The 9 Best Portable Cribs, Plus Safety Tips
Are you taking a trip or visiting friends for the afternoon any time soon? If so, don’t forget to take a portable crib!
Portable cribs provide your baby with a safe sleep surface while staying in a hotel or when they need to take an afternoon nap at grandma’s.
At Newton Baby, we know how important it is for your baby to get good, safe sleep. That’s why we created this list of the nine best portable cribs and some safety tips to follow when using one.
Take a look before you decide which portable crib is right for your baby!
Table Of Contents
- What Is A Portable Crib?
- Do You Need A Portable Crib?
- The 9 Best Portable Cribs
- How To Decide Which Portable Crib Is Best
- Safety Tips When Using A Portable Crib
What Is A Portable Crib?
Before we dive into our favorite portable cribs, let’s take a minute to chat about what a portable
As you can probably tell from the name, a portable crib is a sleeping space for your baby or toddler that you can quickly move from one space to another or put in your car for a road trip. It’s also known as a travel crib.
This type of baby bed is compact and lightweight. It folds down small for easy transport, and many models come with a travel bag to make it easier to carry.
You’ll often see mesh sides on these cribs, as this material is breathable. It’s also see-through, so you can keep an eye on your little one.
Some portable cribs come with bassinet inserts. This makes it more comfortable for younger babies and means you don’t have to bend down as far to set them down. Then, as your child grows, you can remove the insert to give them more space to move around.
Do You Need A Portable Crib?
While portable cribs are lifesavers for many parents, they aren’t a good fit for everyone. Let’s take a look at four reasons you might need one:
- You’re traveling and will be sleeping somewhere other than your home
- You want another safe place for your baby at home that you can easily move from room to room
- You have a small nursery and don't have room for a traditional crib so you need the smaller footprint of a portable one
- You’re visiting a friend or relative who doesn’t have a baby-proofed house, and you need a safe place for your little one to play while you chat
If any of these reasons apply, then a portable crib could be a great solution!
The 9 Best Portable Cribs
Now that you know what a portable crib is and why you might want one, let’s look at some of the best on the market.
1) Newton Baby Travel Crib & Play Yard
Your baby (and toddler) will love the spacious interior of the Newton Baby Travel Crib & Play Yard. You’ll appreciate the great design, including how easy it is to set up and fold down. Plus, it’s 100% washable, keeping it much cleaner for your little one.
This play yard is GREENGUARD Gold certified, which means an independent company tested it for chemical emissions. You won’t have to worry about an off-gassing odor or exposing your baby to harmful chemicals with this travel crib.
It’s also comfortable. The mattress uses the same patented Wovenaire® technology that the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is known for. The breathable fabric is soft and cozy, so whether your child sleeps or plays, they’ll be comfy.
When your baby isn’t using this travel crib, fold it and store it in the convenient storage bag. Even though it has a durable steel frame, the whole thing only weighs 17 pounds, so you won’t need to be a bodybuilder to move it.
You'll want to add the optional bassinet insert if you purchase this for a new baby. It’s easy to secure in place and gives your tiny baby a safe resting place.
In addition, Newton Baby offers a 100-Night Free Trial, so you can see if this bed is a good fit. If you (or your baby) aren’t happy with how it works, you can send it back at the company’s expense for a full refund.
2) Dream On Me Travel Light Playard, Black
This portable crib has an appealing modern design and is lightweight — no more straining your back while trying to carry a heavy portable crib!
It also folds up flat to be stored away and carried more efficiently. But don’t let that fool you. It still has a sturdy, aluminum frame.
Plus, it’s easy to use and clean, which makes cleaning up any messes a breeze!
3) 4moms Breeze GO Portable Travel Playard
This portable crib is created by the makers of mamaRoo. It’s so easy to open and close that you only need one hand. So in those times when you need an extra hand, you can have it!
The airy design gives you a clear view of your baby while they sleep from any angle. It’s also sturdy and ideal to use for newborns and children up to 30 pounds.
4) Graco Pack and Play On the Go Playard
The durable frame makes it easy to use and fold up nicely, so stashing it away in a closet or the back of a car is uncomplicated. Plus, this one has all the bells and whistles, including a changing area for your baby.
Plus, swaddle blankets can double as a nursing cover, burp cloth, or blanket and can provide a clean area to lay your baby on when you need to change a diaper!
