Medically Reviewed By:- Dr. Karishma Bhatia & Fact Checked By:- Payal Mamotra

Key Takeaways:

Inclined bassinets are not considered safe for infants due to the increased risk of SIDS. The incline can lead to babies rolling into unsafe positions, compromising their airways and posing significant hazards to their safety. It’s recommended to use bassinets on flat, stable surfaces following manufacturer guidelines for infant sleep safety.

Are Inclined Bassinets Safe for Infant

When the incline bassinet came on the market, parents started loving it because they believed it comforted the infants and helped to reduce acid reflux.

And also believes that it helps them to sleep faster as compared to the traditional bassinet and is considered safe,

Then, what happens now? What makes it dangerous for babies to sleep on an incline bassinet?

Why do paediatricians recommend stopping using it, and why did the manufacturer recall more than 165,000 incline bassinets from the market?

To understand this, we must have to understand the actual cause behind the death of infants when infants sleep on the inclined plane.

In 2018, A parent in New York filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission after a 6-month-old rolled over while sleeping in a Fisher-Price Rock n Play and died.

At that time, CPSC only knew (or concluded that) babies could sometimes roll in the incline bassinet and face a risk of suffocation.

On May 31, 2018, CPSC released a note ( CPSC website ) that encouraged parents to use restraints that hold the baby in a single position for their safety when using an incline bassinet.

CPSC is aware of infant deaths associated with inclined sleep products. Babies have died after rolling over in these sleep products. CPSC, therefore, urges consumers: Always use restraints and stop using these products as soon as an infant can rollover.

There’s no exact age limit on when your baby will start rolling in a bassinet by himself. My son didn’t start rolling over until he was almost seven months old!

No, there wasn’t anything wrong. He was just a bit lazy! BTW, keep in mind that it sometimes takes longer for a preemie to roll over.

For this purpose, CPSC hired Erin Mannen, Ph.D., a mechanical engineer specializing in biomechanics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, to figure out its cause, and she found it.

We found evidence that some of the deaths linked to these products occurred when babies who were placed on their backs to sleep rolled over — many for the first time — and were found dead on their stomachs.

baby rolling in bassinet

So, the study proves that an incline bassinet is unsafe for babies to sleep in. But the thing that makes it dangerous is its incline position; how?

It’s straightforward for the baby to roll over in an inclined sleeper, but it’s tough for them to roll back; this thing causes death due to suffocation.

We found evidence to suggest that this inclined position on a non-rigid surface may make it easier for babies to roll over but harder for them to roll back,

She examined not just one bassinet but all the incline bassinets, such as incline bassinet mattresses, Incline pillows, incline wedges, or other products unsafe for the baby to sleep.

Later on, on October 31, 2019, CPSC released a NEWS and warned/strongly recommended that parents stop using incline sleepers for baby safety.

For example, the most popular ones are the Fisher-Price Rock’ n Play Sleeper, the Kids II Rocking Sleeper, the Eddie Bauer Slumber and Soothe Rock Bassinet; you can check the updated recall list of all the brands here.

So, all the evidence suggests an inclined bassinet is not safe for infants to sleep in. People are still using it, but how? Let’s check this, too.

Can Newborns Sleep on an Incline? Is it Safe?

A newborn can sleep on an inclined sleeper until the sleeping angle is no more than 10 degrees, as per the new study conducted by Erin Mannen at UMAS. However, ensure the baby sleeps on flat, rigid surfaces per the safety guidelines.

Mannen and her team suggested that the incline angle on such products is no more than 10 degrees. The lying surface should be flat and rigid (rather than soft and plush-like).

Keep in mind no more than 10 degrees.

Note:- Generally, babies start rolling once they reach between 4 to 6 months. So, stop using it, and move newborns from bassinet to crib for safe sleep.

How To Elevate Bassinet For Reflux Safely?

Parents still use an incline bassinet because it helps infants reduce acid reflux. Still, no substantial evidence shows that incline bassinet can help reduce acid reflux.

