Does a bassinet need a mattress?

Yes, a bassinet needs a mattress, but not just any one!

Baby Bassinet

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Bassinet Mattress Guide

Do you need a mattress for a baby bassinet?

First-time parents probably wonder if they even need a bassinet, let alone if they have to buy a bassinet mattress too.

Being smaller than a traditional crib makes infants outgrow the bassinet much faster. Yet, a baby bassinet finds its way into many homes. I can understand why. A baby bassinet is a convenient piece of baby equipment with excellent soothing and space-saving ability.

Moving on to the mattress, yes, your bassinet needs one! But you don’t need to buy it! Baby bassinets typically already come with the mattress! So, if your bassinet is brand new, you are good to go!

Do bassinets come with the mattress?

Baby bassinets sold today must correspond to federal safety standard, which also includes requirements for their mattresses. The most important one for our topic is the one that requires an included bassinet mattress.

Such mattresses undergo rigorous testing to be a proper fit for their baby bassinet! First by the manufacturer, then by a third-party CPSC-approved laboratory. As such, they are the best and safest option!

So, if you buy a new baby bassinet, you do not have to purchase the mattress separately!

Does A Bassinet Need A Mattress?
Characteristics of a bassinet mattress

What is the best mattress for a bassinet?

The best mattress for a baby bassinet is the one that comes with it.

A proper bassinet mattress must be made of non-toxic materials, fit snuggly in the unit, shouldn’t be too thick or warp, and must have a firm surface!

Mattress’s Thickness:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a bassinet mattress no more than one and a half inches thick. That might sound too thin to an adult, but it’s crucial for a baby’s safety. Let’s see why.

Reasons for relatively thin bassinet mattress:

Reason 1: A thin bassinet mattress is more airy and breathable.

Reason 2: Most bassinets have soft mesh sides that do not offer as much resistance as rigid sides of the crib. As such, they could bend under the baby’s weight if she rolls to the mattress’s edge. The baby may wedge between the mattress’s and the bassinet’s sides, which poses the risk of injuries and even suffocation.

Reason 3: Although rarer, there are also bassinets with solid sides. A thicker mattress in a rigid-sided bassinet poses a higher risk of babies falling out when a baby rolls to one side and the product tilts.

Do not buy additional padding or mattress to stack for extra comfort. There should be only one single mattress in the bassinet!

Fitting in the bassinet:

The mattress should fit snuggly in the bassinet.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissionthere should be no gaps larger than two fingers between the mattress and the bassinet sides.

Mattress’s Firmness:

A firm bassinet mattress is crucial for your child’s safety.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a firm sleeping surface minimizes the risk of suffocation and thus reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Its firmness also contributes to a better baby’s bone and muscle development.


The best baby mattresses are breathable and made of non-toxic materials.

Why do parents think they need a new mattress for the bassinet?

Many parents are unaware that only a flat and firm sleeping surface is safe for the baby! While they usually understand why the sleeping surface must be flat, they are often confused by its firmness.

They feel it is too firm and therefore uncomfortable for their baby.

I know they only want the best for their child, but a soft sleeping surface is dangerous for babies!

If the baby somehow ends up on a belly, her face might sink into the soft mattress’s surface. As young infants cannot lift their heads yet, this could lead to suffocation.

Many also feel that the mattress is too thin to be comfortable for their baby. For the reasons I have already described above, the bed bassinet mattress should not be thicker either.


  • A baby bassinet does need a mattress, but they typically come with one, so you don’t need to buy it.
  • Using the mattress provided with your bassinet is the best and safest option for your baby!
  • The bassinet’s mattress is designed flat and firm to ensure your baby’s maximum safety!
  • A flat and firm surface reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom) and contributes to better bone and muscle development!

However, there may be situations when you might find it necessary to buy a new bassinet mattress.

When is better to buy a new bassinet mattress?

Maybe you already have a bassinet from a previous baby. While the bassinet is still in good condition, that might not be the case for its mattress. Rather than investing in a brand new bassinet, it might make more sense if you only swap the mattress.

However, it is essential you order a replacement directly through the manufacturer of your bassinet! Please do not use any third-party bassinet mattresses, as they are not certified to be safe!

Reasons to think about a new mattress pad:

The bassinet’s mattress is might worn-out, damaged, warped, or dirty from split-ups and diaper blow-outs.

A damaged or warped mattress may no longer fit properly, causing gaps between its edges and the bassinet’s sides. A Baby’s arms, legs, or head can get caught in the gaps, leading to injury.

A worn-out mattress may no longer provide sufficient firmness, raising the risk of suffocation as the baby’s head can sink into the soft surface.

If you bought a second-hand bassinet, you do not know how well the mattress was cared for, so you can not know what is happening in its core (mold, mildew, bacteria formation).

Other safety precautions regarding the bassinet’s sleeping surface:

  1. Use only properly fitted sheets
  2. Do not use any loose bedding, blankets, or sheep skin
  3. Pillows or sleep positioners are not appropriate for use in the bassinet
  4. Do not put soft toys in the bassinet
  5. Do not add extra padding

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