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Most new parents prefer not to travel while their baby is still little, but for some of us, it is not an option. If you are looking for the best travel cribs for flying, read on.
Traveling with a small baby can be nerve-wracking if you are doing it for the first time. There are simply too many unknowns. How will the baby behave on the plane? What stuff to pack? How well will the baby adapt to the new environment? Though we sometimes worry too much when it comes to our little bundle of joy, these are all legitimate questions. One important question you will have to face is “Where will the baby sleep?”
We all have cribs or co-sleepers at home, but the place we are visiting is most likely not equipped with baby beds. We parents have been told over and over again, as per the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we should not share a bed with a baby. This means that we need to pack a crib for our little jellybean.
Bringing a piece of furniture for air travel is no one’s preference, but with what is available in the market today, we can at least select one that is compact, light, safe, and preferably designed just for this purpose.
This guide is for parents who are traveling by plane with their baby and have to pack a crib to be used at the destination. We first walk you through the criteria and factors to consider when evaluating a travel crib for flying. Followed by it are our recommendations. These best portable cribs for air travel are selected based on interviews with parents who regularly travel with their baby by airplane, as well as by the research done by our designated team. Be sure to also check out the Top Five Must-have Baby Products.
What to Consider When Buying A Portable Crib for Air Travel
This includes the size when the crib is folded and unfolded. While smaller cribs are preferred, what’s more important is whether our baby can sleep comfortably and safely in the crib. Typically you can check the intended age range of the crib, if your baby is within the range, most likely you don’t need to worry too much about the unfolded dimensions. However, be sure to compare the folded dimensions. This affects how easy it is to carry it and if extra baggage fee will incur. In addition, make sure that the folded crib can fit into the trunk of your car. Among all the cribs we have tested or researched on, the smallest is Munchkin Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet that measures 22” long x 17” wide x 3” high.
Cribs with good material should be sturdy yet lightweight. You want to keep in mind of baby’s increasing mobility when you evaluate the construction of the crib. Among all the cribs we tested or researched on, the lightest one is Munchkin Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet that is only 2.45 lbs, and the heaviest one is Dream On Me Folding Full-Size Crib that is 44 lbs. Most other portable cribs measure between 10 and 20 lbs.
This includes the material of the frame, sides, mattress, and the carrying bag. What matters the most is the material of the crib textile and the mattress. It is directly related to the comforts and sometimes the safety of the crib. The side of most cribs is made from mesh fabric for better breathability and better supervision. The mattress can be made of foam, polyester, innerspring, or organic cotton and wool. Make sure that it doesn’t contain harmful substances for children, especially flame retardants in the foam mattress.
Easiness to Clean
The main thing to consider when it comes to cleaning is if the crib textile, the mattress, and the mattress sheet are removable, machine washable and water-proof.
Some travel cribs come with wheels and brakes on the bottom while some do not. This depends on your needs. If you will need to move the crib from room to room, having 360-degree wheels on the crib is a big plus. Just make sure that they also come with brakes. Of course, if the crib is light enough for carrying around, it is not necessary to have any wheels.
Easiness to Pack and Unpack
Setting up and folding down a crib takes time and strength, if the crib is not designed intuitively, you may also need to carry the instruction book with you at all times. A good crib should require minimum effort to pack and unpack. It shouldn’t have too many loose parts. The design should be intuitive enough for a normal person to figure out.
Besides size and weight, there are other factors that affect the crib’s portability. Ideally, the crib should be easy to fit in the travel bag, and the travel bag comes with carrying straps.
Are there loose or sharp parts on the crib? How safe is the mattress? Can the crib potentially entangle the baby? A poorly designed portable crib may provoke choking or entanglement, head entrapment or suffocation, or injuries from tipping. Always remember to read the warning label carefully, and only use the mattress pad provided by the manufacturer of the crib.
Unless you have an unlimited budget, you may want to find a crib that can last longer. Babies grow fast and their mobility develops at a surprising speed. If your travel is not a one-time deal and you are likely to travel in the next few years, select a crib that is designed for babies who can roll over, sit, stand, and even pull themselves up.
At WIC, we evaluated 23 different portable bassinets, tents, cribs that you can bring while traveling by plane. Our main focus was on safety and portability. Considering all the factors laid out above, we have listed the three best ones to recommend.
Most worth-it, easy and long-lasting
SUMMARY: BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light rated the highest on many above mentioned criteria. It is well designed and constructed. Because of its simple design, it is easy to use and carry around. It also has an amazing three-year age range.
WHERE IT STANDS OUT:
- Weighs 13 lbs, measures 19.3” x 23.6” x 5.5” when folded, comes with a carry bag
- Can be used from newborn to about 3 years, until the baby can climb out of the crib. There is no upper weight limit for using the travel crib
- Pack and unpack in one move. No assembly required
Great for multi-purposes
SUMMARY: Lotus Travel Crib is also a play-yard. Though the size is bigger than BabyBjorn, it weighs about the same. Setting up is easy. The feature that is most liked is the openable side. It allows you to play with the baby in the crib.
WHERE IT STANDS OUT:
- Weighs 12 lbs, measures 24” x 7” x 11” when folded
- Can be used as a play-yard with openable side
- Easy set up in 15 seconds
Lightest and most convenient
SUMMARY: SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper is no doubt the most portable sleeper. It also gives parents the closeness with the baby. The drawback is the age range. It can be used until the baby can roll over, that is about 3 months. Given the price, it is a good solution for temporary travels.
WHERE IT STANDS OUT:
- Weighs 6 lbs, measures 16.6” x 16.1” x 5.7” when folded
- A co-sleeper, keep you close to your child