Choosing the Best Travel Cot is important and can either make or break your experience when travelling with baby. You not only need to think about the issues when travelling on holidays but also at using it at home as well as short visits with family.
Parents often use a Travel Cot also known as a portacot or portable cot at home as a safe place to put baby whilst you are working around the house. You can also use it when you have friends over and can not have 100% of your attention on baby. In addition, you can also use them as a playpen or even outdoors at home. You need to make sure that the factors are not forgotten when choosing a travel cot. Travel Cot Purchases are often a last minute purchase before a holiday with baby.
When looking to find the best portacot or best travel cot for your specific needs, it is important to remember that like a pram, everyone’s needs are different. So it’s often not as simple as asking a friend or family member what they use and getting the same.
The Best Travel Cot Decision Criteria
Best Travel Cot Mattress:
The most important things to consider are the factors that affect the child including safety. The first thing I recommend you think about and check is the mattress. Is it thick, comfy and safe? A lot of travel cots / portacots have thin and hard mattresses. As a result, your baby may be uncomfortable and even have problems getting to sleep let alone staying asleep during the night. You must keep in mind that adding another mattress to a travel cot is not recommended and has detrimental affects on the baby’s safety. We highly recommend against this.
If using for a baby or younger child, is the mattress breathable? Is the mattress removable and washable? If not, you will need a mattress protector that fits the travel cot / portacot.
Mesh Sides = Visibility and Air Flow
The next important decision criteria we would look at in finding the best travel cot, is how much mesh does it have on the sides. This has several benefits.
- Increasing air flow ensuring it is not too hot
- Gives the Baby visibility out and not feeling caged in
- Gives the Parents Visibility from a distance of the baby.
The age of your child and the size of the mattress when unfolded. Generally speaking, Travel Cots or Portacots can be used from newborn up to approximately 3 years of age. When looking at the size of the travel cot unfolded (specifically the internal mattress size), this is a double edged sword. If you choose one that is small when unfolded, then this will have the benefit of fitting in smaller hotel rooms when travelling with baby. It will also mean that the child will outgrow it faster. This will come down to where you are intending using it the most and the circumstances. If it is mostly going to be at home and you have the space, then a bigger mattress size when unfolded may be the better option for you.
Then there is the size of the travel cot when folded. If your primary use is going to be for when you are travelling on holidays, then the size when folded is key. You need it to be compact when in the boot taking into account all of your other gear and bags. The size and shape of your vehicle’s boot will influence this to a large degree when looking for the best travel cot for your needs.
The Shape when folded is also very important. Where is it going to be stored? Some fold into a Flat Rectangular Shape which can make it easier to carry whilst others are more like a foldable chair and fold up in a longer rectangle shape.
Easy to Fold and Unfold
I would then begin looking at ease of use, how easy is the travel cot to fold and unfold. No one wants to be fighting with a travel cot in a small hotel room, motel room or even when camping or at home. Does it have poles? No Poles usually means easier and faster folding and unfolding. You need to ask if every side need to be unlocked with a single button or two and one at a time as well as the base? Some are designed in a smart way where there is less unlocking involved yes still safe and unable to be unlocked with a child in it making it a safer travel cot as well as an easy to use travel cot. Does it have Wheels to make it easier to move around the house or roll with you along a path?
Once you have got to this point, you will want to look at the weight of the travel cot when folded. Weight is important. No one wants to lift and carry a lead weight in and out of the car to and from the house or hotel. Your bags will typically be heavy enough as it is, there is no need these days to make it worse. Unless of course your travel cot is primarily going to be used around the house, then this wont be a huge issue for you.
There are some additional features which you may also need… Some designed for newborns offer an inbuilt or optional change table which is super handy for use when traveling with newborns. Does it have a bassinet level for a newborn which will save your back? Other features can include built in entertainment such as mobiles and music.
If your child is going to be using it when older, you may wish to also check how stable the travel cot is. As children get older, they can and will generally rock and pull on the sides. You don’t want a child to be able to rock it over on it’s side to get out or hurt themselves.
Hire or Buy
I would not recommend hiring one from the hotel or motel. Firstly there is lots of evidence that a mattress should only ever be used by one child. Secondly, a hotel or motel does not necessarily consider all of the above issues and subjects relating to a travel cot because the buyer is not a parent themselves and quite simply don’t know the issues to look at to get the best travel cot for your specific needs.
My Advice on the Best Travel Cot For your needs
My advice, is to get good advice from an independent baby store. One who has highly trained product specialists who have been in the business for many years. Product specialists who know the right questions to ask and have years of experience of their own and their customers. This empowers them to work out the best travel cot for your specific needs.
At Bubs n Grubs, we have a great range of travel cots. We, the owners (Judy and myself) hand pick each product based on what our combined experience of over 20 years and over 13 years in this business has taught us. We have learned from talking to mums and dad’s and understanding what their needs are. Don’t forget we have a highly trained team of products specialists who can spend time with you to give you the right advice in store or over the phone.
Click the button below and check out the range and don’t hesitate to pop in to store or call one of our baby products specialists for any questions or advice you need about finding the Best Travel Cot for your needs.