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If you're in a hurry and just want to find out what the best travel crib for toddlers is, I'd recommend the Lotus Travel Crib.
When your child sleeps well, everyone’s happy. Traveling can throw everyone off of their schedule, though. The best travel crib for toddler will help ensure that your little one gets adequate rest even when you’re away. Don’t let worries about how to accommodate your child at night ruin your next vacation.
In this article, I am breaking down the best travel cribs for toddlers, and in the end, I'll choose the winner.
Here are the travel cribs I will be reviewing:
Why Might You Need a Travel Crib for Toddler?
But you still need to consider certain factors when putting your little one down for the night or a nap. A toddler that sleeps in a regular adult bed could fall off the side overnight. Children this age love to move around, and toddlers are known to climb out of their cribs. Therefore, the height of the bed should be a consideration.
You probably keep your child’s room safe. If your toddler sleeps in a bed at home, they probably have rails. But, you don’t always know what to expect from your accommodations when you’re traveling.
A travel crib is a convenient way to keep your child safe and comfortable while he or she is sleeping. These products are lightweight and portable.
They adhere to certain safety standards. Therefore, you can be confident that your child is safe, whereas you never know what kind of sleeping arrangements a hotel or vacation rental will have for your toddler.
Plus, if you invest in a travel crib for your toddler, you can perform a few test runs at home. This can help you get used to using it. It will also let your child adapt to the new sleeping quarters before you head out on the road.
What Should You Look for in a Travel Crib?
Once you have decided to get a travel crib, you will want to know how to choose the right one. Here are a few things to consider.
Can You Take it on an Airplane?
Toddler travel cribs take up less room than a traditional playard-style crib or other sleeping options. Therefore, they can be stowed easily in the trunk of your car if you’re taking a road trip.
One of the major benefits of a travel crib is that it can also be checked on your flight if you’re traveling by air. The best travel crib for toddler is small enough to pack in a hard suitcase so that it doesn’t get damaged if you check it with your baggage.
You should check the dimensions of the travel crib if you’re planning on flying with it. Many manufacturers identify whether the product is designed for flying.
Does it Have Safety Features?
Some aspects of travel crib design make it safer for your child. For example, mesh sides allow for adequate air flow.
You may be concerned about the chemicals that are used in the crib. Because your child might spend 12 or more hours in the crib every day, you might want to choose a product that is free of flame retardants, PVC and other volatile organic compounds.
Although the government regulates some chemicals that may be found in toddler gear, they tend to allow levels of heavy metals that some experts claim are unhealthy. Certain crib manufacturers are careful to make their products without these potentially dangerous compounds.
How Easy Is it to Use?
Stressing out about your child’s sleep while you’re on vacation is no fun. The best travel crib for toddler is easy to set up and take down. You shouldn’t have to worry about breaking it while you’re assembling it. If you’re moving around frequently, you should look for a product that sets up effortlessly. You don’t want to be fiddling with the crib as your exhausted toddler throws a tantrum on the floor.
Some products also have features that make them easy to carry around. A bag will protect the product from dirt and grime. If the carrying bag is padded or has hard sides, you may be able to check it on an airplane without inserting it into another suitcase. Some companies make carrying bags with backpack-style straps to make toting the crib even easier.
What Additional Features Are Useful?
When you’re shopping for baby items, you may find it hard to decide what to splurge on. Certain features raise the price even though they’re unnecessary. For example, an indoor-outdoor mattress can come in handy if you plan to cart the crib to the park or beach for naps. It might not be useful if you are just going to set it up in your hotel room.
Some cribs feature a zippered panel on the side. You can keep it zipped to contain a sleeping child. Open it to give your little one a secure place to play and the option to crawl out while he or she is supervised. The side opening also allows you to lie down with children that need extra soothing to go to sleep.
My Top Travel Crib Picks For Toddlers
I’ve looked into some popular options for travel cribs, and I’ve reviewed them to give you a better idea of their features as well as pros and cons.
The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib is one of the lightest on the market. It has no frills and does exactly what it’s supposed to.
This travel crib for toddlers weighs only 13 pounds. Most infants weigh more than that by the time that they’re six months old.
It has no loose parts, making it easy to fold and stash in the included carrying bag. It only takes about 15 seconds to set up and take down. All you have to do is swing out the frame, and it clicks into place. Therefore, this is an ideal product when you’re staying in multiple accommodations or need to pack quickly.
It’s sturdy enough to use as an extra crib at home, too. The mattress rests on the floor and attaches to the crib using hook-and-loop closures. The attached frame keeps the crib steady.
