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Expert Advice

CHOICE says two out of three bassinets available in Australia fail safety tests

And it's some of the big names that are failing to meet simple safety standards.

By Rebel Wylie
Settling your newborn into a bassinet close by to your own bed is a common scene in Australian households.
The Red Nose organisation recommends the best way to reduce the risk of SIDS is for babies to sleep in their own safe space in the same room as an adult for the first 6 to 12 months. Given that a bassinet is smaller than a cot, it's often the most practical solution for parents wishing to follow that recommendation.
However, parents might be alarmed to realise that there's no Australian safety standard for bassinets. When CHOICE recently conducted their own tests in order to make recommendations to Australian families, they found that 24 out of 33 bassinets failed on key safety requirements, including bassinets from Pottery Barn Kids, Kmart and Baby Bjorn.
Scroll down for complete list of the bassinets that failed CHOICE testing ...

How does CHOICE test bassinets for safety?

Given that there's no Australian safety standard, CHOICE conducted it's own slew of tests to judge just how safe the bassinets on the Australian market are. And the results are highly concerning.
"When we test bassinets for safety, we use our own in-house method that's based on a typical home setting and other existing safety standards such as for cots," says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE's baby product expert. "Of all the currently available bassinets we tested, 24 out of 33 had serious failures."
"We look at things like whether the bassinet has sufficient breathable zones to prevent suffocation, that there are no entrapment hazards, and no materials or objects that can come loose and cause an injury," says Kim.
"We also assess how sturdy the construction is and whether the bassinet is at a sufficient depth to prevent a fall if an older baby leans or crawls on the sides," she says.
Scroll down for complete list of the bassinets that failed CHOICE testing ...
Given their smaller, more compact size bassinets are often the first choice for parents wishing to keep bub close in the early days. If you have space in your room, a regular cot is the safest option (Image: Getty)
Using the wrong-sized mattress is another safety issues Kim sees regularly with bassinets.
"You should always use the mattress that comes recommended with the bassinet you've bought," warns Kim. "If the mattress is too small or too large, it can create a suffocation risk. If it's too thick, it could make your bassinet too shallow and create a fall risk when your baby starts to pull themselves up, after which you should stop using the bassinet and move onto a cot."
"If you have space in your room, a regular cot is the safest option, but if you do want a bassinet, there are a few things to look out for," she says. "The most important are to ensure a firm, well-fitted mattress and breathable zones on all four sides."
WATCH: Baby sleep and settling by Bounty. Continues after video ...

Rattan or cane bassients look good, but fail safety tests

A report out of CHOICE last month found that parenting influencers are actually putting infant's lives at risk when they prioritise style over safety in the content they produce.
Given the latest trends for Scandi and natural looking rooms, bassinets woven from natural plant materials such as rattan or cane are a current favourite for parents, but they carry some risks, according to Kim.
"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," she says.
This is the case with the Pottery Barn Kids Bassinet, which scored only 40 percent on the CHOICE tests. The bassinet also posed a serious risk of limb entrapment due to gaps in the wicker design, which contributed to its low score.
A rattan bassinet from The Rattan Collective, which retails for a relatively steep $395, scored just 20 percent. Serious safety failures included gaps that are a limb entrapment hazard and inadequate instructions to help you place the mattress correctly.
Scroll down for complete list of the bassinets that failed CHOICE testing ...
A stylish nursery should come second to safety. (Image: Getty)
"Choosing a safe sleeping space for your baby should be your number one priority, says CHOICE Editor, Margaret Rafferty.
"If you have the space, a regular cot is the safest option, but if you do want a bassinet always choose safety over style. The most important considerations should be to ensure the bassinet has a firm, well-fitted mattress and breathable zones on all four sides.
"As we pointed out last month, a lot of the latest trends in nursery design really aren't safe at all so despite how nice a wicker bassinet might look, not all of them are safe and parents should exercise caution when taking note of this and other design trends."
CHOICE Editor Margaret Rafferty says parents should "always choose safety over style" when it comes to decorating a baby's room. (Image: Supplied)
CHOICE recently identified 12 common mistakes made by influencers sharing bedroom designs. (Image: Supplied)
Kim advises: "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."

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