Bassinet use and sudden unexpected death in infancy

J Pediatr. 2008 Oct;153(4):509-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.04.052. Epub 2008 Jun 25.


Objective: To analyze risk factors in infants who die suddenly and unexpectedly in bassinets.

Study design: A retrospective review of all deaths of infants involving bassinets reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) between 1990 and 2004.

Results: For the 53 deaths analyzed, the mean age at death was 84 days. The cause of death was recorded as anoxia, asphyxiation, or suffocation in 85% and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in 9.4%. In terms of position, 37% were placed prone for sleep, and 50% were prone when found dead. Additional items in the bassinet, including soft bedding, were noted in 74% of cases. Specific mechanical problems with the bassinets were noted in 17% of cases.

Conclusions: The risk of sudden unexpected death in infants who sleep in bassinets can be reduced by following American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, including positioning infants supine and avoiding soft bedding in bassinets. In addition, parents must ensure that the bassinet is mechanically sound and that no objects that can lead to suffocation are in or near the bassinet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bedding and Linens
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prone Position
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / epidemiology*
  • Sudden Infant Death / ethnology
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control
  • Supine Position