Bassinet vs. crib - A smiling baby standing in a wooden crib

Bassinet vs. crib: Which is the right choice for your baby?

Comparing bassinets and cribs based on their size, safety features, assembly process, and more.

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Key Facts

  • A bassinet is a small and portable sleeping basket for newborn babies. It usually has a flat mattress, breathable mesh walls, and soothing features to ensure your baby’s comfort. 
  • A crib has a larger, sturdier bed frame with slats and high barriers, including convertible options, suitable from infancy to toddlerhood. It also features adjustable mattress heights for postpartum convenience.

What do newborn babies sleep in? There are two options: a bassinet or a crib. Although both provide a safe and comfortable sleeping space for newborns, each baby bed has unique advantages and disadvantages. 

Learn more about these baby bed types in this bassinet vs. crib guide to select the right one for your baby. 

What is a bassinet?

Bassinet vs crib - Adorable baby sleeping in blue bassinet with canopy at night

A bassinet is a small newborn sleeping basket with a firm, flat mattress. Its portable design allows parents to keep their babies in the same room for closer monitoring and easier feeding. This is convenient for new mothers who are still recovering from childbirth or have undergone a C-section and are experiencing postpartum fatigue.

Purchasing a bassinet for your baby can help soothe them. Some models even have a built-in feature that mimics the motion or sounds of the womb. Moreover, bassinets have breathable mesh walls, keeping babies fresh and comfortable and giving them quality sleep. 

What is a crib?Bassinet vs crib - Adorable baby standing in a crib at home

A crib has a larger and more durable bed frame than a bassinet. It has slats and high-side barriers, which prevent babies from falling out of bed. Some cribs have a convertible design, allowing parents to use them from their baby’s early months to their toddler years. 

Like bassinets, cribs are also beneficial for mothers postpartum since most models have adjustable mattress heights. This makes it easier to pick up or lay the baby down.

Crib vs. bassinet: What are their key differences?

Since babies spend most of their time sleeping, bassinets and cribs should be placed at the top of your baby essentials list when shopping and prepping your nursery. Make shopping less overwhelming with this detailed comparison guide. It covers all the factors that highlight the advantages and disadvantages of bassinets and cribs. 

In terms of the recommended age range

Bassinet vs crib - A mother falling asleep while rocking the crib of her newborn baby at night

Getting a bassinet for a newborn baby is ideal, as the recommended age range for this type of baby bed is 4 to 6 months. However, you should transition your baby to a crib past the six-month mark. Most babies can now roll over or push up on their knees and legs at this stage, and the petite frame of bassinets makes it unsafe to continue using past this age.  

On the other hand, the recommended age range for cribs is more comprehensive because you may use it from your baby’s newborn stages until they reach 3 to 4 years old. This is because cribs have a more stable frame and are equipped with convertible features. 

Recommendation: Use bassinets for babies aged 4 to 6 months, and cribs for babies up to 3 to 4 years.

In terms of size

Since you may only use a bassinet during your baby’s early months, they’re typically smaller and more compact than cribs. However, their sizes can vary widely, with most bassinets having a mattress size of 26 to 30 inches long and 14 to 16 inches wide.

Due to their compact design, bassinets are perfect for homeowners living in small apartments with limited room space. Plus, you may fit the bassinet right next to your bed, so you can easily comfort and feed your baby during the wee hours of the night. 

In contrast, cribs are larger than bassinets, with most full-size cribs having a standard size of 53 inches long and 28 inches wide. Since they can take up more space, they’re best for homeowners with larger bedrooms. 

Recommendation: For homeowners with limited space, it’s best to choose bassinets. However, if space is not a problem, choosing a full-size crib is safe.

In terms of portability

 Bassinet vs crib - A baby sleeping sweetly in a portable bassinet

Aside from being compact, bassinets are also lightweight. You can even find basket bassinets or Moses baskets made from light, natural materials like wicker and palm leaves. Additionally, these basket bassinets are designed with soft padding and a handle that is perfect for travelling. Some bassinets even have a folded-down feature, making them convenient during overnight trips. 

