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Cot vs bassinet? While it’s perfectly fine to put your baby straight into a cot, Red Nose recommends room sharing (not bed-sharing), for the first six to 12 months to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Red Nose’s Chief Midwife Jane Wiggill says: “Room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS. Therefore Red Nose recommends sleeping with your baby in a safe cot next to your bed.” So if your cot fits, go for it!
For many parents, there isn’t enough room for a cot, so they choose a bassinet for their baby instead. They’re smaller than a cot and easy to move around the house during the day if that’s something you want to do.
Bassinets are great for newborns until they can to roll and move around, usually between four and six months. Then it’s time to move to a cot.
The most important thing for parents to be aware of is that there are currently no Australian safety standards for baby bassinets. CHOICE says that some “products claim compliance with the older standard for rocking cradles AS/NZS 4385:1996. Other standards to look out for that manufacturers tend to have their bassinets tested to include:
With that in mind, here are some safety features to consider buying a bassinet for your newborn.
The mattress should be firm, flat and fit snugly in the bassinet. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the mattress and the sides, or any areas where your baby could get their hands or feet caught. Make sure the sheet you use is tight-fitting.
Padding or any material around the edges of the bassinet that could cause suffocation should be avoided.
CHOICE says, “We only recommend bassinets and bedside sleepers with adequate breathable zones on all four sides to eliminate suffocation risks and provide enough ventilation for your baby.
“There are no official international requirements for breathable zones in bassinets or bedside sleepers, so you will find many models that don’t meet this specification. We think this is a crucial element of a bassinet purchase.”
If your bassinet has wheels, make sure it comes with a good set of brakes that are attached to at least two of the wheels. If your bassinet rocks, make sure there’s a lock to give you the option to keep it stationary.
Depth is also an important feature to check before purchasing.
“The vertical distance between the top surface of the mattress and the upper edge of the bassinet enclosure should be no less than 250mm,” says CHOICE.
Babies poo, they drool, and they vomit, so it’s essential that your bassinet is easy to clean.
Size matters when it comes to placing a bassinet in your bedroom. Make sure it fits comfortably, but also that it’s easy to move around if needed.
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