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An Overview Of Cradles Baby Sleeping Cots And Infant Beds

Updated on May 27, 2010

In the days before assembly line furniture the cradles baby occupied for the first several years of life were often hand made of wood and lavishly decorated with embroidered bedding of silks and satins. The cradle provided a place for an infant to sleep other than in the parent's bed. Many cradles were equipped with rockers so that the soothing motion would comfort the baby without the necessity of picking it up.

Today, cradles may be suspended from a type of metal or wooden frame to provide the motion that will rock the child. Some are even automated so that they are on a timer. The sleeping child can be placed into the cradle and a brief period of movement keeps it from wakening. By placing the cradle beside a parent's bed, it's easy to reach out and tend to a fussy child without the necessity of getting up.

The theory behind the cradle is that it mimics the rocking motion the child felt while in the womb. Often the infant up to about four months would sleep in the cradle. Larger cradles are available, but some caution has to exercised less because of the age of the child than because of its size. For a larger and heavier child, the base could be made wider. This avoids the danger of upsetting the cradle due to overbalancing upon sudden movements by the child.

There are two main types of cradles. The "Moses" cradle is smaller and lighter. It is portable. In fact, there are some that are convertible so that they could be used as a bed or as a carrying means. This type of cradle might be made of wicker and could even have a partial hood over it to provide the feeling of a cocoon.

The other type of cradle might be movable, but it is usually larger and would not be used anywhere but as the child's sleeping quarters. Because it is used for a relatively short period of time as an infant bed, some cradles are designed in a way that will allow them to be used as a stroller or as a stationary bed for a older child.

When choosing a bed for an infant, you should ensure that it meets all the safety standards set out by consumer safety organizations. A firmer mattress is better than a soft mattress and all materials should be at least fire retardant. Avoid construction that puts the infant in danger of getting caught between a mattress and a rail or other part of the furniture. An infant has little ability to move away from potential danger. Avoid pillows and stuffed animals piled onto the infant.

To a large extent, bedding for cradles has been standardized in size, so you can find sheets and coverings that are attractive and durable. The should be several sets so that a fresh sleeping surface is always available for the infant. Look for those that are appropriate for weight ant warmth so that the child doesn't become overheated.

Cradles Baby sleeps in are just one of the items that new parents-to-be must select with a view to safety and visual appeal. Avoid second hand cradles unless you are certain that they meet all the safety standards. Once the child is able to turn over by itself, you should switch to an infant bed for the sake of safety.

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