Last updated: August 29, 2021

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If you’re a traveling parent or always out and about, travel cribs are essential when you want bring your baby along with you wherever you go. Normally, because of their size, weight and clunky design, cribs are not made to be taken from one place to another. The conventional crib is something you wouldn’t normally even think about bringing with you on a trip. Thankfully, due to new manufacturing techniques and technologies, it’s possible to find a lightweight, portable model designed specifically to be mobile.

During their first few months of life, babies want nothing more than to sleep and eat. It's in the parents arms or crib where they'll spend most of their time. If you are planning a weekend getaway or simply spending a night out, having a travel cot is something you won’t want to be without. It not only gives the parents a much needed break from continuously carrying the baby, but it also provides a safe space for the infant to nap in. In this guide, we’ve provided recommendations and guidance on how to purchase the best travel crib for the best price.




Summary

  • Travel cribs or travel cots, are designed for infants to sleep in them as comfortably as they would if they were in their own crib at home.
  • These portable cribs​ are usually lightweight and fold down easily, to take up minimal space when stored. Most of them are meant to be compact enough to put in a small trunk.
  • Most travel cribs come with a carrying bag for easy transport.

The best travel cribs: Our Picks

If you have an infant, and are constantly on the move, having a travel crib is a must. Whether you’re constantly running errands around town or traveling often, having a baby crib you can take with you is a lifesaver. Their biggest advantage is that they hold true to the functional design of conventional cribs, while also being portable and more easily managed. Here are some of the best travel crib models.

Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about travel cribs

Before selecting a travel crib, it's a good idea to educate yourself as much as possible on all the different models and designs available before making your purchase decision. This accessory will play a significant role in the life of your baby during their first years. To make sure your baby gets the best quality product that satisfies all their needs, and yours, it’s important to do thorough research. Below, we’ll discuss the most frequently asked questions and doubts that parents have when it comes to travel cribs.

Sleeping baby and his toy in white crib. Nursery interior and bedding for kids. Cute little boy napping in bassinet. Kid taking a nap in white bedroom. Healthy child in bodysuit pajamas.

Most travel cribs come with a carrying bag for easy transport. (Fuente: famveldman: 59197354/ 123rf.com)

What are travel cribs and what are they used for?

Travel cribs are substitutes for the conventional, immobile cribs that babies use every day in the home while away from home. During their first few months of life, little ones spend most of their time sleeping. If you’re planning a big trip or simply taking your baby to a friends house, having one of these cribs with you will be of huge help, if not completely necessary. It not only allows for easier travels, but more importantly, it provides a safe space for the baby reminiscent of their comfortable home environment.

These products are meant to provide a consistency and security, even when braking the routine. Moreover, just as many strollers fold in seconds, travel cots have been designed to do the same. They have a huge advantage because of their effortless set up and take down, being much lighter than conventional cribs. Their compact design allows them to fit in the car and small storage spaces; all without compromising the comfort necessary for a conducive sleeping environment for your infant.

Funny baby in white crib with canopy. Nursery interior and bedding for kids. Laughing little boy playing in moses basket. Bedroom with bassinet for young children. Happy child in colorful pajamas.

Travel cribs are more versatile than traditional ones.
(Source: Famveldman: 53287918/123rf.com)

Detachable versus folding travel cribs, which are better?

There are, in essence, two types of travel cribs: detachable cribs and fold up cribs. Both options are designed to function as a secondary cot in situations where you cannot use the baby's primary crib at home. Detachable or mounted cribs are almost always made up of several parts and require assembly before use.

Type of travel crib Advantages Disadvantages
Foldable More comfortable and light for transport. Less resistant, the mattress included is usually very thin.
Detachable Stronger and more stable base. Heavier and more difficult to transport.

Their assembly is usually very simple, and in most cases it takes only a matter of minutes. More often then not, they incorporate complementary accessories that are for the most part removable. Folding or compact cribs usually have a frame or casing that easily folds up for storage. In order to use these models, they must be opened from their folded form by means of a button or some sort of latch system.

Adorable baby sleeping in blue bassinet with canopy at night. Little boy in pajamas taking a nap in dark room with crib, lamp and toy bear. Bed time for kids. Bedroom and nursery interior.

Remember that quality of rest is more important than quantity of sleep.
(Source: Famveldman: 63589930/123rf.com)

What is the best size of travel crib?

In addition to choosing an easy-to-carry model, it’s important to pay attention to the dimensions of the crib after folding or disassembling it. This is one of the more important deciding factors when it comes to choosing the right portable crib. You’ll want to make sure the dimensions are small enough to fit in the trunk or backseat of your car, as well as the space you decide to store it in.

The ease with which the crib breaks down into its compact size is just as important as the size itself. This will not only dictate where you can store your travel crib, but also how easily you’ll be able to take it with you wherever you go. Ideally, you should even be able to fit it into a standard sized suitcase, leaving enough room for all your clothes and other travel necessities to fit on top.

Baby playing on the sandy beach near the sea

Because your baby's rest time is so important, you’ll want to make sure you have the best products on the market to support their rest while they sleep.
(Source: Tiplyashina: 41232520/123rf.com)

How long can a travel crib be used for?

Depending on the model, a travel crib can be used until the baby reaches a weight that can no longer be supported by its frame. Most travel cribs are recommended for newborns and they can generally support up to 33 pounds of weight. This makes them functional until children hit about 3 or 4 years old. In any case, it’s always a good idea to look at the manufacturer's recommendation for the model of interest.

