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The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sleeping in the same room as your newborn until they are six months to a year old. Yet most families can't fit a full-sized crib into the parents' bedroom. Smaller sleeping spaces like "Moses baskets," cradles, bassinets, and bedside sleepers are available to fit this need. These all stand near or directly attached to the side of the bed. There are also products that fit on the bed, designed to be used above the area with blankets for parents. The AAP says there isn't enough research on bed-side sleepers or in-bed bassinets to say if they are safe. They are intended to create a clear open space for baby, near to sleeping parents, but without the likelihood of roll-overs or bedding interfering with safe sleep. If you can't fit a full crib in your room, one of these options may make sense for you. Keep in mind that they cannot be used safely once a baby can push up on hands and knees.
Just like cribs and mattresses, bedside cradles and bassinets can contain chemicals of concern, including flame retardant chemicals and polyvinyl chloride (PVC, vinyl) in the mattress, and could have additional chemicals added to the mattress pad, including antimicrobials and per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). In addition, some lightweight bassinets are made with PVC tubing. Some can be made with composite board, and therefore could release formaldehyde. Cradles may be made of iron, and older models may have been painted with lead.
Look for products that allow airflow. One of the reasons bumpers are not recommended in cribs is because they could contribute to suffocation. The same is true in smaller sized sleep spaces. Make sure, if you are using a second-hand or family heirloom item, that the slats are less than 2 and 3/8ths inches apart, and that the paints are lead-free.
If you are thinking about costs, you could delay the purchase of a large crib by choosing a bassinet, cradle, or bedside sleeper to use for the first few months as you get to know your baby. However, this means making two purchases. Since the smaller sleep space will only be used for a short period of time, get the most for your money by purchasing a used bassinet/cradle/bedside sleeper (made since 2010), choose one that will convert into something else you know you want (small playard or "read to me" seat), or pick one that will hold its value so you can resell it.
Otherwise, consider products that avoid the chemicals of concern listed above. This will involve asking detailed questions of the retailer, and sometimes you'll need to contact the manufacturer directly.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.
Learn more about the American Academy of Pediatric sleep recommendations.
Photo credit: “I never thought I’d be into co-sleeping but I’ve really loved it!” by Valerie Hinojosa shared under CC licence 2.0.