14 Jun Best travel cots for babies and toddlers 2019
It can be difficult enough establishing a good routine in the familiar surroundings of your home, so going away for even as little as a night can seem like a daunting prospect: not only do you have the travel itself to contend with, but then there’s the question of settling a baby at your destination.
If you’ve girded your loins and set out by car, rail or plane with a baby in tow, then presumably you’re planning on having some semblance of a nice time when you get there – a nice time that, again presumably, doesn’t involve hours of wakefulness and attempting to console an overtired baby.
A travel cot should offer your baby a cocoon, of sorts – a place that’s soothing, calming, reassuring and, critically, sleep inducing.
Add a few familiar touches of your own – I always travel with the sheepskin from my child’s cot, which not only smells like home but is also useful at regulating temperature.
On this note, the travel cot you choose should also, for the baby’s sake, be made from natural materials and free of small parts; you’ll also want to take weight and ease of assembly into consideration for your own convenience.
See our favourites.
Best Travel Cots 2019
Micralite’s Sleep & Go Travel Cot
With newborns come endless swathes of ‘vital’ products (some more vital than others, if we’re honest, although try telling a first-time parent that…) but the trouble is that their usefulness is often short lived.
Enter Micralite’s contribution to the travel cot market, which is suitable from birth to 24 months and shapeshifts, over that time, from newborn bassinet, to a cot, to a playpen, making its £175 price tag more than reasonable.
The newborn insert provides reassuring airflow and a comfy jersey mattress, as well as keeping the baby at a higher-than-floor level, which saves your back when putting down or fetching.
Easily removed by a zipper function when 6 months of age is reached, the newborn mattress simply expands to fit the base of the cot; by day, the cot doubles as a playpen, with four mesh sides for visibility and a zip-down side for in and out adventures.
The padded carry bag, and, its comfortable shoulder strap, make light work of the 7kg weight; best of all, construction and disassembly is a doddle, nailed in a matter of minutes.
£175 | JoJo Maman Bébé | Buy it now
Angel Baby Box
Launched in April, the Angel Baby Box was inspired by the Finnish baby box, the cardboard ‘sleeping box’ given to new parents by the government, and largely credited with the country’s exceptionally low rates of infant mortality.
Made from non toxic EVA foam and 100 per cent pure Japanese cotton, with bamboo cotton versions currently in production, the pod has been rigorously tested to be awarded the same safety certification (BSEN1130) as cots and cribs and provides a secure, protective, snuggly environment for babies up to 6 months.
Flat packed and comprised of four parts, the Baby Box is not as quick as some to assemble, but it is easy, with medical grade velcro fastenings strengthened by a belt that threads around the outside of the frame.
Its sides are deep enough to keep the baby secure, but not so deep that you put your back out every time you reach in to pick the child up.
Opened up, it can be used as a cushioned playing or changing mat, giving it a purpose beyond baby’s first half-year.
£223.71 | The Angel Babybox | Buy it now
Mamas & Papas Classic Travel Cot
Weighing in at a hefty 9.9kg, this is not the most lightweight of travel cots, but it’s been cleverly packaged to max its portability, with the mattress base folded around the frame.
Construction is just a matter of clicking hinges into place before pushing the centre of the cot down and placing the mattress on top; we had it down to a speedy 5 minutes by our 7th attempt. Disassembly was slightly trickier, with the bag feeling like it was too small for the cot (it wasn’t, but it is a tight squeeze.)
The flipside of the weight issue is that the cot feels reassuringly solid and well constructed – a bonus both for sleepy babies and anxious parents. It’s probably not the cot you’d want to dash through a train station with, but if you’re packing up the car and going to stay with friends or relatives for a few days, it’s a well-priced and very sturdy solution.
The cot also doubles as a playpen, with a padded frame and mesh sides that you keep you and your little one within eyeshot of each other, and wheels that assist with room to room portability once unpacked or constructed.
£59 | Mamas and Papas | Buy it now
Joie Excursion Change and Bounce
If you’re a fan of a multifunctional product – and who isn’t – then the Joie Excursion Change and Bounce definitely offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Billed as a ‘road trip ready nursery’, it combines a safe sleeping area with a changing table and portable bouncer, the latter complete with sound and light attachment, featuring soothing vibrations in two speeds, multiple night light settings and no fewer than five calming classical lullabies and five relaxing nature sounds.
My baby looked incredibly smug chilling out in the bouncer, and who could blame him? The wipeable changing unit and bassinet both click easily on and off the cot, thanks to Joie’s SecureClick system, and two integrated wheels make it easy to move the cot from room to room.
Even so, as you’d perhaps expect from a product with so many components, portability is not this cot’s greatest asset: all in all, it weighs 16.49kg – more, in fact, than the maximum weight (15kg) of a baby it can safely hold.
And as for sleeping? Soft, comfy fabrics and a bassinet insert saw my baby sleeping soundly and looking very cosy to boot; the cot is well ventilated with mesh on all four sides, while pesky floor level draughts are avoided with an elevated base, even once the baby has outgrown the bassinet. If you like a bells and whistles (or lights and lullabies, as the case may be) baby product, then this one is certainly impressive.
