Why are bassinet mattresses so hard?

Last Updated on September 8, 2022 by Ines

Bassinet mattresses are so hard to increase your baby’s safety!

Baby Bassinet

→ PART 3 ←

Bassinet Mattress Guide

A firm bassinet mattress: Why is it necessary for your baby’s safety?

Mattress’s firmness increases the safety of your baby! It is there for the same reason as the smaller thickness described in the previous part of this Bassinet Mattress Guide.

But there are also other, not-so-obvious reasons why the bassinet’s mattress design is so hard. Understanding them can help you choose the bassinet with the best mattress pad for your baby.


Parents usually visualize soft and comfortable baby beds with plush accessories, soft bumpers, etc. I know they have only the best intentions and want the best for their baby. However, when it comes to baby mattresses, safety and softness do not go exactly hand in hand.

The baby’s safety should always be your priority. And one way to keep your baby safe while sleeping in the bassinet is to ensure the mattress has the right firmness.

If you bought your baby bassinet from a reputable company with all of the proper safety certifications, its mattress is most likely as firm as it should be. What might seem firm and uncomfortable to us adults is actually ideal for a baby’s safety and development.

Why is a firm bassinet mattress so important?

Infants need rigid sleeping support for a couple of important reasons:

  • A firm bassinet mattress reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)! Newborns can not move on their own yet. A soft and squishy sleeping surface with too much give may indent under the baby’s weight obstructing an infant’s airway. Babies cannot turn their head away on their own, which poses a significant risk of suffocation.
  • A firm sleeping surface contributes to better bone and muscle development. The baby’s bones are soft and just beginning to develop. In particular, her spine needs much more support than adults.
  • A firm mattress provides sufficient resistance when a baby gets older, so she can turn, push up, and eventually stand. But this applies more to sleeping surfaces in cribs and Playards. The baby should no longer sleep in the bassinet once she shows signs of pulling up, pushing up, or sitting unassisted!

How to check if your bassinet mattress is hard enough?

Here are a couple of methods you can use to see whether your bassinet’s mattress is firm enough or not:

  • Your bassinet mattress may be too soft if you notice a head indention after your baby lies on it! It shouldn’t conform to the shape of your baby’s head!
  • Press on the mattress with your hand. It should have very little give. A bassinet mattress with enough firmness will also quickly snap back into its initial shape. Your palm should not leave an imprint on it.
  • If you think your bassinet’s mattress is cozy and comfortable, it’s probably too soft for your baby!
Crib mattress home firmness test

Is a firm mattress comfortable for my baby?

Yes, it is! If your baby’s first sleeping surface is firm, she won’t miss the softness of the foamy mattress.

Of course, the bassinet mattress doesn’t have to be hard as a rock. That would be uncomfortable even for a baby who didn’t sleep on a softer surface yet.

Should a bassinet mattress be soft or firm?

The conclusion

A bassinet mattress should be firm!

According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), babies should sleep in a crib, Pack ‘n Play, or bassinet with a firm but comfortable mattress. 

The firm sleeping surface reduces the risk of suffocation, lowering the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrom.

A soft bassinet mattress poses a high safety risk for your baby!

Other things to consider regarding the bassinet’s mattress safety are:

  • Right thickness of the bassinet mattress
  • It must fit snuggly in the bassinet
  • The bassinet mattress must be made only of non-toxic materials
  • Use only tight-fitting sheets
  • The bassinet mattress must be flat
  • Make sure the mattress pad’s surface is smooth

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