5) Nuna Sena Aire
What’s so great about the Nuna Sena Aire is that you can fold it up with one hand. And you won’t even have to worry about getting your fingers pinched in the process because it has padded edges!
What’s even greater, every side (including the floor!) is made with mesh to allow for ideal airflow from any angle. Even the mattress is created with a triple-layer design so your baby won’t get too hot while they sleep.
The sturdy, creative design makes this portable crib a great complement to any room in the house. So don’t just use it when you’re traveling, use it as a safe space for your baby throughout your home!
6) Lotus Travel Crib - Backpack Portable
This travel-friendly, compact portable crib comes with a backpack carrying case.
Because of its unique design, the Lotus Travel Crib is ideal for traveling by plane. No more lugging around a heavy crib when you’re rushing through the airport!
And you can forget about leaning over. The quiet side zipper door allows for easy access and is perfect when it comes time to crawl and play.
This travel baby bed is certified safe and free of harsh chemicals, making it ideal for newborns. It can be used with kids up to three years old.
7) KidCo P3010 PeaPod Portable Travel Bed
Weighing in at only three pounds, this one is the lightest portable crib on our list. It folds down so small it can even fit inside your carry-on luggage!
However, this indoor/outdoor travel bed is only appropriate to use for children between the ages of one and three, so do not use it for a newborn or baby.
The tent-like design is perfect when your little one needs to take a nap at the beach or pool. It’s also the ideal complement to camping trips, an afternoon picnic, or any other outdoor activity you and your family enjoy!
What’s more, it passes the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) testing protocols, making it a safe sleep surface for your child.
8) Dream On Me 2 in 1 Portable Folding Stationary Side Crib
If you’re looking for a more stationary portable crib, this is your answer. It’s sturdy and has a stationary rail design, meaning it’s extra safe for your baby. Plus, it meets CPSC and ASTM standards.
The unique hinges still allow you to fold the crib flat for storage or travel. So you can easily tuck it away in a closet or under a bed when needed, or simply set it up in a room as an extra safe sleeping surface for your baby.
9) BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light
With a simple setup and fold-down procedure, you can set this portable crib up in a flash. It comes in a couple of different colors, all of which look great. In addition, this bed comes with a fitted sheet and a travel bag.
And if the bed becomes dirty, you can remove the mesh material and put it in the washer. This way, your baby’s crib stays fresh and clean.
How To Decide Which Portable Crib Is Best
With so many great options on the market, how do you decide between them? By asking yourself a few simple questions. Let’s take a look.
Why Do You Want A Portable Crib?
How do you envision yourself using this new bed? Spend a few minutes thinking through how you’ll use it to choose the right model for your lifestyle.
For example, if you'll be backpacking, the size and weight matter a lot. You'll want to go with the lightest model your baby can safely use.
But the weight isn't as important if you plan on setting up the portable crib at home and using it as your baby's regular sleeping space. In this case, you'll want to look for a nice, roomy interior so your little one has plenty of room.
You want to pick a bed that fits your needs, or you won't be happy with it, no matter how great of a design it is.
What’s Your Budget?
Next, decide how much you want to spend. Portable cribs vary in price, from low-cost options to more expensive models with additional features.
Keep your budget in mind as you shop, and focus on the model that best fits your needs.
What Features Do You Need?
Decide which features are must-haves and which ones you don't really care about.
For example, a bassinet insert may not be practical if your baby is already several months old. Your little one won't be able to use it for long before they outgrow it.
Or if you intend to use the portable crib for outdoor camping trips, look for models with sun shades or insect nets that give your baby an extra layer of protection against bugs and UV rays.
And if you like the idea of keeping your baby’s bed clean, opt for a washable model. Otherwise, if your toddler has an accident while potty training, you won’t have a good way to clean the bed.
What’s The Trial Period?
A travel bed can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you get the right one. Look for a company that offers a trial period, like Newton Baby. This way, you can test it out first and see if your baby likes it.
How Hard Is It To Set Up?
When you’re in a new environment, the last thing you want to do is spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how to assemble your baby’s crib. You need a model that sets up quickly so you don’t waste any time.
Safety Tips When Using A Portable Crib
Now that you have a better idea of which model will work best for your family, you want to consider safety. The government classifies these portable baby beds as non-full-size cribs. And there are a series of safety regulations that all models should meet.