£160 | John Lewis | Buy it now
Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Easy Go
From a parent’s point of view, the lightweight construction (it weighs in at just 6kg) and utter ease of assembly that this cot combines make it a winner from the outset, even before you consider the fact that it’s suitable from birth right through to 36 months.
The bag is comfortable to carry and sturdily made, inspiring more than a little confidence about its resilience in the hands of baggage handlers, and the whole thing packs down flat to about the size of a suitcase – so no hanging about near the ‘oversized luggage’ sign at the airport with a tired toddler on your hip.
On which note – the assembly really is so easy that it can, in fact, be done with said toddler on hip: just remove from the bag, pull each cot leg until you feel it click into place and then place the mattress in.
Four mesh sides ensure visibility as well as airflow, even if your baby ends up sleeping squash-faced against the sides of the cot, and the mattress is firm and thick for maximum comfort.
Unlike many travel cots, which require spot cleaning with a damp cloth, both fabric and mattress cover can be removed and machine washed: a definite bonus on a product that a child may be using for three years.
£219.99 | Baby Bjorn | Buy it now
In terms of speedy assembly, SpaceCot is hard to beat: it pops up in just three seconds and folds down again just as quickly – great news for older relatives who might struggle with fiddly assembly.
A patented safety lock gives peace of mind as to stability and its aluminium frame makes it sturdy and lightweight – at just 6kg, it’s easily portable.
The detachable bassinet for babies up to the age of 6 months saved me from deep bending to place my baby down to sleep – always a plus! – and, once this is removed, the cot can be used for sleeping and playing up the age of 30 months, giving the product a longevity that amply justifies the price tag.
Rubber feet guard against damage to floors and aid stability once your toddler is more mobile within the cot; meanwhile, comfort is ensured with a supersoft mattress and padded edges.
Importantly for hygiene purposes, the cot’s fabric is removable and machine washable, and a protective carry bag keeps it clean while travelling. One thing to bear in mind is that, when folded down, SpaceCot is thin but large, so potentially tricky for those with limited storage or car space.
£149.99 | JoJo Maman Bébé | Buy it now
Konges Slojd Baby Nest Deux
Inside dimensions: L75 cm x W39 cm
One of the things that I found somewhat jarring and disconcerting with a newborn was how big and man-made everything looked against this tiny, sweet creature.
All those belts and straps and frames and snapping, clicking things! Necessary for safety and security, of course, but somehow even the most streamlined of products felt, at first, rather unnatural.
Less a travel cot and more a travel nest, there’s an irresistible simplicity to this design: it literally cradles your baby in a 100 per cent organic cotton embrace.
Granted, it won’t be suitable once your baby is sitting up or rolling over, but it will work up until about 6 months, easing that transition from womb to big wide world- which, admittedly, may actually be more disconcerting for you than for the baby.
It’s also a great option if you don’t yet have the space to store one of the more technical travel cots, and can be placed pretty much anywhere – table, sofa, bed, floor – to ensure that your baby has a snuggly and sound sleep when away from home.
It doesn’t come with a carry bag but I placed it in a large biodegradable bin liner to keep it clean while on the move in the car. It’s also compact enough to keep stored at a relative’s place: if regular visits are on the cards, you could just purchase one to be kept there and not bother travelling with a sleep solution at all.
£75.95 | Scandiborn | Buy it now
Nuna SENA Aire travel cot Threaded Collection
Look, baby, one hand! At 10kg, this isn’t the lightest cot on the market but its clever zig-zag system makes assembly a breeze – just pull the sides apart and push the centre down.
It’s super convenient for when your baby is still tiny too – the removable bassinet doesn’t need to be inserted or removed, it simply folds away with the frame: the claim is that this is the only travel cot in the world with this feature and I certainly found it to be a useful one.
Once constructed, that 10kg translates into a cot that feels wonderfully safe and sturdy. Boasting more mesh than an 80s disco, the Nuna SENA’s ‘aire’ (get it?) flows freely, with the sides, floor and mattress all made from this ultra-breathable material and ensuring that your baby is well ventilated.
The mattress is removable and machine-washable and, although it may be hard to contemplate a time when this baby will be a sleep-resistant toddler, roaring, rocking and bouncing in fury, it’s still handy to know that the cot features eight support legs for added stability.
Unlike many travel cots on the market, this one comes with an organic cotton fitted sheet – a nice touch for new parents whose shopping lists may already be overwhelming – as well as a handled travel bag to make hefting its weight around that bit easier.
£180 | Mothercare | Buy it now
For ease of use, safety and a lightweight construction, plus longevity – all with that playful aspect still present – the Micralite gets my vote and the top ES pick: budget permitting, it’s a bona fide box-ticker.
Call me a BOGOF devotee, but I fell hard for the Joie Excursion Change and Bounce – it just so perfectly combines rest, play and practicality. That said, as much as I want to keep travelling abroad with a baby, I don’t fancy lugging its weight through an airport at all – it’s definitely best kept for car travel.
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