A Moses basket is a portable basket that allows a parent to put her baby inside and then easily move the baby around as she does chores or other household tasks. Many parents rely on Moses baskets so they can keep an eye on their sleeping baby while getting things done, but it's crucial to consider the safety components of these baskets before using one. When used properly, a Moses basket can be a safe addition to your baby-care routine, but it should never be used when the baby is unsupervised.
Placement and Location
One of the primary hazards associated with Moses baskets is the risk of falling. Many parents snuggle their baby into the Moses basket and then place it on a bed, table or the kitchen counter. While this may keep pets and curious siblings away from the sleeping baby, it also increases the risk that your baby could wake up, move around a bit and fall out of the basket. MayoClinic.com advises that parents never leave a baby unsupervised on surfaces such as a changing table or a bed. Instead, look for a Moses basket that comes with a short stand, which keeps your baby off the floor but also keeps pets and siblings away, too.
Liners and Other Materials
Place a thin receiving blanket as the liner at the bottom of your baby's Moses basket, but stop there. Of course, you can swaddle your baby if that helps her sleep, but avoid plush blankets, pillows and other decorative materials in the basket. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thick blankets, bedding and stuffed animals increase your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. These can also cause your baby to get overheated while she sleeps, which can increase the risk of SIDS as well.
Use caution when moving your baby's Moses basket around. According to 2001 article published in the journal "BMJ," three babies were injured in 2000 when the handles on a Moses basket malfunctioned and the baby fell out. In two of these cases, the baby suffered skull fractures. If you use the handles to move your Moses basket, also place your hand and arm underneath the basket in case the handles break. Only use Moses baskets that are in good condition. Inspect the handles regularly to be sure they aren't fraying or coming detached from the basket.
Age and Weight
Falls and other injuries are more likely if you continue using your Moses basket after your baby has outgrown it. Heather Maclean, author of "The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide," reports that Moses baskets should only be used for the first two or three months of your baby's life. Once your baby can roll over on his own, he shouldn't sleep in a Moses basket anymore. Check the weight limit on your baby's Moses basket, too. Many baskets are only recommended for babies who weigh 15 pounds or less. If your baby is too heavy for the basket, that increases the risk that it could break and he could tumble out.