Here are some key things to look for.
Make Sure The Frame Is Sturdy
When you’re using a portable crib, safety comes first. And what comes first on our safety list is a sturdy frame.
Make sure the portable crib you choose won’t move easily if it’s bumped into, and make sure all sides are locked in place before putting your little one in it.
Also, your baby will eventually become a toddler, so keep in mind that they’ll probably lean over the sides at some point. This is why the frame and sides should be durable.
Don’t Add Extra Padding
Most portable cribs provide you with some sort of mattress pad for your baby to sleep on. There’s no need to purchase additional padding.
In fact, it’s not safe (or recommended) to add an extra mattress to try to make the bed more comfortable, as this can be dangerous for your little one. Only use the padding or mattress provided.
Check For Mattress Snugness
Speaking of mattresses, you also want to make sure the mattress is snug and fits firmly in the crib.
You shouldn't be able to fit more than two fingers into the gap around the edges. If you can, your baby could get stuck between the mattress and the crib's walls.
Check Age Requirements
Some portable cribs are only designed for older children, like toddlers, while others are better fit to accommodate younger babies.
When you’re searching for a portable crib, make a list of what you’re looking for and always check age requirements.
You should also verify the weight and age restrictions for any inserts. That way, you know it can safely support your baby.
Look For Safe Materials
You don’t want your baby breathing in toxic gasses as they spend time in their portable crib. To keep them safe, look for one independently tested for chemicals.
Consider The Crib’s Size And Weight
Consider where you’re traveling and how you’re traveling. If you’re flying, you’re definitely going to need something pretty compact that you can easily carry through the airport and onto the plane.
In this case, you don’t want something that’s super heavy and will put a lot of strain on your back. You would definitely want to choose a lightweight and compact portable crib.
Similarly, if you’re taking a road trip and traveling by car, evaluate how much space you have. Is there enough room to pack a portable crib?
Another thing to consider is how much room you’ll have at your destination. Figure out the size of the room before you reach your destination. If you’re staying with friends or family, just ask to get an estimate of the size.
And if you’re staying in a hotel or condominium, do your best to get an idea from the pictures, but also feel free to contact the staff to find out what size portable crib your room can accommodate.
Also, consider the size of the crib not just for the sake of your back, but also for the safety of your baby, making sure it’s an appropriate size for them.
Inspect The Sides
Before you use a portable crib, examine the condition of all its sides. Check for damage each time you use it, and make sure all the sides are made of mesh so your baby can breathe through them and air can flow through.
Small holes in the mesh can quickly grow if your child gets a finger or hand through. If they get the hole big enough, they can slip their head through, which can become dangerous.
If you notice any breaks in the material, it’s best to stop using the crib unless you provide constant supervision.
Review Setup Instructions
When you’re setting up a portable crib for your sweet baby, the last thing you want to do is get your fingers caught in one of the locks!
Review the instructions to ensure the bed is easy to set up before making your final decision. Then, once you get your bed, set it up a few times before you take it on an adventure.
Remember The Safe Sleep Guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued safe sleep guidelines to help prevent infant sleep deaths. Following them is important, even when your baby isn’t in their usual sleeping space.
- Put your baby to sleep on their back
- Keep the bed free from pillows or blankets until your baby is at least a year old
- Use a sleep sack to keep your baby warm enough until they can use blankets
- Use a crib with a firm, flat mattress
These tips can help keep your little one safe, no matter where life takes you.
Safe Sleep While Traveling
Portable cribs are basically a life hack to make traveling with your baby oh-so-much easier! They can also supply a safe sleeping surface for your baby when visiting friends and family for the day.
Assess your family’s needs, review our list of the best portable cribs, and check out our safety tips before making a selection. The Newton Baby Travel Crib & Play Yard is an excellent choice that checks all the boxes. It’s lightweight and easy to fold.
Plus, it includes a breathable, washable mattress and is free from harsh chemicals. Best of all, it comes with a 100-Night Free Trial. It’s a risk-free investment, so order one today and see what your baby thinks. You don’t have anything to lose!
Portable cribs are a must for traveling, but when you’re at home and your baby is sleeping in their crib, make sure they’re still sleeping on a safe, breathable surface. Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress fits the bill...and don’t forget about our breathable sheets!