If you are faced with the death of an infant or small child, purchasing a baby casket is the first step in the long and painful healing process. It is true there is no greater loss than the death of a baby or child and making his or her final arrangements can be almost as painful as the loss itself. But if you find a trusted funeral home and director, you will be able to select the casket you want with all of the support you need.
About Baby Caskets
Baby coffins are used to bury infants or small children either in the ground, in a burial vault or at times, cremated along with the body. This is the child's final resting place and great care is needed in choosing the correct one.
Standard infant caskets start at 17 inches, although some specialty shops and funeral homes make them even smaller. They are made from a variety of materials including wood and metal or a more natural component commonly found in green burials.
Styles of Caskets Used for Infants
Infant caskets come in a variety of styles and colors, depending on your budget and taste. You can choose from standard styles or have one customized to your liking. Options available include choice of:
- Materials: Semi- metal, wood, and biodegradable
- Exterior colors
- Interior colors and fabrics
- Choice of head-cap
- Size: Length, width, and depth
Most baby caskets come in white, symbolizing the innocence of the child who died. However, many casket companies offer a variety of soft or traditional colors as well. The lining of the casket, which can be tailored, tufted, or ruffled, is what can be customized specifically to your needs. You can choose from:
- Faux lambskin
- With pillow
Where to Purchase a Baby Casket
Typically, these caskets are purchased through a funeral home. Your funeral home director will be able to supply you with catalogs and price lists so you can choose the one you want for your child. However, casket stores are popping up all over, including on the internet. Many offer next day shipping on standard caskets. Some of the casket stores where you can purchase baby caskets include:
- Memorials.com features over 100 casket options including cremation caskets and casket vaults along with matching caskets for twins in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials. They offer free ground shipping anywhere inside the contiguous U.S.
- Affordable Funeral Supply sells a variety of infant caskets starting at just under $50 up to over $800. Interior options include plush, lambskin, and crepe. Caskets can be shipped in the U.S. and internationally.
- Mainly Urns and Memorials carries nearly 150 casket options for infants and children. Their "Design Your Own" line lets you choose the colors, materials, hardware, and embroidered panel.
Casket Options for Premature or Stillborn Babies
Smaller babies, such as those born prematurely or who died before birth, can rest comfortably in caskets sized for them. Options usually include 10-inch, 14-inch, or 15-inch lengths.
- Heaven's Gain Ministries offers a selection of caskets designed specifically for first, second, or third trimester miscarriages that are as small as ten inches long.
- The Serenity Casket Vault by Trigard comes in an 18-inch preemie size in your choice of pure white, white marble, pink swirl, or blue swirl. Each casket comes with a comfort teddy bear.
- Heartfelt Ltd. Burial carries a Stillborn Burial Cradle designed to look like a handmade wooden baby cradle. You choose the exterior stain color an interior embellishments on this sweet casket.
If Purchasing a Baby Coffin Outside a Funeral Home
A few things to keep in mind when purchasing a casket outside of a funeral home. According to the Federal Trade Commission:
- Funeral homes are not allowed to charge a handling fee if a casket is purchased elsewhere.
- They cannot refuse or ask for a receipt if a casket is purchased elsewhere.
- A disclaimer or waiver must be signed by the family.
- Funeral directors and personnel may not slander the company from where your casket was purchased.
Tips on Choosing a Baby Casket
Many times, you will only have a day or two to select a baby coffin. Because of the emotions involved in the entire funeral planning process, you may not remember everything you normally would when selecting a casket. If that is the case, you may want to take a family member or close friend along to help you with the selection and with any contracts that may need to be signed. If you are purchasing a casket ahead of time for a child who is terminally ill, the entire process may be a bit simpler. If this the case, write down any questions or concerns you may think of before you go to the funeral home.
Baby Casket Flowers
White is the universal color of innocence, so baby funeral flowers typically come in shades of white. It is also appropriate to include pale pink flowers for a baby girl or pale blue flowers for a baby boy.
Types of Flowers for Babies
Varieties used for baby casket flowers include:
- Baby's breath
Floral Arrangements for Baby Caskets
Flowers for a baby's casket may be displayed near the casket or as a spray on top of it. These arrangements often include childlike embellishments and could feature any of these design elements:
- Shaped like a toy such as a teddy bear or train
- Heart-shaped floral wreath
- Floral blanket
- Include stuffed animal
- Feature angel or prayer hand pendants
Laying Your Baby to Rest
Losing a baby is the worst thing a parent can ever experience. If the burden of grief can be lessened by being knowledgeable about your casket purchase, then your road to healing will be that much smoother.