Can my baby sleep overnight in the stroller?

A baby sleeping peacefully in a Bugaboo Donkey bassinet stroller.

Imagine coming home after a walk with the little one sleeping deeply in the stroller. Do you dare to move her over to a cot? What if she wakes up? We often faced this question and decided to research it a little.

It is not recommended to let a baby sleep overnight in a stroller for safety reasons. Strollers are generally not designed for overnight sleeping; thus, if not explicitly mentioned by the manufacturer, you must assume overnight sleeping is not safe.

How long is it safe for babies to sleep in the stroller?

Generally, it is safe for babies to sleep in a stroller under supervision, and there’s no specific time limit. If you can not watch your baby anymore, moving your baby to a cot is safer. Even when a newborn baby is asleep, there’s a risk of suffocation, for instance, if the mattress base doesn’t match the bassinet perfectly and your newborn moves around. Another risk is that your little one can make the stroller tip over or fall out of the stroller.

All this follows from that a stroller is generally designed to be a transportation device, and thus special care has not been given to ensuring safe overnight sleeping. However, supervised sleeping is in general fine, but for newborns we recommend a stroller with a good bassinet.

Should I buy a stroller with a bassinet for my baby?

A stroller with a bassinet is worth having if you need or plan to go out with your newborn baby frequently. Based on our experience, a bassinet is very helpful during the first couple of months. We certainly thought it was worth it for our son and daughter until they could comfortably sit in a stroller seat and enjoyed watching around.

We used a Bugaboo Donkey for both our kids (same one, quality is great!). It comes with both a bassinet and a seat (which is fairly common for premium strollers). The bassinet is great, and both our kids quickly fell asleep in it.

Once your child can sit up without aid, or is around 6 months old, a bassinet is no longer needed. Indeed, your child likely strongly prefers a seat, so that it is easy to look around. Your child is also old enough to have a nap in a reclined seat by now.

How to make my baby sleeps safely in a stroller with a bassinet?

Even if your little one sleeps peacefully in the bassinet, your regular supervision is still essential. A bassinet is smaller than a cot, so it can not offer enough space for your baby to roll around during sleep, which can increase the risk of suffocation.

We couldn’t find any standard for stroller bassinets, but to learn more about how safe a bassinet can be, we found some good advice from Bassinettes | Product Safety Australia:

  • Ensure the sides of the bassinet are at least 300 mm higher than the top of the mattress base.
  • Ensure it has a broad, stable base and a sturdy bottom so that it won’t tip over.
  • Ensure the mattress fits well, is firm, smooth, and is no more than 75 mm thick.
  • If the product has folding legs, ensure it cannot accidentally fold during use.

Since a bassinet is a similar sleeping place as a cot for babies, some rules for sleeping in a cot can also be helpful to keep in mind, in particular:

  • Don’t leave blankets, pillows, toys, and other objects in the bassinet during sleeping.
  • Don’t use nests, anti-roll pillows, and other soft supporters in the bassinet during sleeping.
  • Place your baby’s back on a flat and firm mattress in the bassinet.
  • Keep good ventilation around the bassinet at a comfortable temperature when your baby sleeps.

In addition, a tip for making a baby sleep better in the bassinet is to make the bassinet as dark and quiet as possible. In other words, make sure that your stroller has a great canopy. If you make it dark by yourself, for instance, using some kind of cover, do ensure that the stroller has adequate ventilation to avoid it getting too warm or the air to go stale (generally meaning there’s too much carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the air).

Final thoughts

If you plan to go out with your newborn a lot, a stroller with a bassinet is almost a must in our opinion. It is safe for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep in a bassinet stroller under supervision. However, don’t leave babies in a bassinet stroller overnight unless the manufacturer explicitly states it is safe. A stroller with a great canopy that makes it dark and quiet can help you baby falling asleep, just make sure adequate ventilation so it doesn’t get too warm or the air go stale - this is especially important if you make it dark using some kind of cover not coming from the stroller manufacturer.