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Hands-on Gear Review
HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Review
Price: $250 List | $249.99 from Amazon
Pros: Ideal post C-Section co-sleeper, easy to use, swivel, vibration and music
Cons: Heavy, non-portable, cumbersome wide base
Bottom line: Recommended by bedside for moms after C-Section, however, not easily moved
The HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper is our Top Pick for a mother recovering from a C-Section. It is highly specialized to be used safely from bed, and features many unique components that make it great for this specific use. For example, the 360º swivel feature and retractable bar which allow for easy access to baby, as well as the comfort module which provides an array of additional features such as vibration and soothing music.
RELATED: Our complete review of bassinets
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
HALO began its mission to provide a safer sleep environment for babies over twenty years ago, after founder Bill Schmid and his wife tragically lost their first baby to SIDS. HALO has since been committed to developing products that promote the well-being of babies. They are also known for their HALO Sleepsack wearable blankets which also promote safe sleeping. BabyGearLab founder Dr. Juliet Spurrier wrote an article on sleep safety that highlights important tips, and if you are considering co-sleeping with your infant, it is especially important to be well-versed in this advice.
HALO took an entirely unique approach when designing the Bassinest, and the result is the ideal co-sleeper, especially for a healing mother. Every detail is oriented towards making those first exhausting days of early parenthood a little bit easier from bed, which is why we gave it our Top Pick Award for a mother recovering from a C-Section. Though a highly specialized piece of gear, we did feel that its weight was cumbersome and inhibited its versatility in comparison to the other products we rated, like the BabyBjörn Cradle which seems to address a broader range of new-parent needs. Regardless, if one of our friends were planning a C-Section, we would definitely recommend they check out the HALO Bassinest to see if it would meet the specialized needs that go along with healing from a C-Section.
Health and Safety
The HALO scored a little above average for safety. Its base is wide and weighted enough that there does not seem to be a risk that it could tip over. It meets all standard safety regulations, and carries the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) seal. The fabrics and mattress are fairly run of the mill in comparison to the others we tested, but we were impressed that the frame does not contain BPA, phthalates or lead. One minor thing that concerned us was the fact that in order to raise and stabilize the height of the sleeping area, you tighten a knob by hand, which, if not done tightly enough, could hypothetically result in the bed slipping down when baby's weight is inside of it. If careful attention is paid when tightening the knob, it should not pose an issue.
Ease of Use
Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper which won our Best Value Award. As a new mother, being able to safely keep your baby right by your bedside where you can see him is a major bonus since it drastically decreases your need to get in and out of bed, allowing for more efficient heal-time. Our testers felt as though the adjustable height and surrounding mesh paneling on the HALO made it seem as though their babies were actually in bed with them, all the while safe in the Bassinest.
The swivel feature is truly one of a kind, enabling very smooth manipulation in any direction you choose. It is the only one we rated that includes a comfort module which plays very calming music, has a nightlight, two vibrating settings, and a nursing timer. The music is surprisingly tasteful and we felt, appropriate for soothing both baby and mother. The front bar which can be locked, can also fold down, allowing for easy removal of your baby when you need to nurse, without the need to get out of bed. We felt that the wide base was cumbersome however, because it is very wide and sticks out from under the bed, and is too heavy to move out of the way easily. The swivel feature does allow you to easily maneuver the Bassinest around, but the base is still very heavy and unwieldy, particularly in tight spaces.
The HALO Swivel Sleeper is the least portable of the units we rated, weighing in at a hefty 37 pounds and 2 ounces. Where it excels as a co-sleeper, it definitely lags in portability. We recommend that pregnant women not attempt to lift this it, as even the base without the nest attached is quite heavy.
This was one of the higher quality products we rated. The materials however, are not as high-end as the BabyBjörn Cradle or the Cariboo Folding Bassinet which is made from Organic Drill Cotton. Luckily, like the BabyBjörn Cradle, it was clearly engineered with scrutiny and an eye for details that improve new parents' lives from in-bed.
Ease of Set-Up
The HALO Swivel Sleeper was average next to the others in its set up. It certainly was not as complicated as the Babyletto Bowery, however some rather involved assembly is required, especially in comparison to some of the ones that had very easy assembly like the Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable. It should be noted that a pregnant woman should not attempt to lift the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper in its box due to its weight, and it should be assembled where it is intended to be used, as it is too awkward to transport once put together.
If you take a look at our Value Chart, you will see that the HALO Swivel Sleeper rated very highly among its competitors, third only to our other two award winners, the BabyBjörn Cradle which won our Editors' Choice award, and the Arm's Reach Mini Arc Co-Sleeper which won our Best Value award. Based on our testing, we don't believe that the HALO is the right choice for a new mother looking for the overall best bassinet, but it is a very worthy and safe option, especially if you are planning a C-Section.
After careful consideration of all of the details, we found this to be a great option if your primary concern is safe co-sleeping, although it is not a good option for overall use, since it is way too heavy to move once assembled. If you expect a longer healing period after a C-Section, this is an especially viable option.
Other Versions and Accessories
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, and BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: January 13, 2015
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