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Hands-on Gear Review
BabyBjörn Cradle Review
Price: $350 List | $279.96 from Amazon - 20% Off
Pros: Full 360 degree mesh siding, chic, lightweight, comfortable, quality
Cons: Expensive, vibration plus or minus depending on baby, not easily portable
Bottom line: Lightweight, easy-to-use, shines in quality fabrics and safe sleep environment
All around impressive, the BabyBjörn Cradle out-performed the competitors and landed the coveted title of Editors' Choice in the bassinet category. It exceeded every other product we rated, due to its sleek design, incredible attention to safety, and use of high-quality materials. While every unit we rated was designed with slightly different intentions, (such as our Top Pick HALO Swivel Sleeper which is great for mothers recovering from a C-Section), based on our tests, it was clear that this is the best for overall use; it is lightweight, provides a safe sleep environment for your baby, and it is easy to clean. Read on to see how it performed in our tests and why we gave it top honors.
RELATED: Our complete review of bassinets
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
A family-owned Swedish company, BabyBjörn has been designing high-quality original and safe products for young children, since 1961. Their products can now be found around the world, and include a variety of items, all engineered with the core principles of safety, quality, and style in mind. BabyGearLab found that they do a great job living up to these standards, which is why this product was the obvious choice for our Editors' Choice Award, and why we think you will like it as much as we did!
We found the Björn to be the meeting point where safety converges with comfort and elegance for your most precious new addition. At first glance, it appears to be plain and simple, but a closer look and some explanation of the finer details reveals how intricately this cradle was engineered, surpassing national safety standards with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 classification. You can rest assured your little one is protected, all the while snuggled in a small, lightweight, easy to clean product. While we tested several of the top products on the market, we are confident that after reading our review, you will understand why the BabyBjörn outshines the others, and why it might just be the perfect piece of baby gear to help simplify the earliest days with your little bundle.
Health and Safety
BabyGearLab's advice on sleep safety, written by BabyGearLab's CEO and founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier. We considered all of her advice and more when rating this very important section of our review. While all of the bassinets we reviewed meet certain national safety criteria, the BabyBjörn outclasses the others, as it is the only one that meets the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class 1, guaranteeing no harmful substances are used in the manufacturing of any of the fabrics that come into contact with your baby. While most companies apply flame retardants during the production of their products, BabyBjörn went above and beyond to engineer a mattress that by nature is flame resistant, thus uncommonly safer for your newborn. Furthermore, the sheet that is available for purchase with the cradle is made from 100% organic cotton.
Though we were disappointed to learn that the base of the cradle is in fact an MDF board (manufactured wood that is controversial since it emits formaldehyde), it should be noted that BabyBjörn produces an MDF board in compliance with CARB Phase 2, which is the most restricted level of formaldehyde available on the market.
The sides of the cradle are mesh, surrounding the entire circumference, ensuring breathability, should your precious baby's face press up against the side. In-line with the ASTM F2194 standards, the mattress is firm, less than 1 inch in height, and fits snugly and firmly inside the nest of the cradle, with very little space between the mattress and the walls of the bassinet. The base is wide and stable and there is little to no chance that it could tip over, especially if used within the recommended time frame, before your baby is able to sit up on their own. The cradle is made from the highest quality clean fabrics on the market and crafted for stability. What more could you ask for? We certainly found that BabyBjörn outdid themselves in regards to safety.
Ease of Use
Its clever design also causes a gentle vibration when baby moves, allowing your little one to soothe themselves should they wake. It literally appears as though every single detail was designed with your sense of peace-of-mind, and every new parent knows how helpful that is!
Though technically not "portable", the Björn completely collapses with the simple removal of two screws. Transporting the cradle in your car for use at grandma's is definitely doable if need-be. Within your own home however, you don't have to take it apart in order to move it around like some of the others we rated. It is lightweight, easy to lift, and small enough, that keeping your little one close-by wherever you need will not be an issue.
Though several of the others we rated were certainly high quality, this one surpassed the others by meeting several standards, including the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for its fabrics, ASTM F2194 for its mattress, and CARB Phase 2 for the MDF base. Additionally, it complies with several international regulations and has passed all of their tests, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
At first glance, it is clear that it's designed with superior quality; the mesh is thick and sturdy, the base elegant, and the wood smooth and graceful. Not a single detail went unpolished, hence it was easy to rate the it highly in this category. We were pleased to find that unlike some of the others we reviewed, its sleek design does not retract from its structural integrity. The one comment we have in regards to quality is to periodically check that the screws that attatch the frame to the base are tightly screwed in, because it is possible that they could loosen slightly over time.
Ease of Setup
Setting up the BabyBjörn is easy. Simply open the legs all the way and insert the screws into the pre-drilled holes, using an allen wrench to properly tighten the base to the frame. Compared to the others we reviewed, this was one of the easiest set-ups, and the process was entirely intuitive.
While many of the bassinets we reviewed seemed to work better for certain specific situations, the BabyBjörn Cradle truly is the quintessential freestanding cradle, and in our opinion, the overall best on the market for general use. It can be easily transported from room to room, allowing you to make ample use of your entire home, rather than being confined to a single space with your new sleeping baby. The mesh sides allow for you to see in, even if you are peering in from a different room, giving you an added sense of security that your baby is sleeping safely. Additionally, with the simple removal of two screws, it can be collapsed and will easily fit in your car, allowing you to travel overnight with your baby, still having a safe and comfortable place for them to sleep.
This is the most expensive product in this category. $350 may seem like a lot of money to spend on something that may only be used for a few months at most, however at BabyGearLab, we believe a price tag cannot be put on your child's safety. Based on our research, the cleaner, and therefor healthier product is worth the investment, especially if you have more than one child. It's quality and ease-of-use are just added bonuses that complete the package. You can see how it scored on our value chart.
Considering all of the pieces we reviewed in this category, it is no wonder why the BabyBjörn won our Editors' Choice Award. It is the safest choice, produced with the highest quality standards, is easy to use, and it is simply an attractive piece of baby gear to have in your home. You will love watching your baby sleep through the mesh sides, all the while knowing that they are safe and snug as a bug. Now that warrants sweet dreams.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: January 14, 2015
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