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How to Choose a Travel Crib

A travel crib is one of the most useful pieces of baby gear to have when staying away from home. If you're visiting family, staying at a hotel or even if you're going camping, a travel crib will keep your infant safe and comfortable while they sleep or play. Many parents even use travel cribs and playards to set up an additional sleep, play or changing station inside of their own home. If your child regularly uses their travel crib at home, then they'll feel more at ease inside of it when sleeping away from home as well. Not sure how to choose the right travel crib for yours and your baby's unique needs? Pottery Barn Kids has put together a guide to help you out.

Types of Travel Cribs

In your search for a travel crib, you'll likely come across two main types: cocoon travel cribs and fold out travel cribs. Both are designed to be portable and lightweight, though they do have a few important differences.

Cocoon travel cribs are essentially portable bassinets. They come with a removable mesh cover which allows you to keep an eye on your baby and which, when set up, makes the travel crib look like a cocoon. Because they resemble bassinets, cocoon travel cribs are typically intended to be used by infants from birth to about six months of age. If you need to travel with your newborn baby, then a cocoon crib can provide them with a snug and secure sleeping environment that you can set up just about anywhere.

A fold-out travel crib is a portable, freestanding crib that easily folds away for travel. Fold-out travel cribs are designed to be much more lightweight than stationary cribs, making them easy to maneuver and carry around. They are typically constructed with mesh sides so that you can easily check up on your child while they sleep or play inside of it. Fold-out travel cribs can accommodate newborns and, depending on their size, babies and toddlers up to a certain age as well.

What to Consider When Buying a Travel Crib

When you're looking for a travel crib, one of your first and main concerns should be safety. Make sure that the crib has a sturdy construction, that it meets all necessary safety standards and that it doesn't look like your child will be able to crawl or fall out of it. Just because the crib is portable, doesn't mean that it shouldn't have a solid frame and proper safety features such as skid-proof feet.

Next, you'll want to consider how easy the crib is to assemble, how small it folds and how light it is. Having a travel crib is all about convenience, so you don't want to spend too much time setting it up. Look for cribs that can be set up in a matter of minutes or even seconds to save yourself some hassle. Once it's time to put the crib away, you'll want it to fold small enough to fit easily among your luggage when traveling. The more compact, the easier it will be to manage. Make sure you take note of the weight of the crib as well. Consider whether it is a weight that you can comfortably carry along with the rest of your luggage.

Though features such as portability, weight, and ease of assembly should be at the top of your priorities list while shopping for a travel crib, don't forget that your baby's comfort is also important. A crib that folds down exceedingly small will be easy to carry but might also be uncomfortable for your baby to sleep in, making for fussy nights while traveling. The crib should come with a thick and comfortable mattress, and it shouldn't be so lightweight that you risk tipping it over just by giving it a little nudge.

Finally, make sure that you are buying a crib suited to your child's age. Travel cribs should list a suitable age range in their product descriptions. As was mentioned above, cocoon cribs typically aren't meant for older babies or toddlers. Smaller fold-out cribs can typically accommodate babies up to 18 months of age while larger ones can be designed for children up to three years of age.

Having a travel crib ensures that your baby always has a safe and familiar place to sleep or to play and entertain themselves for a bit while you tackle other tasks. If you want to travel with your baby, or if you're just looking for a playard to keep in your own home, then a travel crib is a fantastic solution for your needs.

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