The bassinets that pop up on Instagram are getting prettier and prettier, but worryingly a number of these baby beds are failing basic safety tests.
Lots of safety failures
CHOICE has found that out of 33 bassinets tested in Australia, a huge 24 “failed on key safety requirements in our tests.”
There is NO Australian safety standard for bassinets, which means that many parents are unwittingly putting their baby at risk when they tuck them into bed.
Proactive as ever (thank goodness!) CHOICE has come up with their own safety testing – based on safety standards applied to other similar products such as cots – and headed into the marketplace to see how bassinets measure up.
Turns out they didn’t measure up very well at all. In fact, some high-profile retailers were found to be selling bassinets that were simply not up to scratch.
CHOICE looked at things like the firmness and fit of the mattress in the bassinet, the bed’s ‘breathability’, the risk of limb entrapment and the height of the bassinet.
Kim Gilmour is the team leader of the Household Department at CHOICE Australia and she explains that CHOICE has a couple of really great resources which will help parents buy more safely.
“To ensure you’re making the safest and most informed choice for your child, I recommend you read our bassinet buying guide and cot buying guide and check our product reviews before you buy,” Kim says.
Parents putting prettiness before safety?
Apart from getting better informed, Kim reminds parents that while some sleeping options – things like co-sleepers and Moses baskets – might be aimed at babies, it doesn’t mean they are safer for babies to sleep in.
“We don’t actually recommend Moses baskets in general because they aren’t made of that kind of soft, pliable material that can sometimes be quite non-breathable,” she says, suggesting parents also avoid “bedside sleepers or co-sleepers” for similar reasons.
Those gorgeous rattan baby beds you might have spotted on Instagram should be approached with caution, Kim stresses.
“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.”
“It’s a worrying trend that bassinets might be chosen for looks over safety,” Kim says.
Do your research
While there are some good bassinets on the market – hence the helpful CHOICE guides – overall cots are the best choice for babies in terms of safety.
“The great thing about a cot is not only is there is a [safety] standard, but you can use it for longer,” Kim says. “Some of them convert to a toddler bed as well.”
That said, it’s still important to research your cot selection carefully – even if it does seemingly comply with standards.
“By law, there is a mandatory cot standard. So anyone who sells a cot in Australia has to have a cot that meets that standard. But in practice, when CHOICE does our own independent tests, we do find that some cots don’t meet some requirements,” Kim warns.
Gosh. It’s so unsettling, isn’t it?
We definitely need much more stringent consumer safety laws – which CHOICE is lobbying for – to keep our little ones safe. #ThankGoodnessForCHOICE
You can find out which bassinets failed the CHOICE tests here.
And CHOICE provide some brilliant guidelines for choosing a safe bassinet here.