It has no effect on reflux in infants and also risks the infant sliding into an unsafe sleep position,” says Dr Segura

How To Safely Incline a Bassinet not more than 10 degree

Parents do this because they observe in the hospital setting, which may have been clinically appropriate for that environment.

To promote good development, a newborn needs to sleep 16 hours daily, usually 3 to 4 hours in one period.

But you need to make sure they are sleeping in the correct position to lower the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

To safely incline the bassinet,

  1. Remove all the stuff like loose sheets, toys, etc.
  2. Incline* your bassinet as your infants need, but not more than 8-10 degrees to be safe.
  3. And make sure the incline sleeping surface remains flat.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission already asserts that bassinets, cribs, and plays are safe for sleeping because they meet the safety standards and manufacturers follow safety guidelines.

But, to be extra safe, always follow the ABC rule for safe sleeping that the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development agree on;

  1. A is for Alone
  2. B is for on the Back
  3. C is for in a Crib

If you want to try a safe incline bassinet, check this list of incline bassinets for reflux

Newborn Sleep Incline Vs Flat? Which One is Better

Do Babies Sleep Better Flat Or Inclined? Well, partially, yes. Sleeping in an inclined place is risky if you do it incorrectly. On the other hand, flat sleeping is recommended by all paediatricians as well as by APP to eliminate the risk of SIDS and suffocation.

Now, it depends upon your choice of which one you offer to your infants.

Check this video: Right way for baby to sleep.

If you want to learn more about bassinets, check out the informative guide.

  1. How To Get Newborn To Sleep in Bassinet?
  2. How Long Can Babies Sleep In Pack n Play?
  3. How to Make a Bassinet More Comfortable?

Now, it’s your turn. Let me know how you like our guide, “Are Inclined Bassinets Safe.”

Frequently Asked Questions

1.) Why Are Hospital Bassinets Angled?

Hospital bassinets are often angled to assist with drainage, especially for babies who may have respiratory issues or excess mucus. The slight angle helps prevent fluids from pooling in the baby’s airways, facilitating easier breathing.

2.) Why Can’t Babies Sleep With Head Elevated?

Babies shouldn’t sleep with their heads elevated because it can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and suffocation. Elevating the head can cause the baby’s chin to fall forward onto their chest, potentially obstructing their airway.

3.) Is It Safe To Prop Up Bassinet?

Propping up a bassinet can be unsafe for infants, increasing the risk of suffocation and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Follow manufacturer guidelines and avoid modifications unless advised by a healthcare professional for medical reasons.

4.) Can You Put a Bassinet on an Angle?

Placing a bassinet on an angle is not recommended as it can pose suffocation hazards and increase the risk of SIDS. Always use bassinets on flat, stable surfaces as per manufacturer instructions to ensure infant safety.

5.) Is It safe To Use a Bassinet Wedge?

Using a bassinet wedge can be unsafe, potentially leading to an inclined sleeping surface and increasing the risk of the baby sliding into an unsafe position or experiencing breathing difficulties. Consult a pediatrician before using any sleep accessories in a bassinet.

6.) Is it Safe to Incline Next to me Crib?

Inclining a next-to-me crib may pose similar risks as inclining a traditional bassinet, including the potential for the baby to roll into an unsafe position and increase the risk of suffocation or SIDS. Follow manufacturer instructions carefully to ensure a flat and stable sleeping surface for the infant’s safety.

Now, its your turn. Let me know, are you planning to incline the bassinet or something else? Drop your valuable comment below to help other moms like you to make quick decisions.

Remember to share the article because sharing is caring!


Harvinder Singh

Harvinder Singh

Senior Content Writer

Harvinder Singh is an engineer & certified project manager who founded Getforbaby to assist parents with their newborns. He inspired by his experiences with his nephews, Harvinder aims to simplify parenting by sharing his knowledge. Read More

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