Bassinets may be a part of your little one’s life for a mere six months, but the right bassinet can have a lasting impact on not only your baby’s sleep, but yours...now and for years to come! The key, of course, is knowing what makes a bassinet the best one for your baby’s sleep. Here’s what you need to know…

Bassinets vs. Cribs: Why choose a bassinet?

It’s not really an either-or question. Both cribs and bassinets are safe sleep spaces for babies. However, because bassinets are specially designed for infants, they’re markedly smaller than cribs and much easier to tuck next to your own sleep space. And that’s important. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room-sharing with your infant for at least the first six months of their life because it can decrease their risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. Plus, snoozing next to your bub makes it infinitely easier to feed, comfort, and keep a watchful eye on when your precious newborn is snoozing.

Best Bassinet Basics

No matter your personal style or budget, there are certain deal breakers when it comes to buying the safest bassinet for your baby. Here they are:

Best Bassinet Must-Have: Firm, Flat Sleep Surface

While you might crave a squishy, soft bed, that’s the absolute opposite of what your baby needs for safe sleep! In fact, the safest sleep surface for babies is a firm, flat mattress, offering zero give when you place your baby down for naps and night-night, according to the AAP. (Soft sleep surfaces can increase the risk of sleep-related death in infants.) The stability of the mattress and how well it fits inside the bassinet frame are also key safety features.

When a team of reviewers from pediatrician-led BabyGearLab examined the sleep surfaces of the 14 top bassinets of 2021, they concluded that SNOO Smart Sleeper was the overall best, noting it’s firmness, stability, and fit as top-notch. SNOO’s firm sleep surface is also flat, which is imperative for safe sleep. Even though the AAP clearly states that a flat sleep surface is a must for babies, right now there are numerous decidedly not flat bassinet-like inclined sleepers (a la the now-recalled Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play) on the market that put babies at risk for asphyxiation and rolling out if not secured properly. (Unfortunately, these types of products will not be regulated until mid-2022.) Bottom line: Firm and flat are required for safe sleep!

Best Bassinet Must-Have: Breathability

Classic, modern, rounded, squared...no matter what a crib looks like, they all feature a slotted surround, allowing for max air flow and safety. That’s not quite the same with bassinets. Many bassinets are actually made of fabric that mimics unsafe crib bumpers that the AAP strongly advises parents against using due to potential SIDS risk. To see if a bassinet is truly breathable, the experts behind BabyGearLab asked questions like: “Can a baby breathe through the material?,” “Could any components impair the baby’s breathing?,” and “Is there a design feature that might allow a baby to scoot into a position that inhibits their ability to breathe?” Once again, when the folks at BabyGearLab compared more than a dozen popular bassinets, SNOO Smart Sleeper came out on top, scoring a 10 out of 10 thanks to its ultra-breathable mesh surround and innovative design. (SNOO features a built-in secure swaddle, which keeps babies from getting into a position that would inhibit their breathing.)

Best Bassinet Must-Have: Certified 

Beginning in mid-2022, all products intended for infant sleep must meet federal safety standards—a requirement that does not currently exist. (Unbelievable, right?) While cribs, play yards, bedside sleepers, and most bassinets must meet mandatory safety standards, products like soft-sided travel bassinets, compact bassinets, inclined sleepers, Moses baskets, and more are currently not held to the same safety standards. Until national regulations kick in, Consumer Reports recommends only buying bassinets that are certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. To become certified, each bassinet is tested at an independent lab to verify that it meets the highest standards for quality, safety, performance, and functionality. (You can see which ones qualify on JPMA’s website.) Not only is SNOO Smart Sleeper approved by JPMA...the respected organization actually gave SNOO the 2017 JPMA Innovation Award

Best Bassinet Must-Have: New! 

While it’s so very tempting to save money and pick up a second-hand bassinet, know that this is not the safest move. Consumer Reports advises against purchasing important baby items, like car seats, strollers, and cribs/bassinets, used. You don’t want to risk bringing home a bassinet that’s possibly damaged, altered, or incorrectly assembled. While you might think you can easily spot these types of issues, the truth is, sometimes flaws, cracks, and breaks aren’t obvious. And then there’s the possibility that the bassinet has been recalled. If purchasing SNOO feels cost prohibitive, know that you can still offer your baby the safe sleep they deserve with SNOO’s rental program that winds up costing just dollars a day.

Best Bassinet Bonus Features

Many of today’s bassinets offer extras that parents just 10 years ago could never have dreamed of! The style, the innovation, and the sheer variety is staggering. But not all bells and whistles are created equal. Here, one’s that truly matter:

Best Bassinet Extra: Additional Safety Features

Safety is a top concern for all new parents, so knowing that your bassinet has extra safety features is crucial. SNOO Smart Sleeper is the only bassinet that boasts a secure swaddling system, which prevents babies from rolling to an unsafe position during sleep. It’s such a safety innovation, in fact, that the Food and Drug Administration has accepted SNOO into its Breakthrough Device Program, designed to accelerate the FDA’s meticulous review of medical products, so that life-saving devices can be made available to consumers much more quickly. Even more, the award-winning SNOO is already in over 100 hospitals all over the world, ensuring that the smallest and most vulnerable patients sleep well...and safely. 

Best Bassinet Extra: Proven to Add Sleep

Since the dawn of time, parents have calmed their newborns to sleep by rocking them, shushing them, and snuggling them close. Because these actions mimic a womb-like experience, they help trigger a baby’s calming reflex, which is a primal neurological response that developed while in utero. (Basically, this is nature’s “off switch” for fussing.) And while there are some bassinets that rock  and there are some that offer soft sounds, there’s only one bassinet that uses all three of these calming-reflex musts to effectively (and safely) soothe babies to sleep...and that’s the award-winning SNOO. Moreover, SNOO’s constant calming womb-like motion, white noise, and snug built-in swaddle has been shown to add 1 to 2 hours of sleep each night and most SNOO babies sleep 9 hours or more by the time they are 2 to 3 months old. The cherry on top: SNOO helps your baby learn to self-soothe faster and become a better sleeper in the long run.

Best Bassinet Extra: Responsive 

What makes a smart sleeper truly genius is its ability to respond to your baby’s cries or fussing with calming comfort. For instance, the innovative technology behind SNOO Smart Sleeper senses your baby’s cries and then increases its gentle motion and calming white noise to help your little one get back to sleep quickly. And because there are several specially designed levels of sounds and motion, SNOO adapts to exactly what your baby needs to fall asleep, to stay asleep, and to get back to sleep when needed.

And, no, a smart sleeper cannot replace loving parents! Whether your baby is in a smart sleeper or not, you can rest easy knowing that they will, in fact, always let you know if they need to be fed or changed. For example, if your sweet one continues to cry once SNOO is on the highest comforting level, the bassinet will automatically shut off and alert you that your baby needs you.

In the end, only you can decide which bassinet is best for you and your baby. But if you are looking for a bassinet that supports the safest sleep possible…and is proven to add sleep, SNOO could be the perfect addition to your growing family!

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.