Chances are that you landed on this page because you are considering buying a travel cot for your child.
What is it anyway? Simply put: it’s a bed you can use for your baby or toddler. It typically collapses into a pack easy to carry on. It’s generally lighter than a normal crib.
If you are anything like me, you would have experienced that travelling with children can be stressful.
These little angels can be handful to entertain, feed and take care of during your journey. Once at your destination, you can’t help but ask yourself if the hotel, the family member or any other place you are visiting will have the adequate cot for your baby or toddler.
One way I dealt with this concern about where the baby will sleep; was to invest in my very own travel bed for the child.
I recommend you do the same in order to have peace of mind about your child’s bed in your upcoming travels.
First, you need to know what to look for when shopping for a portable bed.
Your quest should start with clarifying the intent behind your need. Are you planning on using it everywhere you go or thinking about leaving it at grandma’s house for when you visit her with the kids?
Your answer to this question may influence the features to consider when you are ready to buy.
Benefits of a Portable Crib
Using a cot in general reduces the risk of accidental death for the child. Babies sleeping in their own bed are safer.
It is also recommended that newly born babies have their own mattress to avoid health related issues (risk of disease spreading between children sharing the same mattress).
Additionally a portable bed can make your stay more relaxing for both you and your baby.
Indeed your baby can sleep in a familiar environment wherever you go. It can provide a safe playground if your destination place is not baby-proofed.
Different Types of Travel Cots
Standard: This is the most commonly used type of travel cot that collapses with removable mattress. Some are bulky with others very light and ideal to carry on everywhere (comping, hiking, grandma’s house and so forth).
Pop-up: This is a smaller version of the standard bed suitable for babies from birth until they can support themselves on their hands and knees. It’s easy to assemble and about the size of a shopping bag. The name came from the fact that it pop-up when removed from its original bag.
Bassinet: A bassinet cot is a standard bed with a bassinet included. This is for smaller babies. It’s not a type per say and can be considered as an accessory in some cases. It’s smaller and very comfortable for babies when they are still young.
Generally speaking here are the main checkpoints for choosing a child portable bed:
- Size of the crib
- User friendliness
- Washable covers
Let’s review each of these options:
Size of the crib
You are probably wondering why should size matter in this case? Well, if your main intent is to carry your child’s bed everywhere you go then you will agree with me that it won’t be a good idea to pick a 200 pounds bulky bed!
Size should be a selection criterion for your cot. It needs to be small enough to carry and also not too heavy when it comes to weight. Portability is a must.
Consider one that can easily fit in the trunk of your car or in the cabin as a carry on luggage – that is if you are flying with your child.
I bet you would agree that you don’t want to spend endless hours trying to setup a bed for your child, especially after an already long journey!
Ease of use is another factor to consider when choosing a travel crib. Stay away from the ones that require an engineering degree to setup. Pick one that is straightforward to assemble, sometimes without even requiring a user manual.
At the end of the day it all boils down to creating an environment where your child will feel comfortable while sleeping.
You need to look at how comfortable is the bed when making your choice. Some items that you can check are the padding of the mattress and the quality of the sheet.
If you are planning on using your travel cot a lot then you may want to pick one that has machine washable fabric covers.
If you would like to watch over your baby without getting out of bed, then pick a cot with mesh windows. They also allow for great ventilation.
Although I list safety as one of the last criteria to consider when buying a crib, it’s the most important one from my perspective.
The safety of your little one should be your number one priority when selecting a portable bed.
Indeed you don’t want to pick a cot that is not safe! Your child’s age plays a role on how safe a certain type of crib maybe appropriate or not. For toddlers for instance the crib has to have a mechanism preventing them from easily escaping from it.
Pay close attention to components used for the material. Ensure that there is no flame retardants, no lead or any other type of heavy chemicals.
Although accessories are optional, you may want to consider them as additional selection criteria. Indeed some of them could simplify your life whilst on the move.
Pick a lightweight crib small enough to fit into a carry bag. What’s the point of having a bulky crib that can’t be easily packed to travel? That is if your main intent was to take it with you wherever you go.
Some cots come with an optional bassinet. This is useful especially if you have a baby and suffer from back pain preventing you to bend too much.
Moms (or Dads J) use it to bath their little ones.
An optional flip-over changing unit is available with some cots for easy nappy changing.
So here you have it. The most important criteria to check when buying a travel cot for your child. I highlighted for you what to look for: Size of the crib, User friendliness, Comfort, Washable covers, Safety and optional accessories.