Have family or friends suggested using your pram bassinet as your primary bassinet or cot for overnight sleeping for the first few months? Or is your baby sleeping so well in their pram bassinet that you wonder if you really have to move them to their cot or bedside bassinet after a walk? It’s a fair question, as it could be perceived as an economical or even practical solution for families.
However, the safe sleep experts are clear: pram bassinets are not considered safe for unsupervised sleep.
In fact, not a single pram bassinet in Australia has been approved for overnight sleep – and they are unlikely to be in the near future, even if they are given the green light in other parts of the world.
Let us explain why.
In Australia, we’re fortunate to live in a country with one of the highest safety regulations in the world – especially when it comes to safe sleep environments for babies.
According to Australian safe sleep expert body Red Nose, a pram bassinet is not a substitute for a cot, and there are no Product Safety Standards for Pram Bassinets enforced in Australia.
This means that unlike cots and portacots which need to best tested to and comply with stringent safety standards in order to be sold, there are no Australian safety standards specifically for pram bassinets, also known as carry cots, as overnight sleeping environments.
Without safe sleep guidelines to follow, pram bassinets are available in a range of shapes, sizes (including the height of the sides), materials, mattress firmness, and with varying degrees of ventilation. Without a recommendation from Red Nose or Product Safety Australia, you’re going in blind if you choose to substitute a cot with a pram bassinet.
What is considered a safe sleep environment for your baby?
According to Red Nose, “A safe sleeping environment means that all potential dangers have been removed and the baby is sleeping in a safe place. The ideal place for a baby to sleep is in a safe cot, on a safe mattress, with safe bedding in a safe sleeping place, both night and day.”
Babies should sleep on their backs in their parents’ room for the first 6 months - but in their own safe space, whether a cot (meeting Australian safety standards) or standalone bassinet (with adequate ventilation through the sides, a stable base that won’t tip, and a firm, flat surface that is not tilted). Avoid any loose items in the cot, including quilts, soft toys, sheepskins, or bumpers that could block airflow, as these can increase the risk of SIDS and SUDI through suffocation and overheating. Any blankets used should be securely tucked under the mattress and positioned so that they only reach baby's chest and cannot shift overnight to cover their heads.
What makes a pram bassinet more dangerous than a standalone bassinet for overnight sleep?
The main issue is that pram bassinets are classified as part of the pram, not a separate entity, and therefore must comply with the Australian and New Zealand standard for pram as strollers (AS/NZS 2088:2000). In accordance with this safety standard, you cannot leave children unattended in the pram. This is reinforced not only by the large warning labels on every pram in Australia, but by Red Nose as well.
Furthermore, not only are most pram bassinets smaller in diameter than standalone bassinets, making them less suited to use over longer stretches of time, but they present more of a toppling hazard. Unlike standalone bassinets which should have really stable bases, pram bassinets are typically attached to the pram.
According to Red Nose, “to date, the most frequent accidents associated with bassinet use are falls and suffocation hazards.” This risk is only amplified if you use a product that has not been designed for or tested against overnight use.
So, what is the safest way to use a pram bassinet or capsule?
Unsurprisingly, the best way to use a pram bassinet is in the way it was designed to be used. Shocking, we know. In all seriousness though, it's important that you carefully read through the instructions for use for your specific model. Equally as important is ensuring that it has been properly assembled and installed before each use.
However, just because they’re not approved for unsupervised overnight sleep, it does not mean that pram bassinets are not suitable for supervised sleep.
On the contrary, there are some incredibly innovative pram bassinets on the market (like the Cybex Priam 2022 Lux Carry Cot, offering UPF50+ sun protection, as well as panoramic views with maximum ventilation - perfect for hot Australian summers) that can provide premium comfort, support and safety for you little one as you go from A to B. In fact, investing in a quality pram bassinet with clever features can make those early months far more comfortable for baby while out and about.
Rest assured that as long as you are actively supervising them, your baby can enjoy safe sleep in their pram bassinet. However, as soon as you are no longer able to supervise them or need to leave them unattended for any length of time, for example when you yourself need to sleep, or you’re in another room, the safest place for them becomes their cot.
We’re sure you’ll agree with us that at the end of the day, nothing is more important than the safety of your baby – especially not the temporary convenience of using something like a pram bassinet as a cot. Considering babies sleep for the majority of their early months, ensuring that their sleeping environment poses as few risks as possible is essential not only for their wellbeing, but your peace of mind.
Have any questions? Anstel has a team of passionate expert representatives. Get in touch with us today with any questions about your nursery sleep essentials.
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