Bassinet vs Crib: What's The Difference And Which One To Choose?

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Since infants spend a lot of time resting, making the right sleep arrangements for them is an important decision. Hence, many new parents want to know the pros and cons of bassinet vs crib. Though both are safe, some factors should be considered before making this decision and to provide the newborn with a safe and pleasant space to sleep at night and nap during the day.

This post discusses the difference between bassinets and cribs, the pros and cons of each, the types of cribs, and the things to consider before buying one for your baby.

What Is A Bassinet?

A bassinet can be described as an oval-shaped carrier with comfortable clothing or mesh, which can be raised to the bed, or adult’s waistline. It is designed to accommodate a baby from birth to four months.

The bassinet is easy to operate, light, and convenient, especially when you need to take care of your little one while you are engaged in other chores. Using the accommodation also allows you to pay close attention to the newborn.

With a frame fixed in place, the new-age bassinet designs make way for sideways rocking to help a newborn with safe sleep or keep the baby entertained. The material used to make a bassinet can be anything, from plastic to metal or wood, and the frame is attached to fixed legs.

With this basic understanding of a bassinet, let’s look at what kind of comfort and discomfort the bassinet brings to your newborn.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Bassinet

Here’s a quick look at how a bassinet might just add a hint of comfort to a newborn’s accommodation (1).

Benefits of a bassinet

Some typical advantages of a bassinet you must know to make a suitable accommodating choice for your young one include the following.

  • Portability: Bassinets are lightweight, foldable, and easy to carry while traveling. A bassinet is a portable baby bed that you can move between rooms and places. A portable bassinet allows you to carry your newborn to doctors, friends or family, or while shopping.
  • Reduced Risk of SIDS: Bassinets offer safe accommodation space that allows a newborn to sleep peacefully while reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It helps keep your baby no further than at an arm’s length while you both sleep in the same room.
  • Affordable cost: Given their smaller size and compactness, bassinets are budget-friendly and help you offer your newborn a comfortable sleeping experience. Materials used in bassinets are lightweight, thereby reducing the cost of the product.
  • Add-on features: Along with the cost advantage, new parents can also find suitable accommodation for the newborn in a bassinet due to its various add-on features. A bassinet has features, such as a detachable system for storage and a hood to cover a newborn from extreme heat or direct sunlight.

Drawbacks of a bassinet

In addition to the advantages, the bassinet has its disadvantages. Take a quick look at some things that may not fit your newborn as planned.

  • Weight limit: A bassinet usually features a standard size, which may cause weight and developmental limitations for babies of a certain age. Depending on the newborn’s weight change during the first few months, he/she may grow beyond the bassinet, thus making the bassinet too small to use.
  • Shorter life span: A bassinet is often designed to support newborns up to four months, meaning they may not serve their purpose for a very long time. Once your young one outgrows the weight limitations, it would ultimately be rendered useless, prompting you to look for an alternative.
  • Less cost-effective: The limited cost-effectiveness of a bassinet stems from its limited shelf-life, making it unsuitable for parents looking for long-term accommodation for their little one.

The drawbacks of a bassinet may prompt parents to explore and switch to new accommodation, mostly a crib.

What Is A Crib?

A crib can be described as a movable or non-movable accommodation for children up to three years old. The crib will be accompanied by wooden or metallic frames, which serve as a safety wall. Some cribs are also designed with a feature to rock an infant to sleep without the need for parents to rock the crib manually.

Cribs are usually immovable, but there are some exceptions. Some cribs are designed to move from room to room to the greatest extent so that new parents can comfortably raise their children. Cribs are mostly heavier than bassinets and traditionally made of hardwood. Today, you can also see cribs made of plastic or aluminum.

Types Of Crib

Cribs can have many types and designs, which can meet the various accommodation requirements new parents seek for their babies. Although there may be many types of cribs, depending on their style, size, and shape, the following are the most prominent types.

1. Traditional crib

It is best known as standard cribs, and you might have come across them when visiting your friends or family. It is rectangular in shape and often made of hardwood.

Traditional cribs are convertible and often lack additional flexibility. Nevertheless, the basic design and affordable cost make it one of the best crib choices for new parents.

2. Mini-crib

A mini-crib is fairly smaller in size than a traditional one, albeit rectangular-shaped. A mini-crib is suitable for a smaller space while offering sufficient movement to your young one. If you are looking for comfortable infant accommodation, then a mini-crib may be the right fit.

3. Convertible crib

Although the original shape is rectangular, the convertible crib can always be resized, and when your child’s size exceeds its initial size, it can be used as a bed for your child. However, due to its flexibility of use, the service life of a convertible crib is usually longer than that of another crib. Although its price may be higher than that of a traditional crib, the extended utility makes it worth the investment.

4. Round crib

The circular shape allows young children to move and play comfortably while ensuring there are no sharp edges to scratch the baby. Its unique, recognizable design and style also make it a bit more expensive than all other cribs.

Pros And Cons Of A Crib

While there may be one too many crib types you can lay your hands on, they also come with their sets of advantages and disadvantages (2).

Pros of a crib

The following pointers highlight the benefits that investing in a crib brings for the newborn and parents.

  • Convertible: Convertibility is perhaps the most preferred specification as it extends the crib’s utility to multi-functional use. Once your newborn has reached the infant stage, you can reshape this crib into a bed for better accommodation and space.
  • Lower investment cost: Cribs usually involve low investment, making them affordable and economical, especially when considering their long-term utility. If the parents have immediate plans to have more children, then such a crib can be worthwhile.
  • Attachable toys: Cribs often provide spaces for attachable toys. A crib can help parents keep their little ones engaged while they can attend to their daily chores. They can also help babies stay active when they are awake.

