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Consumer Product Safety

Industry Guide for the Classification of Cribs, Cradles, Bassinets and Related Products

2015

Table of Contents

Introduction

This document provides information about the classification, under the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations, of products manufactured, imported, advertised or sold in Canada.

This document may be updated from time to time. For the most recent version, consult Reports and Publications.

Background

The Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA) prohibits the manufacture, importation, advertisement or sale of products that are, or are likely to be, a danger to the health or safety of the Canadian public. Under the authority of the former Hazardous Products Act, the Cribs and Cradles Regulations were introduced in 1974 as a measure to reduce deaths and injuries associated with the use of these consumer products.

Cribs, cradles and bassinets are intended to be used by young children without adult supervision. Young children represent a particularly vulnerable portion of the population because they cannot recognize potentially hazardous conditions and require a higher degree of protection than adults.

The regulatory requirements for cribs, cradles and bassinets are based on the hazards that a child in the product’s age range would be exposed to as a result of their size, weight and developmental capabilities.

Purpose

On November 18, 2010, the amended Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations came into force. The Regulations include bassinets under their scope, and eliminate the distinction between standard and portable cribs. As a result, revised definitions for "crib", "cradle" and "bassinet" have been established and the product categories are more clearly described by these definitions. This guide provides direction on classifying these products, according to the revised definitions.

Guidelines for classifying cribs, cradles and bassinets

Cribs, cradles and bassinets are defined by their function (providing sleeping accommodation) and sleeping surface area.

Products falling on the border between two product categories are subject to the more strict set of requirements.

Sleeping surface area

A product’s sleeping surface area is the main criteria for distinguishing between cribs, cradles and bassinets.

The following definitions from the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations apply to any of these products that are manufactured, advertised, sold or imported in Canada:

  • a "bassinet" is a product whose primary function is to provide sleeping accommodation for a child, includes sides to confine the occupant and that has a sleeping surface area that is less than or equal to 4000 cm2. Bassinets are meant to be used by infants until they are capable of rolling over. This milestone is normally reached between the ages of 3 to 4 months.
  • a "cradle" is a product whose primary function is to provide sleeping accommodation for a child, includes sides to confine the occupant and that has a sleeping surface area that is greater than 4000 cm2 but less than or equal to 5500 cm2. Cradles are meant to be used by infants until they are capable of pushing up on their hands and knees. This milestone is normally reached between the ages of 5 to 6 months.
  • a "crib" is a product whose primary function is to provide sleeping accommodation for a child, includes sides to confine the occupant and that has a sleeping surface area that is greater than 5500 cm2. Cribs are meant to be used by infants until they are capable of climbing out of the crib or reach a height of more than 90 cm. This milestone is normally reached between the ages of 18 to 24 months.

The established surface areas are based on a survey of the cribs, cradles and bassinets available on the market and the measurement data for infants in the intended user age group.

Stand-alone mode

Products manufactured, advertised, sold or imported in Canada that meet the above definitions must comply with all applicable requirements of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations. This includes stand-alone units, whether or not they are accessories to other products. Stand-alone units are free-standing or on their own foundation that are free of support or attachment.

Examples of stand-alone units include:

  • hammocks
  • bed-side sleepers
  • stroller accessories that can be used separately from the stroller, and are called bassinets or are marketed for sleep.

Primary function – sleep accommodation

The classification of a product as a crib, cradle or bassinet is dependent on the primary function of the product when it is in a stand-alone mode. Cribs, cradles and bassinets are qualified in terms of their primary function of providing sleeping accommodation for an unsupervised infant. Health Canada advises parents that a crib is the safest place for an unsupervised infant to sleep. Cradles and bassinets are also safe places for an infant to sleep unsupervised until the child reaches the weight or developmental restrictions established for the product.Footnote 1 Cribs, cradles and bassinets are the only products that are regulated and tested in order to make sure that they provide adequate protection for an unsupervised infant. A sleeping caregiver is not considered as providing adequate supervision.

A product’s primary function within the definitions of cribs, cradles and bassinets is based on many factors, including:

  • name
  • marketing
  • listed use functions
  • recommended use
  • appearance

Many products have a list of suitable functions, such as playing, soothing and resting, as part of the product’s packaging, labelling, instructions or advertisement. There are other children’s products in which a baby may potentially fall asleep, but these products are not required to meet the same set of strict requirements as cribs, cradles and bassinets. Therefore, these products are not suitable as sleeping environments for unsupervised babies. Supervision must be provided at all times when using other baby products, such as infant swings or bouncer seats. An infant swing, bouncer seat or infant seat that rocks may be used to soothe a baby, and there is the potential that a baby may fall asleep in these products, but they should not be promoted for unsupervised sleep unless they meet the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations.

