Last updated: August 31, 2021

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A portable cot is an item you'll absolutely need if you move around with your baby. Your usual cot won't help you there, as its size, weight and overall design simply aren't made for travelling. You'll want to go for a portable and lightweight model, specially designed for travels.

All babies want during their first months of life is to eat and sleep, so their cot is where they'll be spending most of their time. The ideal solution when you're planning a weekend getaway or a simple night out is a portable cot. We've designed this guide to give you the best recommendations and help you choose the right product for you.




Summary

  • Portable cots are designed for your baby to sleep as comfortably as if he were at home.
  • These products are usually lightweight and foldable, so they take up minimal place when you're not using them. Their size is naturally adapted to your car boot.
  • Most cots are sold with a carrying bag to make it easier to move it around.

The Best Portable Cots: Our Picks

You'll have guessed by its name: a travel cot will be an important item for your baby to have while you travel. Although these products share the same design as traditional cots, their biggest advantage is that they are easy to handle and foldable. We've made a list of the very best portable cot models of the year in the following section.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about portable cots

You'll definitely want to know more about this children's product before purchasing one. This item will stay with your baby for the first years of his life, and you should make the right decision when buying a portable cot. In the following section, we'll talk about the most frequently asked questions and doubts that parents often have regarding this product.

Your baby's rest is essential for his well-being. (Source: Famveldman: 31615579/ 123rf.com)

What are portable cots exactly and what are they made for?

Travel cots are designed to replace your baby's daily cot. The first months of life of your baby will mostly be spent sleeping, and you'll find these cots particularly helpful to have and transport if you decide to go on a trip or a getaway with him.

Just like strollers, portable cots have been designed to fold in a matter of seconds. You'll find them to be great travel items as they can be assembled or folded effortlessly, fit anywhere and are lighter than traditional cots. And this all comes at no expense at all for your baby's comfort and rest.

Portable Cot

Portable cots are more versatile than standard models.(Source: Famveldman: 53287918/ 123rf.com)

Are detachable or folding models better?

You'll find two main types of portable cots: detachable and folding. Both options are perfectly tailored for moments when you cannot take your usual cot with you. As you can imagine, detachable models consist of several parts that you'll have to put together before use.

Note that the assembly is generally quite straightforward and will only require a few minutes in most cases. Their components are generally all removable. On the other hand, folding cots have a chassis that you can fold for storage. All you have to do to use them is to press a button or activate the folding system to open them.

Type of portable cot Advantages Disadvantages
Folding More comfortable and lighter Less resistant, the mattress included tends to be very thin
Detachable Stronger and more stable Heavier and more difficult to transport

Remember that the quality of your baby's sleep is more important than the length. (Source: Famveldman: 63589930/ 123rf.com)

What is the right size for a portable cot?

Your portable cot should be easy to carry, but you also want to pay attention to its measurements once it is folded or disassembled. The dimensions of the model you choose should be able to fit in the boot of your vehicle. Don't forget this, as it is an essential aspect.

Here are two basics elements you're looking for in a portable cot: A simple folding system and a compact size. That means you'll be able to easily transport it from one place to another without needing too much space. You'll be even happier with your purchase if you find a model that doesn't take up your whole boot and leaves rooms for the rest of your luggage.

Your baby's rest is essential, so make sure you have the best options at hand. (Source: Tiplyashina: 41232520/ 123rf.com)

Until when should my child use a portable cot?

The model of the portable cot will determine until what weight your baby can use it. Travel cots are generally recommended for newborns and can support up to 15 kilos, which means that you can use them until your child reaches the age of 3 or 4. In any case, the most important indications are the ones present on the product.

The manufacturing materials will also determine the durability of your portable cot, and you'll find more robust models that have no age limit. A lot of parents buy portable cots with the idea of using them later as a play area. The fact that you can give a second life to this product gives it even greater value for money.

What mattress does my baby need for his portable cot?

Portable cots tend to directly include a mattress to provide optimal rest for your baby. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best, so we recommend you to check its characteristics. Some mattresses can be too thin or too hard, in which case you'll want to consider buying a separate model.

Our suggestion is to choose a mattress measuring 120 x 60 cm, as this is the standard size. That means you'll also be able to use previous cot bedding you may have. Here are some key elements to consider for this kind of item: firmness, breathability and comfort.

J. Mateu SanchoMedical Doctor
"We can never emphasise enough on the fact that a portable cot can never replace a traditional one, as these products are only designed for temporary use."

Shopping Criteria

You'll have to consider a certain number aspects before choosing the right portable cot for your baby, as each family has different needs. Here are all the factors you'll want to look into when making your purchase:

Size

This is one of the most important things to take into account. As we've mentioned before, you have to think about the dimensions of the product when it is both opened and folded. The main goal of portable cots is to be easily carried around wherever you go, so you want to make sure not to get a model too large. It is for example useful if it can fit in a hotel room.

The most compact models are the best when it comes to folded dimensions. As said above, make sure it can fit in the boot of your car and that it still leaves room for the rest of your luggage. While this may not be an issue if you have a large vehicle, you'll have to consider it if you're tight on space.

Folding or mounting system

We recommend you to opt for a simple folding system for your portable cot, especially if you plan on using it often. The most common mechanism used is the same as for umbrellas, which means that it's easy to handle. Some other models include a button which further facilitate the folding process.

If you decide to buy a detachable travel cot, know that you won't need any tools for its use. These can be assembled with just a little bit of skills, although the time required depends on the model. Once you get a little bit of practice, you'll be able to fold or disassemble in a matter of minutes.

Handling

Having an easy-to-handle travel cot is key. Portable doesn't necessarily mean that it is light, so you might want to look for a model with wheels; these help you transport it more easily. If you fo for a product with wheels, make sure that at least two of them have brakes for safety.

The weight also influences the handling of the portable cot. Lighter models will usually weigh around 8 kilos, while it can reach 10 to 11 kilos for models with aluminium chassis. Most travel cots currently on the market are delivered with a carrying bag to help you transport them.

Accessories

While you may consider the design of the product, the accessories it comes with can also make the difference between one model or another. Changing mats are one of the most common accessories sold with portable cots. Very practical, these items are designed to fit perfectly with the cot itself, providing a stable surface to change your baby.

Side pockets located on the cot are be very useful to store your child's belongings. Some models also present a zipper at one end to facilitate access to the baby. A play arch is also an interesting feature to have for your baby to remain distracted in between sleeps.

Your baby's comfort always comes first when buying this kind of product. (Source: Kuzmina: 18571565/ 123rf.com)

Mattress

It is essential for you to check whether the portable cot you want includes a mattress; most travel cots do. But as we mentioned before, this doesn't mean that it is necessarily of the best quality. These mattresses can sometimes be too thin to ensure your baby's rest, as they are designed for punctual use rather than prolonged sleep.

A mattress should be breathable, comfortable and have the right firmness for your baby, and you'll want your portable cot mattress to meet the same requirements. As we mentioned before, it is quite common for parents to buy a thicker separate mattress that will be more suitable for their baby's portable cot.

Resume

When you're away, you'll find that a travel cot is your baby's best friend to get some good rest. These products are designed to replace standard cots, while still providing comfort for your child. They are also easy to use and to carry around.

Some models can be used until your baby reaches the age of 3 or 4; your portable cot will accompany him for the first years of his life, so you really want to choose the right product. Remember all the factors we've discussed in our article, and think about your baby's needs to buy the most suitable model.

Did you like our guide on how to buy the best portable cot for your baby? If so, feel free to share it on your social media, or leave us a comment in the section below!

(Source of featured image: Kuzmina: 18571565/ 123rf.com)

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