Curated Experts Can Help You Find the Best Travel Crib for You and Your Family
Do you like to travel, visit your favorite relatives, or sporadically book Airbnbs? If you don’t want to be tied down and have a child under three, a travel crib or portable bed is a must. Travel cribs, which are sometimes referred to as playards or pack-and-plays, are portable sleeping areas for your child. Just like a real crib, these travel versions have a comfy sleeping pad and high walls, but their frames—which are often made of metal and plastic—fold up and out with a few simple clicks. Travel cribs have mesh sides rather than slats for lots of ventilation and easy viewing of your little one. They are lower to the ground than cribs but extremely stable and difficult for a baby to climb out of (until they reach the monkey toddler stage! But even so, they’re closer to the ground than a standard crib).
The maneuverability and versatility of travel cribs make them high on new parents’ baby lists as they can be used for both playtime and sleeping, and sometimes diaper changing with an elevated changing area as well. Curated’s Baby & Toddler Experts can explain the difference between the various brands and models, and help you decide which one you will get the most use out of. They can also help you build a personalized registry with the products you’ve been eyeing!
Most travel cribs are designed to fit children up to three years old, depending on their height and weight. (Once a child starts trying to climb out of any crib, it’s time to transition to a toddler bed). They’re rectangular like a standard crib, but smaller, considerably lighter, and they fold up in just a few quick steps.
Some travel cribs have options to elevate a baby at various levels depending on their age—higher for newborns and lower for older babies. They may even include a changer accessory, which is a changing surface that locks into place near the top of the crib, separate from the sleeping area. The best travel cribs are incredibly lightweight (weighing around 10-13lb), easy to clean, and include a travel bag that fits all of the components neatly inside.
Before you splurge on a pack-and-play, you’ll want to consider where your newborn will sleep when you first bring them home. Travel cribs are great for on-the-go families, but a bassinet that you can set up next to your bedside can make for smoother nights for the first few months. Both travel cribs and bassinets are safe places for babies to sleep, but bassinets are specifically made for babies zero to four months old or whenever they start becoming mobile (rolling side to side, onto their tummies, or pushing up onto their hands and knees). Some travel cribs have bassinet inserts, which raises the sleep space closer to the top of the crib.
Standard bassinets are small, oval-shaped sleeping spaces supported by a tall base that positions them around waist level on most adults. They usually have mesh or cloth sides, which newborns tend to like as the smaller sleep area helps them transition from sleeping in the womb.
While it can be difficult to bend over far enough to pick up an infant in a travel crib (because they’re so low to the ground), bassinets don’t require any bending as the baby is at waist level. The same goes for a bassinet insert in a travel crib.
Most bassinets can be used until a baby is about 20lb or can roll over on their own, whichever comes first. Travel versions tend to be lighter than travel cribs (around 7-8lb), small enough to store under a bed, easy to move around the home, and some fold for maximum portability.
Does Your Family Need a Travel Crib?
Travel cribs are ideal for anyone who is planning an overnight with their baby away from home and who wants a safe and clean place for them to sleep. They’re great for family trips as they’re easy to pack and carry, and they can double as a play yard in places that may not be safe for a baby to roam freely. Want to spend the day outside but need a place for your baby to nap? Travel cribs can do that, too! Some even come with sun canopies.
Talk With an Expert
Whether you’ve been contemplating a travel crib or bassinet, speak with a Baby & Toddler Expert here on Curated. They can help you narrow down your list of choices and decide what you actually need to fit your lifestyle, and assist with creating a registry as well! Start a chat with one of them today so you can spend less time mulling over a baby’s sleep space and more time on travel planning!