CHOICE reveals two in three baby bassinets are 'unsafe'

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

Parents following current safe sleeping guidelines may actually be putting their baby at risk of SIDS.

In concerning findings by consumer advocacy group CHOICE, two in three baby bassinets have been found to have "serious safety failures."

CHOICE tested 33 bassinets from popular retailers such as Pottery Barn Kids, Kmart and Baby Bjorn and found that 24 out of the 33 were unsafe. 

Safe sleeping guidelines from Red Nose suggest that a baby should sleep in the same room as parents in the first six to 12 months of life, albeit in a separate safe bed. 

Bassinets are thus an essential item for infants in their first year of life as they take up less space in the bedroom.

The findings not only reveal the makes and models found to be unsafe, but also a gaping hole in Australian Standards when it comes to child safety - there are no current Australian Standards for bassinets.

Kim Gilmour, a baby product expert at CHOICE says, "There's no Australian safety standard for bassinets, which is how lots of potentially unsafe bassinets make it onto the market for new parents to buy."

CHOICE tested the bassinets based on 'home settings,' or how people would commonly use the product at home. They then put the baby beds through their paces.

"We look at things like whether the bassinet has sufficient breathable zones to prevent suffocation, that there are no entrapment hazards, and no materials or objects that can come loose and cause an injury," says Kim. 

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"We also assess how sturdy the construction is and whether the bassinet is at a sufficient depth to prevent a fall if an older baby leans or crawls on the sides," she says.

Ill-fitting mattresses a huge problem

One major issue highlighted by CHOICE are mattresses that don't fit the bassinet properly.

Kim says, "You should always use the mattress that comes recommended with the bassinet you've bought. If the mattress is too small or too large, it can create a suffocation risk. If it's too thick, it could make your bassinet too shallow and create a fall risk when your baby starts to pull themselves up, after which you should stop using the bassinet and move onto a cot." 

"If you have space in your room, a regular cot is the safest option, but if you do want a bassinet, there are a few things to look out for," she says.

"The most important are to ensure a firm, well-fitted mattress and breathable zones on all four sides."

Consult the bassinet buying guide for the things to look for when shopping.

Insta-nurseries fuelling purchases

Another concern is the rise of the Instagram nursery. Picture perfect rooms with furniture chosen for how they look rather than safety, are placing babies at risk.

Parents might assume that a bassinet they see in the shop has been vetted by safety standards before import, but this is simply not true and parents need to be aware of what to look for in a safe bed for their baby.

Kim names the current interior trend of rattan as unsafe for a baby's bed.

"Although you may like the look of a rattan or wicker bassinet, we find that this material can often have splinters and rough, jagged ends on the wickerwork that could cause skin or eye injuries," she says. 

For these reasons rattan bassinets from Pottery Barn Kids (below left - score of 40 per cent) and The Rattan Collective (below right - score of 20 per cent). They also each presented a limb entrapment risk.

There is some good news, however. Four bassinets scored a whopping 100 per cent for safety, so you can feel confident to purchase.

Here is the full list of bassinets that failed CHOICE's safety tests -

  • BabyBjörn Cradle 041121
  • Cariboo Classic
  • Cariboo Folding
  • Cariboo Gentle Motions
  • Chicco next2me 10840
  • Childcare Carme Bassinet 036513-385
  • Kmart Anko Bassinet 42712893
  • Pottery Barn Kids Bassinet and Mattress set
  • Star Kidz Compagno Deluxe Baby Bassinet
  • Troll Sun Bassinet
  • Arm's Reach Cambria Co-Sleeper 8300-N
  • Arm's Reach Mini ARC Co-Sleeper 5111-N
  • Baby Inc Sonno Bassinet N9859
  • BabyBay Original, Mattress and Side Panel
  • Bebe Care Crib 096328-003
  • Bednest Bassinet
  • Fisher-Price Stow 'n Go Bassinet FBR72
  • Grotime Eurella
  • Halo Bassinest 3840
  • Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet 10896
  • Ingenuity Foldaway Rocking Bassinet Classic 11557
  • Sunbury Cocoon Bassinet 41100-08
  • The Rattan Collective Yami
  • Ya.Ya.Ya Soothing Motions Bassinet HD3689-F

To view the nine safest bassinets on the market, see CHOICE's report (paid content).

Bassinet buying guide

Cot buying guide

Safe sleeping guidelines for babies

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Photo: CHOICE