Why Are Bassinet Mattresses So Thin?

mom picking up baby from a bassinet

When you choose a bassinet for your newborn baby, you might be surprised to see how thin the mattress is. Your first reaction might be to think how uncomfortable this must be to sleep on, but there is a reason for it. A thin and firm mattress reduces the risk of SIDS for your baby, which stops their head sinking into the padding. Let’s look at this in more detail.

How thick should a bassinet mattress be?

A bassinet mattress should be no more than one and a half inches thick.

Why are they so thin?

Bassinet mattresses are thin to prevent a newborn’s head sinking into the padding, as this presents a suffocation risk in case they roll over onto their front.

Should the mattress be soft or firm?

To prevent a baby’s head sinking into the mattress, not only should it be thin, it should also be firm. To check the firmness, place your baby’s head on the mattress and see if there’s an indentation. If you see anything when you pick him up, the mattress may be too soft.

What size should it be?

Most bassinet mattresses are either oval or rectangular shaped. On average they are between 30-33 inches long, and 15-18 inches wide. It’s imperative that whatever mattress you choose, it should fit snugly in the bassinet frame, with no gaps around the sides. This is why many bassinets come with their own mattresses when your purchase them online or in store, as this makes it easier for the consumer.

What is the size of a standard bassinet?

Just like mattresses there are some slight variations in the size of bassinets. However, the standard size is around 30’ x 15.5’ (76cm x 40cm).

What is the weight limit?

Most have a maximum weight limit of around 15-20lbs, but make sure you check the instructions carefully.

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Do bassinets need mattresses?

This might seem an odd question, but some parents are so surprised by the thin mattress that comes with a bassinet, that it looks like they need to buy something else to make it more comfortable. Rest assured the thin, firm looking pad which comes with your bassinet is the mattress!

How can I make it more comfortable?

You shouldn’t worry about this. Just ensure your baby is in a sleep sack, or other night time attire, and place him on his back on the mattress. As tempting as it can be to add extra bedding, or other blankets to make things more comfortable, you are just increasing the chances of SIDS. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) report on children’s deaths under the age of 5, from 2005 to 2007, the main cause was extra bedding added to a crib or bassinet.

Can you use 2 mattresses?

No, you should only use the bassinet mattress provided.

What bedding do you need?

You don’t need any extra bedding as any loose blankets, pillows, toys or other soft objects can pose a suffocation risk. You just need the mattress, a mattress protector and a fitted sheet over the top.

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How often should you replace a bassinet mattress?

You shouldn’t need to replace it at all as your baby won’t be using it for a long time before they transition into their cot or crib. However, just make sure you buy one from a reputable manufacturer so your mattress won’t deteriorate after only a week or so!

What should you look for in a bassinet mattress?

Hopefully when you purchase your baby’s bassinet, it either comes with a mattress already, or someone in the store will show you which one to buy. Just ensure the mattress is thin, firm and it clearly fits in the bassinet. You can check this is in the store before you make your purchase. There should be no gaps around the sides at all.

You also want to check the mattress is made from non-toxic materials. Some foam mattresses can contain harmful chemicals which can emit toxic gases and make your baby’s skin itch. Cotton fabric is one of the best choices, as it’s natural and safe for your baby.

Furthermore, it should be waterproof and easy to clean as your baby might have reflux and other accidents! This will also stop the chances of any mould or mildew appearing as they thrive in damp conditions.

Finally, check the mattress is fire resistant and meets all the necessary safety regulations. In the US, this is the JPMA and ASTM safety standards.

why are bassinet mattresses so thin?
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