Are Vibrating Bassinets Safe for Newborns?

Some of the cleverest new products to hit the baby market are vibrating bassinets. The brainchild of California pediatrician Harvey Karp, his original vibrating bassinet with the quirky name “Snoo” took five years to develop.

Dr. Karp worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers to produce the first prototype. Since then, the idea has moved from high-priced designer bassinet to new versions that have (thankfully, say parents) become more affordable, thanks to demand and competition.

But, are vibrating bassinets safe for newborns?

No manufacturer wants to make a product that winds up subject to recalls or malfunctions that present a danger to users, and when infants are factored into the equation, due diligence ups the ante.

Both Umakanth Khatwa, director of sleep laboratories at Children's Hospital Boston and Wendy Middlemiss, University of North Texas child psychologist, have positive things to say about vibrating bassinets and so do their contemporaries.

Vibrating bassinets are safe because fabrication and design focused around the metal plate that drives the action is safely ensconced beneath the unit’s mattress so there’s no danger of baby coming into contact with the electromagnetic radiation that powers the unit.

Further, interior bassinet gaps won’t catch errant fingers and toes, even when baby is restless. That stated, parents are always urged to be vigilant about product recalls. Bookmark this Parents.com web page and use it for future reference so you are able to grab as much sleep as you can between now and when baby finally sleeps all night on his own: https://www.parents.com/product-recalls/.

5 Products you may wish to consider

It’s important to ask the question, are vibrating bassinets safe for newborns? But it is equally important to enjoy your new baby without worrying at every turn whether or not something can happen if you don’t apply due diligence to choosing baby products. The following 5 suggestions make a great starting point because a wide range of features and prices can help you figure out exactly what you're looking for.

1. HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Premiere Series Bassinet

It’s new to the market but this “bassinest” checks off all the right boxes. You can lower the side walls; it rotates and swivels 360-degrees to make getting baby in and out of her cocoon a breeze and the 4-point stable base is adjustable so she will be easy to reach.

The company’s signature “soothing center” consists of a nightlight, 3 lullaby choices, 3 ambient sounds known to relax and comfort, a “back-to-bed” reminder and vibration.

Importantly, there’s a 30-minute auto shutoff in case you fall asleep before baby does. The unit comes with a polyester sheet and 2 storage pockets for baby supplies.

2. Graco Dream Suite Bassinet

This bassinet has no shortage of features. Serving as a bassinet and diaper changer, baby is treated to two vibration speeds, and if you’re like most intuitive parents, you’ll figure out which one he likes best fairly quickly.

To stabilize this unit, there are 4 locking wheels so moving this bassinet is as easy as releasing them to move the unit. Unlike the aforementioned HALO, this product features a shade canopy and dangling plush stars guaranteed to get your little one’s attention as soon as he can focus his eyes on them.

This affordable Graco bassinet is powered by a 1D battery (not included). Long after you transfer baby from bassinet to crib, you can still use this product as your diaper changer—just as long as your “little one” doesn’t tip the scales at over 30-pounds!

3. Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Bassinet

If you were scared away from Fisher-Price products after the recall of the company’s Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yards inclined sleeper accessory, this bassinet is a reassuring new item that the company is proud to market because it has been rigorously tested and found safe.

Baby responds to the calming, gentle sway and you can switch between dual-mode lighting (the light unit is removable) that ranges from projection strength to nightlight dim. The flat sleeping surface follows pediatrician guidelines and the hanging mobile will entertain him until his tummy or a full diaper signal it’s time to get the attention of the grownups in the room.

Get 30 minutes of vibration, sounds and music plus an optional lock-out feature that mediates swaying rate.

4. Summer Infant Soothe and Vibe Portable Soother

The first thing you’ll notice about this vibrating bassinet is that it’s not a bassinet. Instead, this cleverly-designed, independent vibration unit that can be fastened to baby’s bassinet, carriage, crib, stroller—anywhere you choose.

The hook and loop or retractable clips are crafted to wrap around myriad stable posts and once controls are activated, your child gets 20 minutes of songs and sounds (white noise, lullaby and heart beats) that are programmed to send her off to the Land of Nod expeditiously.

There is an automatic shut-off that offers safety reassurances and you can adjust the volume and alter vibration speeds, customizing your delivery of soothing sounds without hogging lots of floor space if you live in a small place.

Lightweight and lead free, the vibrator runs on 3 Lithium batteries (not included) but once installed, it keeps going for 30 hours—-time enough for you to grab a nap, too. You won't have to tap baby's college fund, either. 

5. Halo Snoozypod Vibrating Bedtime Soother

If you like the idea of owning an independent vibrating product that can be attached to any furnishing your child calls a bed, this Halo product is pricier than the aforementioned Summer Soother.

Vibration runs 30 minutes and there are two levels so you can adjust the intensity to suit your baby's mood. In addition to your choice of a heartbeat and white noise, treat baby to the sounds of a soothing stream and rain forest. Both are so relaxing, your sleep could be improved, too.

You’ll like the fact that this product easily transitions from crib to toddler/twin platform bed (as long as there is no box spring). If you’ve got a platform bed, you won't be the first parent to transfer the soother once baby sleeps all night!

Here’s where the price difference arises: This unit is Bluetooth enabled so if you’re in the den and are too weary to move, activate the motion feature via your Apple or Android device. You will have to update the app, but you may not care once you learn that this unit also delivers a starry-sky ceiling thanks to LED light that is just bright enough to illuminate those stars.

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