
• Bassinets are smaller and less expensive, but you will only be able to use it for a few months.
• Cribs are larger and more expensive, but they can last for years to come.
• Both are safe when used correctly.

Making decisions that affect your baby can be overwhelming. Choosing between a crib and a bassinet can be simplified when you have the proper knowledge.

Factors to consider

There are three very important questions to answer to make the correct choice between a crib and a bassinet.

1. Where will your baby sleep?

A big factor of what to buy will depend on the space you have available. Will your baby sleep in your room, a sibling’s room, or the nursery? Is there enough space there for a large crib or is your space limited?

2. What’s your budget?

The amount that you can spend on furniture might also affect your decision. Bassinets are cheaper but you will spend more money over time by replacing it with a crib later.

3. How much does your baby weigh?

You must also consider your baby’s weight and the weight limits of the furniture. Bassinets are usually only good for the first 15 to 20 pounds.

Once these three questions have been answered, it is much easier to choose according to the features of each.

Bassinet Features

A very attractive feature of bassinets is that they take up less space than a crib. This makes them great to keep in the parents’ bedroom. And, as they are portable, they can also easily fit into your living room or kitchen while you work.

Do not use cribs that are more than 10 years old and none that were made prior to 2011. Safety standards for cribs changed at this time. 

Between the two, bassinets require a much lower investment. Additionally, they are not as deep as cribs so you can more easily reach in for your baby without hurting your sides.

On the downside, they can only be used for the first few months of a baby’s life. After that, babies surpass the weight limit. As the sides are typically not high, it is not safe for babies to be in them once they start rolling over and moving around.

Crib features

Cribs, on the other hand, can last for years to come. Some can even be turned into toddler beds and day beds. Though they require a bigger initial investment, you get much more use from them.

They are also much larger and are typically not portable, so you will want to set a crib up where you want to keep it. The bars on the side are set high, so it can be uncomfortable leaning over to get your baby.

Safety tips

The American Academy of Pediatrics, or the AAP, does not recommend either a crib or a bassinet over the other, but it does recommend certain sleep safety tips that may help you decide whether you prefer a bassinet or a crib.

Unsplash / Minnie Zhou

1. No bed-sharing

It has been recommended for years that babies not sleep in bed with their parents for safety reasons. For some families, though, they want their babies close for various reasons.

If you are adamant about letting your baby sleep with you, purchase a co-sleeper that fits between mom and dad to help keep him safe. These take up a good deal of space, though.

2. Room-sharing is encouraged

Though bed-sharing is deemed unsafe, it is recommended to let your baby sleep in your room for the first six months. For many parents, this makes a bassinet- or even a playpen- the best option in the beginning.

3. Used cribs may be okay

Hand-me-downs are a common things, and they are very helpful for baby items. Used cribs, though, can be risky if you do not follow certain guidelines.

First and foremost, do not use cribs that are more than 10 years old, and none that were made prior to 2011. Safety standards changed at this time, which banned all drop-rail cribs.

Additionally, the crib railing and slats can loosen or break over time and through multiple uses. If possible, purchase new baby equipment. If you choose to go with used, have someone you trust take a good look to ensure its safety.

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