Because the legs slope at an angle, the opening of this crib isn’t as large as some of the others. The crib is less prone to tipping, but the inside space seems tight. Although it would work well for sleeping, it’s not as suitable for playing in.
Although it’s compact when it’s folded and stowed in its case, this travel crib doesn’t fit into an airplane’s overhead compartment. You can check it with the rest of your baggage, however.
The Lotus Travel Crib, made by Guava, is often compared with the Baby Bjorn. It has a similar design and weighs the same amount. It does take up a slightly larger footprint.
However, this is one of the best travel cribs to take on an airplane. It can travel with you as a carry-on on most airlines.
Because it has backpack-style straps, it is extremely comfortable to tote around with you. When it’s folded into the carrying case, the crib measures only 24 inches long, 7 inches wide and 11 inches high.
The manufacturer claims that it takes only 15 seconds to set up this travel crib. But it’s not as easy to set up as the Baby Bjorn. You do have to snap each leg open individually.
The mesh panel on the side zips completely open. This allows the child to sit safely inside while playing with an adult or older child on the outside. The ability to independently crawl in and out can make a toddler enjoy using the crib instead of feeling constrained.
You can also use the panel to take your toddler in and out of the crib. The quiet zipper shouldn’t wake your sleeping child.
This one can also be used as a bassinet if you purchase a conversion kit. So, it works well for babies and toddlers alike.
At 7 pounds, Phil & Ted’s weighs the least of all of the cribs that we reviewed, making it our top choice for long treks in large airports or train travel. It’s a little longer than the Lotus Travel Crib when it’s packed, though.
Because the side of this crib is a full mesh panel, you can keep an eye on your child. The visibility makes this crib handy. This is one of the best travel cribs if you plan to use it as a playpen because it has such an unobstructed view. However, a rowdy toddler that pushes on the sides could damage the fabric.
One side has a zipper that allows it to open up completely. A parent could easily climb into the crib with a child. The noise from the zipper could wake a sleeping baby, however.
The mattress is similar to a self-inflating air mattress. It offers multiple layers for thermal insulation. The included fitted sheet is Oeko-Tex certified.
The downside is that this crib isn’t as easy to pop up as the first two that I reviewed. The manufacturers seem to have addressed the issue, and they claim that the support bar clicks together more smoothly than it used to.
This travel crib looks similar to the Baby Bjorn. It features side panels made of a combination of fabric and see-through mesh. It folds up into a suitcase shape.
It’s quite affordable. But, what you save in money you might make up for in the time spent putting the product together. Setting it up can be a hassle and takes longer than 15 seconds. You might have to muscle some of the pieces together.
Still, this crib has plenty of great features. The mattress snaps into the frame, whereas most of the others use a hook-and-loop connector that doesn’t work if you don’t use the proprietary sheets.
The way that the mattress locks in makes the entire crib feel sturdier when it’s assembled. However, the fitted sheets can be challenging to put on.
The wide opening at the top gives you plenty of room to access your child. An ambitious toddler might be able to climb over the 26-inch rails, however.
You can open and close this travel crib with one hand. Easy setup is crucial when you arrive at your hotel late at night or need to corral your mobile youngster before he ransacks the room.
On the downside, this is not the most compact travel crib that we reviewed. It folds into a carrying case, but the case doesn’t feature backpack straps or an easy way to hold it. Its oblong shape might be cumbersome on an aircraft.
This is one of the only travel cribs that doesn’t have a mattress that rests on the floor. Because of that, it can only accommodate children up to 30 pounds. Therefore, it might be better for an infant than a toddler.
At only 0.25 inches thick, the mattress is not very padded. In fact, this travel crib doesn’t offer much cushion. It’s also 29 inches tall, which can accommodate toddlers better than the Dream on Me or Phil & Ted’s.
You don’t want to risk buying the wrong travel crib and dealing with a cranky kid who isn’t getting a good night’s rest when you’re on vacation. My favorite all-around option is the Lotus Travel Crib. Between the side zipper, carry-on size and backpack straps, it’s the most convenient.
If I needed a crib with a great mattress, I might choose the Baby Bjorn as long as I didn’t need the zipper feature on the side panel. But if you want to save some money, you might want to opt for the Dream on Me, which is the most comparable crib to the Baby Bjorn.
The 4Moms Breeze Go gets a high rating for quality, but it’s the least portable. This might be a better option for leaving at grandma’s house than dragging on a plane.
When it comes down to it, all of these travel cribs for toddlers do the job that they’re supposed to do. Choose the one that fits your needs.