The following factors will be taken into consideration when determining if a product’s primary function is to provide sleeping accommodation. Please note that it is not necessary for all factors to be met in order to classify a product as intended for sleep. For example, stating that supervision must be provided at all times when using a product that is called a “crib” does not remove the product from the scope of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations.

Table 1 - Factors for determining a product's primary function
Classification Factor Description
Name The product’s name includes:
  • “crib,” “cradle,” or “bassinet” in the title
  • its title makes reference to sleep, such as “sleeper” or “baby bed”
  • the product’s name is synonymous with the term used for crib, cradle or bassinet, such as “cot” or “Moses basket”, in another jurisdiction
Marketing The pictures on the product’s packaging, instruction manual or advertisement of the product show:
  • an unsupervised infant sleeping in the product, or;
  • the product placed next to or in the caregiver’s bed (implying that the product can be used for overnight sleep).
Listed use functions The product’s primary listed function, when in the stand-alone mode, is linked to sleep (including napping, which is defined as sleeping briefly, especially during the day), and/or there are multiple references related to sleep on the product’s packaging, labelling, instructions or advertisement.
Recommended use The product is promoted as a sleeping environment for an unsupervised baby.
Appearance The product meets the traditional definition or conception of a crib, cradle or bassinet, regardless of its name. Please see the following images for guidance regarding the traditional appearance of a crib, cradle and bassinet. It should be noted that while a rocking or swinging feature is traditionally linked to cradles and bassinets, it is not a necessary feature in order for a product to be classified as either a cradle or bassinet.

Crib:


Figure 1 – Crib

Cradle:


Figure 2 – Cradle

Bassinet:


Figure 3 – Bassinet

Other products intended for sleep

The products listed below are primarily used for providing sleeping accommodation. Therefore, these products would fall under the scope of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations. Classification of these products as a crib, cradle or bassinet would depend on the sleeping surface area of the product. For more information, please see “Quick reference list of factors for classifying products as cribs, cradles or bassinets” below.

For information on Health Canada’s recommendations for sleep-related products, please see Is Your Child Safe? Sleep Time.

Moses baskets

These are small beds intended to provide sleeping accommodation for an infant. They are typically made of straw or wicker. Moses baskets often have handles to make them portable. They are often sold with stands or stands can be purchased for them separately. Moses baskets closely resemble bassinets, and the two terms are used interchangeably in certain countries.


Figure 4 – Moses basket

Hammocks

These are suspended or hanging beds for babies. They are generally constructed of canvas or similar material with cords attached to the supports or frames at one or more points. Baby hammocks are designed to hang from frames, ceilings, beams or doorways.


Figure 5 – Hammock

Inclined sleep products

These products, like hammocks, place babies in an inclined position for sleep.


Figures 6 and 7– Inclined sleep products

Bed-side sleepers

A bed-side sleeper looks like a bassinet, cradle or crib and has three closed sides and one open side. They may also have four sides with one that can be lowered so an opening is created above the mattress support. The open side is meant to be placed next to an adult bed, often with the bed-side sleeper physically attached to the adult bed with the use of ties or cords.


Figure 8 – Bed-side sleeper

Products for co-sleeping

These products are generally small, bassinet-like products that are designed to be placed in the caregiver’s bed. They are often promoted as a means of safe bed-sharing. These products often have built-in sleep positioners.


Figure 9 – Co-sleeping product

Sleep accessories for playpens (with a stand-alone mode)

Playpen sleep accessories are removable accessories that attach to the top rail of a playpen.

These products must meet the applicable requirements of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinet Regulations if they can be used in a stand-alone mode once they are detached from the playpen.

The Regulations do not apply to sleep accessories intended to attach to a playpen if they cannot be used as a stand-alone unit. Playpen accessories are subject to the Playpens Regulations. However, the Playpens Regulations do not currently include requirements to assess the attachment of the playpen accessories. Due to its structure, location, movement or failure, a playpen accessory may expose a playpen's occupant to a number of possible hazards, including openings that present an entrapment hazard.


