There is something very appealing about the beautiful woven material and general shape of a moses basket. They are lightweight and usually include a handle for carrying, making them excellent for carrying from one room to another whilst your baby sleeps. But the question ‘are moses baskets safe?’ is a very important one for new parents. The answer is that your little one can safely sleep in a moses basket as long as you take certain precautions and follow the manufacturer advice included with them.
How do I use a moses basket safely?
The first thing to consider is that the safest way for your baby to sleep is on his/her back on a firm surface. It can be tempting to think soft bedding is more comfortable, but it can actually pose a suffocation risk for newborns.
Place a firm mattress on the bottom of your moses basket. It must fit tightly to the sides, bearing in mind that the woven material of a moses basket has more give than a harder material. If you are able to insert two fingers easily between the mattress and the wall of the basket, there is too much space and there could be a risk of suffocation. Moses baskets are usually sold with a mattress and fitted sheet.
With regards to bedding, your little one does not need a pillow and should not be given one. A warm sleeping bag is safer than a blanket in the basket.
How strict are the weight limits?
With the material they are made from (strong wicker or maize), moses baskets are not designed to hold the weight of an older baby. There will be a specific weight limit included by the manufacturer of your moses basket and you should stick to it.
When your baby gets a little bigger, his or her weight could weaken the material and even cause it to break. If this happens whilst you are carrying the basket, or while it is on a stand, there could be a nasty fall onto the ground. Stop using the moses basket when one of the following happens:
Baby reaches the weight limit
Baby learns to roll over
Baby reaches 4 months old
Are moses baskets safe to use overnight?
It is not recommended to use a moses basket as a bed for your baby overnight. The main reason for this is that you will fall asleep too, and you won’t be able to watch baby at all times.
It is also not advised to place the moses basket inside the crib when your baby sleeps at night. If baby were to roll out of the basket, the bedding in the crib could pose a suffocation risk. Loose bedding is a common cause of suffocation for babies in cribs, so you must always be vigilant.
Where should I place the moses basket?
It can be tempting to put the moses basket on a countertop or table to keep baby out of the reach of pets and/or other children. This is dangerous, however, because baby could roll the basket off the surface and tumble onto the floor. The fact that moses baskets are so lightweight makes rolling out of them a risk.
Before buying a moses basket, you should confirm that the handles are long enough for you to comfortably carry it with one hand. Some people say it is a bad idea to carry any moses basket while baby is inside because there is a risk of dropping it, or even a weakened handle breaking off. If this is a concern for you, you should always move from room to room carrying the basket and baby separately.
Moses basket stands are available if you don’t wish to always put your moses basket on the floor. They are usually made of wood and designed to fold away for easy storage. Some even include a rocking function to help soothe your baby to sleep. If you get a stand, check that it is sturdy and review it regularly to ensure there is no risk of it breaking. Once the moses basket is in the stand, it should not be possible for baby to roll the basket over like they might on a flat surface.
What are the pros and cons of moses baskets?
They are light and convenient for storage
The handles make them easy to manoeuvre
They can sit on the floor or be placed in a stand
They keep a young baby cosy and snug
The breathable fabric and hood keep baby cool and shaded
They are cheap
They can only be used until baby is 3-4 months old
Moses baskets with short handles are difficult to carry
They are non-essential and you will need a crib/cot bed sooner or later
What are the general rules for safe sleep with babies?
1. Babies are safest sleeping on their backs, so you should not place them on their front or side.
2. Baby bedding should be tucked in and never come up higher than baby’s shoulders.
3. You should aim to maintain a room temperature of 16-20ºC for baby. A room thermometer is a useful piece of low-cost equipment.
The bottom line
Moses baskets are adorable and comfortable for newborns to have a snooze in. But are moses baskets safe? For the most part, yes, as long as you take the necessary precautions with them. However, they are not recommended for overnight sleep because of the risks that come with you being unable to keep a watchful eye over them.
At For Your Little One, we have a wide range of beautiful moses baskets with various accessories to choose from. If you have any further questions about our products or moses baskets in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.