Cons of a crib

Parents must take care to give a go-through to a crib’s disadvantages to balance out and match their newborn’s accommodation requirements.

  • Large size: Cribs are usually large and require a lot of space. Therefore, if you plan to accommodate your baby in a small space, a crib may not meet your requirements.
  • Difficult to move: Considering their large size, they also have mobility obstacles, that is, depending on their shape and size, they may not be convenient to move around.
  • Higher immediate cost: Baby cribs usually have high immediate costs. For example, you need to make a one-time investment to purchase them initially. In case you don’t have enough funds during the first few years of childcare, this may become an obstacle.

Now, let’s take a look at the key points of difference, which can help new parents understand the utility, comfort, and quality of bassinets and cribs.

What Are The Differences Between Bassinets And Cribs?

Before choosing between a bassinet and a crib, you may want to consider the following points.

1. Size, comfort, and mobility

  • Bassinet: The bassinet is small in size and light in weight, and is carefully designed to provide portability and handling convenience while ensuring a safe shelter for the baby.
  • Crib: A crib has a bulky build. Its framework is designed to offer convenient accommodation and sufficient space for toddlers while they are growing up. However, they are not portable and offer low-to-no mobility.

2. Safety of use

  • Bassinet: As an infant accommodation, a bassinet offers safe space for newborns till they grow up. Post that, they come with the risk of tipping over.
  • Crib: These accommodating spaces come with inbuilt protection from tipping over. In addition, it can prevent young children from escaping or turning over, so that they can sleep peacefully without falling.

3. Durability

  • Bassinet: Bassinets because of their short life span with a baby are typically durable, but financially may not make sense in every situation.
  • Crib: Cribs serve the purpose of accommodating toddlers just right until they are grown enough to walk or escape. Convertible cribs can only make the accommodation environment more durable because they provide comfort and space for babies. Therefore, you can rest assured until your newborn reaches about three years of age.

4. Cost

  • Bassinet: These accommodations, due to their lightweight build and small size, often turn out to be less expensive than cribs.
  • Crib: Although the initial investment for cribs may be high, they are also cost-effective in the long run because of their long-lasting design and build.

5. Style of parenting

  • Bassinet: A bassinet can be a more suitable accommodation and offer portability in case parents are often on the move and need to carry their newborn along. Bassinets could also offer an opportunity to develop a close bonding between the infant and parents.
  • Crib: Cribs can be a good fit for parents looking forward to taking care of their newborn at a single place safely without the need for moving frequently.
    These points could provide essential help when deciding between a crib and a bassinet for newborns.

Bassinet vs. Crib: Which Is The Best Accommodation?

The choice between a bassinet and a crib can be a tough one. Choosing the best accommodation for your infant should be based on safety, comfort, and convenience of movement. Given below are the top three considerations you must make for the right selection (3).

1. Baby’s size and development

A bassinet is a suitable choice for your newborn due to its portability and comfort. If your baby is prone to scooting or rolling over or is outgrowing in terms of weight, a crib might just be the right kind of accommodation to look for.

Conversely, newborns like small confined spaces, since that is what they are used to. Therefore, a bassinet can help newborns and preemies feel more comfortable.

2. Expense

Cost is an important factor to consider when buying a crib or a bassinet. A bassinet can be expensive due to its limited period of use.

Further, if purchasing both a bassinet and a crib to suit different stages of your newborn’s growth seems economically feasible, you can very well treat your bundle of joy with the best comfort and convenience.

3. Space

The size of the baby’s accommodation determines the space it occupies in the room. Bassinet tends to take less space, while cribs have a larger footprint. You could consider portable cribs that are resizable to fit the available space or for co-sleeping.

You may want to consider some other essential factors when buying a bassinet or a crib.

  • Stability of the crib or bassinet that suitably supports free movement of your newborn.
  • Freestanding structure that does not come aided with any sleeping device, which would otherwise turn out to be more harmful to your child than otherwise.
  • Mattress size and fit in case of a crib so that its dimensions fit the crib’s base suitably and do not allow for any loose edges that might be hurtful to a toddler’s tender skin. Also, it should be firm and breathable.

The long-drawn battle of bassinet vs. crib is never-ending as the truth is that it depends on the baby’s personal preference. Some may feel more comforted in cribs, whereas others like to have the bassinet. However, to make the right choice, ensure that the structure you decide to buy is sturdy and stable enough to keep the baby safe inside it. Also, remember to look for a durable option.

Key Pointers

  • A bassinet is a carrier that can accommodate a child up to four months, while a crib is an accommodation for a child up to three years.
  • Parents prefer bassinets because of their benefits, such as portability, affordability, and more.
  • Cribs are useful because they can be converted to a bed and have space for attachable toys. More details and tips as you scroll down.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Full-Size Baby Cribs Business Guidance & Small Entity Compliance Guide; United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
2. Safe Sleep – Cribs and Infant Products Information Center; United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
3. Safe Sleep and Your Baby: How Parents Can Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Suffocation; American Academy of Pediatrics
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Jennifer Renee Chu

Jenn Chu is the owner and operator of Little Ones Welcome in San Francisco. She offers services in her private practice, and virtually. Her focus is on the health and wellbeing of the individual. She specializes in women's care with an emphasis on conception, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and pediatric support. Jenn took her graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from... more

Dr. Ritika Shah

Dr. Ritika Shah is a dental surgeon with more than seven years of clinical experience across various cities in India. During her clinical practice, pediatric dentistry was her particular area of interest, and she constantly thrived to inculcate the latest advancements in the field of dentistry into her practice. She also holds a certificate in lactation counselling from iNational Health... more