Even though some modern portable cribs have travel-light features like carrying cribs, they still have bulkier dimensions and more complex setup requirements than bassinets. For this reason, cribs aren’t ideal for traveling.

Recommendation: If you frequently travel, bassinets are the best choice.

In terms of safety features

As parents, you probably heard about crib death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and how it can happen during the earliest months of an infant. Fortunately, SIDS is rare, and there are many ways you can prevent it. You can hire a maternity nurse who can assist with baby care, and follow safe baby sleep practices like preventing loose bedding for a newborn. 

Choosing a baby bed with safety features can also lower the risk of SIDS. Cribs are generally safer than bassinets because manufacturers are required to adhere to and meet safety crib standards. Moreover, cribs have a more robust and stable frame, reducing the risk of babies tipping over. You’ll also find that most cribs have higher sides and a more close environment than bassinets. 

Recommendation: Cribs are safer than bassinets.

In terms of assembly and disassembly

Bassinet vs crib - A person assembling a crib on their own

Bassinets are easier to assemble and disassemble due to their compact size and fewer parts. Plus, some bassinets have a one-step, open-and-fold system, so you can conveniently move them around. 

However, you may still need to check and ensure the bassinet is safe and stable. There could be exposed sharp edges or small parts that can injure your baby. For this reason, it’s best to seek professional help when assembling and disassembling any baby furniture. 

Meanwhile, cribs have a more robust and complex assembly and disassembly process because these are meant for long-term use. Not to mention, most have convertible features. So, even if it’s a simple crib from IKEA, hiring an expert to assemble your IKEA furniture is a must to ensure precise measurements and avoid accidental collapses.

Recommendation: Bassinets are easier to assemble and disassemble.

In terms of cost

Bassinets are more affordable upfront, ranging from $50 to $1,000. This is because bassinets have smaller sizes and lighter materials compared to cribs. However, bassinets are less cost-effective since they’re only suitable during the baby’s early months. 

Meanwhile, cribs with convertible features are more expensive, ranging from  $90 to over $1,500. Despite the high initial costs, cribs are worth investing in because you may transform them into toddler beds as your baby grows.

Recommendation: Bassinets are more affordable upfront, but cribs are a much more cost-effective choice. 

Hire a Tasker for bassinet and crib assembly

Even though most cribs and bassinets come with detailed instructions, assembling them can still be challenging, especially if they have complex features and convertible parts. Save yourself from the hassle and hire a Tasker to assemble your baby’s furniture!

At Airtasker, you can find Taskers providing furniture assembly services. Rest assured, they’ll assemble your baby’s bed according to safety standards. 

Bassinet vs. crib

Recommended Age Range
4 to 6 months
Newborn stages to 3 to 4 years old
Smaller, typically 26 to 30 inches long and 14 to 16 inches wide
Larger, standard size of 53 inches long and 28 inches wide
Lightweight and compact, suitable for travel
Bulkier and less portable, not ideal for travel
Safety Features
Less safe with lower sides
Safer with a more robust design and enclosed environment
Assembly and Disassembly
Easier due to compact size and fewer parts
More complex assembly due to convertible features
More affordable upfront
More expensive upfront, but more cost-effective

FAQs on bassinets and cribs

A crib is a common term for small baby beds used in North America, while a cot is commonly used in nations that use British English, like Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, cots typically have a larger size than cribs.

If you already have a crib, you don’t need to buy a bassinet anymore because cribs are designed for newborn babies to use until they reach their toddler years. Moreover, you can buy a travel crib with a bassinet, so you don’t necessarily have to buy a separate bassinet.

If the baby is too big already and has outgrown the bassinet, it’s a sign to move them to a crib. Usually, this happens when the baby turns six months old. Just make sure you do it gradually when you transition your baby from a bassinet to a crib. Let your baby nap in the bassinet first, and then move them to a crib for nighttime sleep.

Yes, bassinets can be safe for SIDS as long as you follow specific safety guidelines. For example, you should use a firm mattress, avoid loose baby bedding and remove toys and soft pillows in the bassinet to prevent babies from suffocating.

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