Last updated: September 6, 2021

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If you're a busy mom, you absolutely need a portable mini crib. Regular cribs simply aren't made for traveling due to their size, weight and overall design. Luckily, there are lightweight models conveniently designed for travel.

A portable crib is a useful item for short trips with a baby or toddler. Babies spend a majority of their first months of life eating and sleeping, so they will spend lots of time in their cribs. We've designed this guide to give you the best recommendations and help you choose the right product for you.




Key Facts

  • Mini cribs 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's trunk.
  • They are made of different types of fabric that are suitable for the road and are easily folded away for storage.

Ranking: The best portable mini cribs

You'll have guessed by its name: a mini crib 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 mini crib models of the year in the following section.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about portable mini cribs

Keeping your child safe, contained, and happily napping away will help everyone have a great time. This item will stay with your baby for the first years of his life, and you should make the right decision when buying a mini crib. In the following section, we looked at features including adjustable mattress positions, whether or not they convert into a twin bed as your baby grows, and if the crib was portable, foldable, or both.

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

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

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

A mini crib is sometimes called a portable crib. So when you’re on vacation or going to grandma’s house, you can easily take a portable crib with you, depending on the style.

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

Are detachable or folding models better?

The two main types of portable cribs you will find are detachable and folding. A collapsed mini crib is an excellent option for traveling, as well as storage efficient. Some may even come with a detachable changing table.

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

Type of mini cribs 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

Are there any regulations regarding mini cribs?

You should always check if the mini crib is CPSC approved.

All cribs manufactured and sold (including resale) must comply with new and improved federal safety standards. The rules, which apply to full-size and non full-size cribs, prohibit the manufacture or sale of traditional drop-side rail cribs, strengthen crib slats and mattress supports, improve the quality of hardware and require more rigorous testing. The details of the rule are available on CPSC’s website at www.cpsc.gov/businfo/frnotices/fr11/cribfinal.pdf

Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped. Follow the instructions provided and make sure that every part is installed correctly. If you are not sure, call the manufacturer for help!

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 mini crib?

Your mini crib 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 trunk of your vehicle. Don't forget this, as it is an essential aspect.

The standard size is 24 inches wide and 38 inches long, but some models can be narrower than this. Pay attention how narrow it is because some babies will feel cramped. Also, consider if you need your crib to be a small size so that it is easier to carry or for your baby to stay in it all day because you can get a mini crib that is perfectly fit for your needs, you don’t need to settle.

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 mini crib?

The model of the mini crib will determine until what weight your baby can use it. Travel cots are generally recommended for newborns up to 30 pounds, 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.

If you wish to use your mini crib for several years choose one that is a convertible mini crib. You'll find more robust models that have no age limit. A lot of parents buy portable cribs 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 mini crib?

The mattress used in the mini crib must be soft and made of baby-friendly material. Babies require 12 – 13 hours of sleep daily and to offer them ultimate and absolute comfort; they must have a good quality mini crib mattress.

Our suggestion is to choose a mattress measuring 4 x 2 ft, as this is the standard size. That means you'll also be able to use previous crib 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 emphasize enough on the fact that a portable [crib] can never replace a traditional one, as these products are only designed for temporary use."

Shopping Criteria

There is a variety of styles in mini crib's to choose from. Here are all the factors you'll want to look into when making your purchase:

  • Size
  • Folding or mounting system
  • Handling
  • Accessories
  • Mattress

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 mini cribs are to be easily carried around wherever you go, so you want to make sure not to get a model too large. It should fit comfortably inside a small room.

Since standard and mini cribs are different sizes, you need the right accessories to fit them. For example, a standard crib mattress is 28-inches wide and 52-inches long. A mini crib mattress is 24-inches wide and 38-inches long. So you may not be able to use a standard crib sheet on a mini crib, and vice versa.

Folding or mounting system

We recommend you to opt for a simple folding system for your mini crib, especially if you plan on using it often. Most of the convertible models can be turned into a daybed if rails are removed and it won’t be necessary to purchase a bassinet additionally.

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

Handling

You want your mini crib to be easy. Portable doesn't necessarily mean that it is light, so you might want to look for a model with wheels which will help you transport it more easily. If you purchase a product with wheels, make sure that at least two of them have brakes for safety.

The weight also influences how easy your crib will be to carry around. Lighter models will usually weigh around 18 pounds, while it can reach 24 pounds for some larger models. Most portable cribs currently on the market are delivered with a carrying bag to help you transport them.

Accessories

There are not too many accessories that come with mini cribs, although this can help you decide which is right for you. Changing mats are one of the most common accessories sold with mini cribs. Very practical, these items are designed to fit perfectly with the crib itself, providing a stable surface to change your baby.

Some will also feature pockets to store your baby's items. You may also find 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

There is a variety of styles in crib mattresses to choose from. 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 baby crib mattress should be waterproof because it is very likely to get dirty since babies cause a lot of messes. Non-vinyl waterproof mattress covers also help if your baby crib mattress is not waterproof.

Summary

Newborn babies require gentle care. Even to put them to sleep you have to make sure that they are not uncomfortable in any way. When you're away, you'll find that mini crib is your baby's best friend to get some good rest. These products are designed to replace standard cribs, while still providing comfort for your child. They are also easy to use and to carry around.

Remember all the factors we've discussed in our article, and think about your baby's needs to buy the most suitable model.

(Source of featured image: Famveldman: 654638906/ 123rf.com)

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