Difference between a Bassinet and a Crib

Updated on February 24, 2018

It may seem that cribs and bassinets are synonymous terms but they are, in fact, very different. This article will aid new parents in choosing where their new baby will sleep.



In general, a bassinet is a basket-like structure specifically designed for babies from birth to around four months or so. Typically, bassinets are on free standing legs, often with casters.  These allow the resting baby to be carried from place to place. In homes, bassinets are often raised on a stand or other surface, reducing back strain when bending over to tend the baby. Wheeled frames are commonly used to convert a bassinet into a pram or baby carriage.

Bassinets are meant to be light and portable although there are sturdier but less portable types. Some parents prefer bassinets that are designed to rock or swing freely, finding that their child is calmed by this motion.

Some advantages of a bassinet include:

  • More comfortable for tiny babies as they are snug.
  • Takes up little space.
  • Generally cheaper than a crib.
  • Easy to move around: portable and light.
  • Ease of use having shorter sides.
  • Makes co-sleeping easier.

When babies have reached three to four months of age, they are usually able to roll over by themselves and could tip the bassinet over. At this time, they have out-grown the bassinet and should use a crib for safety.


A crib is used when it is no longer safe to leave the baby in the bassinet, although some parents choose to use a crib from the baby’s infancy. Cribs have a lower center of gravity, more mass, a broader base of support, and can hold a larger and heavier baby than a bassinet.

Cribs are especially designed for infants and very young children capable of standing. The cage-like design restricts the child to the crib, having sides that are too high to climb and providing no footholds.

Cribs can be stationary or portable. In their portable form they don’t usually feature a drop-side, emphasizing the portability factors. Often, portable cribs are made of plastics, are smaller, and fold into a compact package. They have breathable mesh sides rather than bars, the mesh having an aperture too small for any finger to fit into.

Becoming increasingly popular are cribs that can be converted into a standard sized bed. By removing both sides, the crib becomes a toddler bed, or removing just one side turns it into a daybed. This type of crib lengthens the useful life of the furniture.

The advantages of a crib include:

  • A child will likely be able to use it for several years
  • Twins can use a crib
  • Even when a bassinet is used when the baby is very young, a crib would still be essential later on

Bassinet vs Crib

What is the difference between a bassinet and a crib? The main differences would be their size, cost, portability and length of usability.

Both bassinet and crib are safe for babies to sleep in as long as they are manufactured according to set regulations, and are used with proper bedding and according to correct capacity. However, bassinets can be used only during the first few months of the child’s life and a crib will still be essential. On the other hand, using a bassinet for a newborn can be advantageous to both baby and carer, primarily because of the portability and ease of use it offers.

The choice between a bassinet or crib depends on the personal preference of parents and babies.

Comparison Chart

Usually less expensive (depending on type, quality and brand)Usually more expensive (depending on type, quality and brand)
Compact and lightLarger and heavier
PortableStationary (generally)
Good for baby’s first few monthsCan often be converted into a toddler bed after the baby has outgrown it after 2 years or so
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