Figure 10 - Sleep accessory for a playpen (shown in both stand-alone mode and attached to a playpen)

Please note some playpen models are referred to as “portable cribs” by the manufacturer. Playpens are not subjected to the same strict requirements as cribs and should not be used as a sleep surface for an unsupervised baby. Portable cribs must meet the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations. A portable combination crib/playpen is required to meet both the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations and the Playpens Regulations.

Sleep accessories for strollers (with a stand-alone mode)

Stroller sleep accessories are removable accessories that attach to a stroller frame. These accessories may be sold with a stand or a stand is available for purchase and use with the accessory.

Sleep accessories that can be removed from the stroller’s frame and used as stand-alone products are subject to the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations if one or more of the following conditions are met:

  • the accessory is called a bassinet or any other name that implies sleep, such as carrycot
  • the sleep accessory is promoted for use apart from the stroller’s frame
  • a stand is sold with or is available to purchase separately for use with the sleep accessory
  • the product’s packaging, labelling, instructions or advertisement include references to sleep or sleep-related messaging

Stroller accessories do not fall under the scope of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations when all of the following conditions are met:

  • there are clear instructions stating that the accessory should only be used on the stroller’s frame
  • the accessory only detaches to allow the stroller to be used in another mode or with another accessory
  • the accessory is not called a bassinet or any other name that implies sleep, such as carrycot
  • there are no references to sleep included in the product’s packaging, labelling instructions or advertisement, AND
  • the instructions state that supervision must be provided when the accessory is in use, OR
  • the accessory cannot be used in a stand-alone mode

Please note that an accessory is not considered to be capable for use in a stand-alone mode if the design of the accessory makes it highly unlikely or impossible to use the product in a stand-alone mode. For example, if the accessory’s frame is comprised by its attachment to the stroller.


Figure 11 - Sleep accessory for a stroller (shown in both stand-alone mode [on a stand] and attached to a stroller frame)

Quick reference list of factors for classifying products as cribs, cradles and bassinets

Health Canada considers the following factors when classifying a product as a crib, cradle or bassinet:

  • the product’s sleeping surface area
  • the product can be used in stand-alone mode (whether or not it can also be used as an accessory or attachment to another product)
  • the product’s primary function is to provide sleeping accommodation. The following factors are taken into consideration when making this determination:
    • the name of the product, such as crib, cradle, bassinet, sleeper, baby bed, cot or Moses basket
    • the marketing and its influence on the perception of parents and caregivers regarding the product’s suitability for sleep
    • the listed functions of the product relating to sleep or sleep-related language, and their prominence
    • the recommended use of the product relating to the level of supervision to be provided
    • the appearance of the product in relation to the traditional definitions and conceptions of a crib, cradle or bassinet
    • the product type, such as Moses baskets, baby hammocks, inclined sleep products, bed-side sleepers, products for co-sleeping, stand-alone playpen sleep accessories, and stand-alone stroller sleep accessories

General overview of crib, cradle or bassinet characteristics for product classification

There are a number of general crib, cradle or bassinet characteristics that may help with the classification of a product. The table below compares the general characteristics and features of cribs, cradles and bassinets.

Tableau 2 - Product classification by general characteristics and features of cribs, cradles and bassinets
Crib Cradle Bassinet
Sleeping surface area
> 5500 cm2
4000 cm2 < Sleeping surface area ≤ 5500 cm2 Sleeping surface area
≤ 4000 cm2
Primary function: sleeping accommodation Primary function: sleeping accommodation Primary function: sleeping accommodation
Sides to contain baby Sides to contain baby Sides to contain baby
Stand-alone function Stand-alone function Stand-alone function
For use until baby can climb out or reaches a height of more than
90 cm
For use until baby can push up on hands and knees or reaches manufacturer’s weight limit For use until baby can roll over or reaches manufacturer’s weight limit
Period of use: until child is approximately 18 - 24 months of age Period of use: until child is approximately 5 – 6 months of age Period of use: until child is approximately 3 – 4 months of age

Please see the text of the Cribs, Cradles and Bassinets Regulations for the specific requirements for cribs, cradles and bassinets.

Information resources

NOTICE: For further information visit the resources below or contact a Health Canada Consumer Product Safety Office via email (cps-spc@hc-sc.gc.ca) or telephone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free within Canada and the United States).