HALO Bassinest Essentia Review
Pros: Mesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedside
Cons: Spot clean only, hard to move from room to room
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
In 1991, Bill and Cathy Schmid lost their daughter, Haley, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). After the loss, Bill began researching the latest medical information and recommendations for safe sleeping environments for babies to help other families avoid the same tragedy. As an engineer, Bill became devoted to creating new ways to limit sleep risks. With the loose fabric risk in mind, he started HALO Innovations and developed the SleepSack Wearable Blanket. The SleepSack is sleeveless and worn over pajamas replacing blankets and other bedding. The HALO SleepSack is the nation's bestselling wearable blanket and is used in hospitals nationwide. As an advocate for safe sleep, HALO continues to use innovation to create safer products, including their Swivel Sleeper bassinet that lets parents sleep close to baby while reducing the risks of bed-sharing.
Ease of Use
The HALO came in close to average for ease of use.
This metric includes the features and functionality you will encounter in everyday use of your bassinet.
This bassinet is one of the best options for accessibility. The bottom of the stand can slide under your bed, and the height is adjustable to fit your preference.
If that isn't enough, it swivels 360 degrees, so it is accessible both from the bed and a standing position. The side dips down slightly for better access to your baby when lying down. This dip makes it an excellent choice for C-sections mothers who will want to avoid getting out of bed or lifting baby while standing. The height also easily adjusts to match the parent bed.
This product weighs 33 lbs, measures 36.9"H x 45.3"L (base) 33.8" (bassinet) x 21.8"W (bassinet), and has no wheels. This weight and size make it heavy and awkward to move regularly, so you'll want to set it up where you plan to use it and leave it there. It also isn't good for travel, but it doesn't claim to be, nor does it need to be.
The Essentia model only comes with storage caddies on each end of the bassinet. For additional features, HALO has three other variations of the Bassinest, with a wide variety of included options from baby soother centers to waterproof mattress pads.
Ease of Setup
It took about 27 minutes to set this bassinet up for use and unpacking the parts consumed almost half of that time. The assembly itself requires attaching the legs to the base and connecting the sidewalls and clicking in the bassinet. It looks much worse than it is and is relatively easy to put together.
Unlike the BabyBjorn Cradle with machine-washable fabric and mattress, this product allows spot cleaning only, including the mesh and bedding. The bed and frame wipe clean without a hassle, but a blowout or spit-up on the mesh will be a more significant undertaking.
The HALO earned an excellent score for breathability.
This product has mesh side walls with two seven inch panels of fabric, one at the head and one at the foot of the bassinet. This design is similar to the BabyBjorn Cradle, which has two four-inch panels. There is also an additional strip of fabric in the middle of one side. Both the mesh and fabric are taut and do not appear as though they would impede or limit breathability.
The HALO has a superb sleeping surface. It earned one of the highest scores in the metric.
The mattress on the HALO is .8 inches thick where the maximum allowed is 1 inch. This mattress is the firmest in the group with the least amount of compression in our tests. This perk will keep baby comfortable while still providing a safe and stable place for them to sleep.
This limited compression could translate to potentially better support for little bodies. The bassinet is very stable and has a tiny tilt when you press on the sidebars. The side is designed to do this and doesn't impact the bassinet's overall stability.
The mattress pad fits snuggly inside the bassinet frame, and we are unable to get many fingers in the crack compared to the competition.
The HALO earned an outstanding score for quality. It is one of the best in the group and stands out with very few bassinets earning a higher quality score at a lower price.
This product has a stable design with sturdy metal legs that allow for tilting and swiveling without concern. It also has smooth edges, taut mesh, and no imperfections with apparent attention to detail. The overall fit and finish are simple, functional, and clean.
The HALO earned score for eco-health, which is slightly below the high of 6 for the group. Thanks to the use of polyurethane foam in all of the bassinets, none performed that well in this metric.
This product is JPMA certified and conforms to ASTM F2906-11, ASTM F2194-12a, CPSC, Health Canada, SOR/2010-261 (Canada). HALO describes the materials used in this bassinet as:
"The polyurethane foam mattress pad and fabrics used in the Bassinest Swivel Sleeper do not contain any toxic flame retardants. Additionally, all the plastic and paints used on the Bassinest are lead, phthalate, and BPA free. The Bassinest is independently tested and certified to meet all Consumer Product Safety Administration and California chemical standards for flame retardants."
This bassinet earned points for the lack of flame retardants, but the foam type and lack of third-party certifications hurt it in the end.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz