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Hands-on Gear Review
HALO Bassinest Essentia ReviewPrice: $200.00 List | $199.99 at Amazon
Pros: Mesh breathability, swivel versatility, easy access to baby bedside
Cons: Spot clean only, hard to move from room to room
Bottom line: Great for c-section moms and parents who'd like a safer alternative to co-sleeping
The HALO Bassinest Essentia is a versatile and adjustable bassinet that is great for mothers with c-sections and parents looking for a bedside bassinet for a safer co-sleeping like environment. We like the breathable mesh fabric in the sleeping area of this product and the dip side access that makes reach baby a breeze. The height of this bassinet adjusts to most beds, and we think parents will love that it can swivel around and smoothly moves when you need to get out of bed. With a reasonable price point, there isn't much to dislike about this bassinet, and we think it is an excellent choice for most families and an especially wise choice for mothers with limited mobility.
RELATED REVIEW: The Quest for the Best Bassinet
Our Analysis and Hands-on 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 which lets parents sleep close to baby while reducing the risks of bed-sharing.
This comparison chart shows the overall scores for each product tested in this review including the HALO (blue). The HALO earned an impressive third place rank and an Editors' Choice award.
The metric sections below include details on the HALO's performance during testing compared to the competition. Individual metric scores are used to calculate the overall score with an emphasis on ease of use and breathability.
Ease of Use
The HALO earned a 6 of 10 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 preference.
If that isn't enough, it swivels 360 degrees for better access to the sleeping area and the side dip down slightly for better access to your baby (above left). 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 is also adjustable (above right) 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 for moving on a regular basis, 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 levels of "Bassinests" 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. Almost half of that time was spent unpacking the parts. 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 actually relatively easy to put together.
Unlike the BabyBjorn Cradle with machine washable fabric and mattress, this product is spot clean 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 8 of 10 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 earned an 8 of 10 for the sleeping surface. This score is the highest in the sleep surface 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 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 stability.
The pad has a snug fit inside the bassinet frame, and we can only get fingers in with a lot of effort and not as easy as the competition.
The HALO earned a 9 of 10 for quality. This score is one of the best in the group and stands out for its price point as very impressive with only the Arm's Reach Clear-Vue Co-Sleeper earning a higher quality score with 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 an apparent attention to detail. The overall fit and finish are simple, functional, and clean.
The HALO earned an 8 of 10 for health.
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."
HALO offers a few items that make handy accessories to go with your HALO.
HALO offers a variety of different bassinet options that are similar to the Essentia we tested but with additional features.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz
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