Choosing a Cradle or Bassinet: Put Safety First

"Make Every Night a Safe Night" is the theme of Baby Safety Month 2010, sponsored by The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).

Furniture and gear designed for baby's sleep needs for both night and daytime, and at home and away, are among the most important purchases that new parents make. Choosing which products to buy for your baby can be difficult, especially since there are so many options these days, but, without question, the most important criteria for selecting cribs, basinetts and naptime gear is safety.

Choosing Your Baby's First Bed

Many parents choose or inherit a bassinet or cradle to use as their infant's first bed. Whether purchasing (or putting on your gift registry list) or using a family heirloom, make sure that the cradle or bassinet meets the following safety standards:

  • Look for one with a sturdy bottom and a wide, stable base.
  • Mattress or mattress pad should fit snugly and be firm and smooth.
  • Swinging cradles should have a way to keep them from swinging once a baby is asleep.
  • Look for the JPMA Certification Seal.
  • When using a borrowed, second-hand, hand-me-down or used cradle or bassinet, ALWAYS check the CPSC product recall list ( ) and their Most Wanted recall list.

Using your Cradle

  • Follow the manufacturer's guidelines on the appropriate weight and size of babies who can safely use the bassinet or cradle.
  • Check screws and bolts periodically to ensure they are tight.
  • If the product has legs that fold for storage, make sure that effective locks are provided to ensure that the legs do not accidentally fold while in use.
  • Only use the mattress provided by the manufacturer. Never use pillows or add extra padding.
  • Decorative bows and ribbons should be trimmed short and stitched securely to prevent strangulation.

See also: Choosing a Crib: Put Safety First

Safety tips adapted from The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA).