The Snoo is an expensive "smart" bassinet that lulls your swaddled infant to sleep using a rocking movement (which can be controlled by an app). It's one of the latest innovations in the world of internet-connected devices.
While the Snoo Smart Sleeper passes all our major safety requirements, you'll only be using it for a few months. You could spend far less money on a traditional cot made to Australian standards set in its upper position, which could see your baby through toddlerhood, or even beyond if it comes with a junior bed.
What you're paying for with the Snoo is the rocking and white noise functionality, and possibly an extra hour or two of sleep for everyone every night (a price some parents may be willing to fork out for).
Price: $US1160 ($1640)
The Snoo smart bassinet jiggles to calm your baby and get them to sleep.
The Snoo's rocking intensifies as its microphones detect your baby's cries, then slows to a gentle wiggle as they settle, all accompanied by womb-like white noise – with the ultimate aim of everyone getting a better night's sleep. You use the associated Snoo app to change or limit the intensity of the jiggling depending on your baby's needs, as well as the volume and type of white noise.
A helping hand, not a substitute parent
The Snoo isn't designed to be a replacement for human care; you'll still need to tend to your baby if they need a nappy change or a feed.
Leaving the job of calming your baby to a robotic nanny may seem unnatural or at worst neglectful. But parental sleep deprivation can be a real problem during a baby's first few months of life, so the Snoo's sleep-soothing concept could be seen as a godsend to many.
Developed by US paediatrician and baby sleep author Dr Harvey Karp, the Snoo could even be life-saving, according to its makers who claim it discourages bed-sharing and potential suffocation caused by exhausted parents rolling over in bed.
To get started, download the Snoo app and follow the instructions to connect the bassinet to your home Wi-Fi. Place the baby in the provided sleep sack and ensure the wings are clipped into the bassinet so that the baby stays in a swaddled position on their back. The Snoo is then ready to use.
Apart from the ability to monitor and control the rocking levels and white noise, the app can be used to track sleep patterns. If baby is struggling to nap and you're in another room, the Snoo shuts down and warns you via the app if your baby's crying too much – that's when they'll need a carer's attention.
As baby develops, the weaning function gradually reduces the frequency of rocking, to help teach your baby to transition to a cot.
The Wi-Fi enabled Snoo is shipped from the US and costs around $1640, depending on exchange rates. That's far more than some of the traditional bassinets we recommend in our bassinet reviews for $100-$200. This high cost leaves the Smart Sleeper out of reach to many parents already forking out on baby essentials.
Customer service and shipping is also based out of the US – impractical if you run into problems.
And the catch is there's no guarantee the Snoo will work for your baby.
The Snoo can be controlled with an app.
We did see one Australian company offering the Snoo for hire, with prices ranging from $211.40 a month for a six-month rental to $395.42 for one month, with new mattress and sleep sacks (Snoo says it is not affiliated with this company).
While we haven't tested the Snoo's robotic functionality with an actual baby in it, our experts have looked at its safety features from a mechanical perspective.
A safe sleeping environment is crucial during your baby's first months, yet there's still no Australian standard for bassinets. Our experts know what dangers to look for, so we've devised a stringent, in-house CHOICE method for testing bassinets that draws upon existing Australian standards for products like portable cots and household cots.
The Snoo is essentially a safe product:
- It's stable (but heavy at 16.7kg and doesn't have castors to wheel from room to room)
- It has breathable mesh
- The mattress is sufficiently firm
- It comes with a sleeping sack that clips into the bassinet, keeping your infant in a safe position on their back during sleep/rocking (different sizes are available to use as your baby grows)
- It claims to meet the US standard for bassinets
However, the one safety fault we found was that its depth of 230mm is a touch shallower than our required 250mm, which creates a minor fall risk. In practice, it's unlikely a small baby would be able to push themselves up and over at this height, especially if the sleep sack is used as directed, but it's something to keep an eye on as your infant becomes more mobile.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.