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Hands-on Gear Review
Cariboo Folding Bassinet Review
Price: $299.00 List
Pros: Easy storage, quality, nice looking, adaptable with purchase of extra accessories
Cons: Low weight limit (20 lbs), sheet not included
Bottom line: Classic design, well-crafted but lacks mesh siding and a few other bells and whistles
The Cariboo Folding Bassinet is an elegant and classically-designed piece of baby gear. It is constructed of fine materials and features a deep nest made entirely of cotton that shields your little one very well from outside distractions. Because it is not as versatile as most of the others we reviewed in this category, it is not the one we would recommend most highly to a friend, but we still commend the company's environmentally sound practices and beautiful workmanship.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Designed and manufactured in New Zealand, Cariboo products are made from high-end Radiata Pine from the South Island in New Zealand. They strive to produce products with materials that are safe for your baby and also environmentally conscientious, placing emphasis on low waste and energy efficiency.
Although the Cariboo was ultimately not an award-winner among its competitors, we were impressed with the company policies and beautiful craftsmanship. Since it is rather large in comparison to some of the others we rated, it didn't, for example, offer the convenient maneuverability or durability that the BabyBjörn Cradle offered. Indeed, the Cariboo is a statement of classic workmanship and elegance, though not exceptionally pragmatic, if you are seeking versatility and mobility.
Health and Safety
In regards to its materials, the Cariboo was one of the best we reviewed, second only to our Editors' Choice Award winning BabyBjörn Cradle. In addition to meeting high environmental standards, Cariboo endeavors to meet high safety standards as well, and the result is an extremely clean product. The MDF wood that is used meets both the stringent Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) which requires that formaldehyde emissions be similar to those in natural wood, as well as the CARB Phase 2 standards, which also requires a low emission of formaldehyde. The fabric is 100% cotton drill, organic cotton, and merino wool.
Structurally, the Cariboo lost points, because it does not have mesh sides, which is actually very important for infant sleep safety. BabyGearLab founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier wrote an article on SIDS and infant sleep safety which we recommend every new parent take a look at when considering appropriate sleep environments for their precious newborns. Aside from the lack of mesh paneling, it does have a wide, stable base, which we found to be quite safe.
Ease of Use
This product is clearly intended to be used as a basic bassinet. Where one gains beauty and elegance, they certainly lose some durability, as the wood can become easily scratched. Still, similar to the Fisher-Price Deluxe Rock 'n Play Portable, the Cariboo collapses flat and could easily be stored or transported, if proper care were used to protect the materials. Cleaning the lining requires taking the whole thing apart, which although relatively easy to do, was still a pain. Additionally, washing the lining is actually a fairly involved process that involves washing it by hand and then reshaping and ironing while wet, so as to avoid it becoming misshapen, and this begs the question, what new parent has time for that? If you do desire to use it in various places, it is very lightweight and easy to move around within the home.
Though not technically designed for portability outside the home, it does fold up easily by simply lifting the metal brackets on either end of the bed.
Undoubtedly, the Cariboo was one of the highest quality units that we reviewed. The materials are almost as good as the BabyBjörn Cradle's, placing significant emphasis on low chemical emission and distinctive Radiata Pine wood. It wields the look of a handcrafted family heirloom, and if you are not in the market for a piece of gear that can be toted around, it should not be a problem to preserve its more delicate allure.
Ease of Set-Up
It was easy to set up using the provided allen wrench and involves a relatively straight-forward process.
This would be best used freestanding in the room where it is intended to be used most of the time. Certainly, it is easy enough to fold it and move it around from time to time, but to avoid knicks and dings, the finer materials make it best utilized in one place.
As seen on the value chart, the Cariboo is expensive but has relatively high value. Its value still did not outweigh any of our award winners, because despite the high quality, it lacks versatility, which ultimately hindered its ability to outshine the competitors.
We really liked this product and we were impressed with many of its finer details, such as its fine materials and elegant appearance. However, since it was not as multifaceted as many of the others we tested, it is not our likely first choice for a recommendation to a friend, unless their primary concern were style.
Other Versions and Accessories
Available in five different finishes. Also available:
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Molly Hutto, & BabyGearLab Team
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Most recent review: January 22, 2015
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