The resistance and quality of the crib will be greatly influenced by the materials used to make it, There are many high quality, robust designs that have no age limit. In fact, it’s not uncommon for parents to buy travel cribs with the idea of using them as a playpen when the baby gets older. When travel cribs are made with high quality materials and of a thoughtful and durable design, they can provide two separate functions.

What kind of mattress is best for a travel crib?

Normally, travel cribs include a mattress to provide extra levels of comfortability for the baby. However, just because it includes a mattress, doesn’t mean that it is without flaws. It’s important to inform yourself on the specific characteristics and reviews of each mattress. Sometimes they end up being too thin or too hard. It may be preferable or necessary to buy a separate mattress if the model you choose has sub-par padding.

As a recommendation, the mattress should measure around 120 x 60 cm; a standard size. Normally, if a mattress has these dimensions, parents will be able to use all the fittings and sheets they already have from their crib at home. The varying qualities of each mattress that we’ll want to compare and pay attention to are firmness, breathability and shape, making sure that it will be the most appropriate for the baby.

J. Mateu SanchoDoctor in Medicine
"It should be emphasised that this type of crib cannot replace the primary cribs used at home, as they are specifically designed for temporary, not prolonged use."

Purchase Criteria

When choosing a travel crib for your baby, there are a number of characteristics and features you’ll want to keep in mind. Not all families have the same needs. Below we’ve listed the most important factors to consider before making your final purchase.

Size

Size is one of the most important aspects to asses when making your purchase. You must take into account the dimensions of the crib, both opened and when folded. The whole idea behind a travel cot is that it has the ability to be able to be used in different places and it you can carry it with you wherever you go. For this reason, it must be of manageable size for you to be able to take full advantage of it.

Although it may not fit in every space you wish to utilise it in (a small hotel room for example), it should be a size that you can use in most places. In relation to its size once folded, the most compact models will be the most useful. Always check that it fits in the trunk of your vehicle and, preferably, that there is still plenty of room after placing it inside. If your car's trunk is wide, this may not be as much of a concern. However, in the case of cars with little space, this is a key consideration.

Assembly

The set up and take down of the travel crib should be very simple, especially if you plan on using it often. Generally, the action is similar to that of an umbrella, requiring little effort to open and close it. Other models incorporate a button; offering a different, but just as simple, assembly.

If you opt for a detachable travel cot, you’ll never need tools to attach or detach it from the bed. The ease of assembly will depend solely on the design of the model. In the case of detachable cribs, assembly tends to be a bit more complicated. But with practice, the process will never take a substantial amount of time whether the crib is foldable or detachable.

Transport and manageability

It is important that the travel cot is manageable and easily carried. The fact that it is portable does not necessarily mean that it will be light. Sometimes, if the crib is a bit more robust, it’s much easier to transport if it has wheels. However, make sure that at least two of the wheels have brakes on them to comply with safety regulations.

It is important to note that manageability is closely related to weight. The lighter models weigh around 18 lbs. If the frame of the crib is made of aluminium, the weight could increase to 22 or 24 lbs. Today, most travel cribs come with a carrying bag in order to make taking it with you much easier.

Accessories

In addition to its design, the accessories that each model incorporates are also key features that help distinguish one model from another. One of the most common accessories that come with travel cribs are the changing pads. This is an extremely practical and useful accessory, as they are designed to fit perfectly into the crib itself, providing a convenient and stable surface for changing diapers.

Another great feature are pockets built into one or both sides to keep the baby's belongings safe and with you at all times. Some models also incorporate zippers at one end to facilitate easy access to the baby. The last determining factor when it comes to accessories is the presence of built in toys. These may or may not be desired depending on the parents preferences. Nonetheless, these toys can offer wonderful stimulation and distraction before and after the baby wakes from their sleep.

 newborn baby sleeping on fur bed

Another great feature are pockets built into one or both sides to keep the baby's belongings safe and with you at all times.(Fuente: Kuzmina: 18571565/ 123rf.com)

Mattress

Finally, it is essential to check whether your crib of choice has a mattress that provides your baby with the comfort they need. Travel cribs almost always include a mattress with your purchase. However, this doesn’t mean the one included in the package is of the best quality. More often than not, the mattresses they come with are too thin to ensure full, proper rest for your baby. Keep in mind that while the mattresses should be comfortable, they are meant for naps and temporary sleeping spaces, not a consistent bed.

A mattress should be breathable, comfortable and with an appropriate level of firmness. To get the most of your money, and for the well-being of your baby, you need to make sure that the mattress included with your travel crib meets these requirements. If not, it’s very common for parents search out a thicker and higher quality mattress that fits into the crib to create the most ideal sleeping environment for their child.

Summary

Travel cribs are the perfect solution for babies to feel right at home, even when they are away from the comfort of their own home. They are amazing substitutes for permanent cribs, often just as comfortable as the bigger, more complex ones kept in their rooms. If you choose the right model, comfort is always guaranteed, as well as their ease of assembly and portability.

Depending on the model, these items can be used until the little ones are anywhere from 3 to 4 years old. As they will be a faithful companion during the first few years of life, it is imperative that the parent makes the right choice for them and their baby. Remember that in order to choose the right model, a number of factors need to be weighed and particular preferences should be taken into account.

Did you like our guide to buying a travel crib? If so, we encourage you to share it on social networks or leave us a comment with your thoughts.

(Featured image source: Famveldman: 654638906/123rf.com)

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