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Portable Cribs and Bassinets

Portable cribs 101: What every new parent needs to know

Portable Cribs 101: What Every New Parent Needs to Know

As a new parent, getting a good night’s sleep can be a rare luxury. Between the late night feedings, diaper changes, and soothing your little one to sleep, a portable crib can make all the difference. Portable cribs are lightweight, easy to pack up and move, and they’re perfect for travel or for keeping your baby close by during the day.

If you’re considering a portable crib, here’s what you need to know:

Types of Portable Cribs

Portable cribs come in several types, including:

  • Travel cribs
  • Pack n’ play cribs/playards
  • Umbrella/compact cribs
  • Bassinets with wheels

Travel cribs are designed for easy transportation and are perfect for parents who are on-the-go. They usually feature mesh sides for ventilation and visibility, and they collapse and fold into a compact size for storage.

Pack n’ play cribs, or playards, have a heavier frame than travel cribs, and they come with a variety of features, including bassinets and changing tables. They’re great for parents who need an all-in-one solution for their baby’s sleep and play needs.

Umbrella/compact cribs are the most space-saving of the portable crib types, and are often used when space is at a premium. They feature a simple design with a few moving parts, and they’re easy to store and move around.

Bassinets with wheels are basically stand-alone baby beds on wheels. They’re ideal for parents who want to keep their baby close by but don’t want to invest in a full-size crib.

Portability Features to Consider

When choosing a portable crib, there are several features to consider for optimal portability:

  • Weight
  • Foldability
  • Wheels
  • Carry bags

The lighter the portable crib, the easier it will be to pack up and move around. Look for cribs that are under 20 pounds for best portability.

Portability also means ease of setup and takedown. Look for cribs that fold up easily and have fewer parts to assemble.

Wheels can make it easier to move the crib from room to room or down the hallway. However, be sure to lock the wheels securely when using the crib.

Lastly, consider purchasing a crib with a carry bag for added convenience and portability.

Safety Considerations

As with any baby sleep product, safety is of utmost importance. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind when using a portable crib:

  • Use only a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib and conforms to the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Check to ensure that the crib’s rails and latches are secure and well-built.
  • Don’t use the crib if it shows any signs of wear and tear, and never use an old or damaged crib.
  • Always place the crib on a flat, stable surface, and keep the crib away from any hazards such as windows, blind cords, or electrical outlets.
  • Do not place soft items such as stuffed animals or blankets in the crib with your baby, as they can pose suffocation hazards.
  • Never leave your baby unattended while they’re sleeping in a portable crib.


A portable crib can be a lifesaver for new parents, providing a safe and cozy place for baby to sleep and play. By considering the different types of portable cribs, features for optimal portability, and important safety considerations, you can choose the perfect portable crib for your little one, giving you both a better chance at a good night’s sleep.

Portable Cribs 101: What Every New Parent Needs to Know

What is a portable crib?

A portable crib is a smaller, lightweight option to give infants and young children a safe and comfortable place to sleep while on the go. It can be easily carried, set up, and packed away.

What are the benefits of a portable crib?

Portable cribs are convenient for parents who frequently travel, stay overnight at family or friends’ homes, or use daycare services. A portable crib is also ideal for families living in small spaces as it takes less room than traditional cribs.

What are the types of portable cribs available?

The most common types of portable cribs are bassinets, travel cribs, and playards. Bassinets are smaller in size and designed for infants. Travel cribs are lightweight, easy to pack and set up, and are ideal for travel. Playards come with additional features such as changing tables and storage compartments.

Are portable cribs safe for infants?

Yes, portable cribs are safe for infants when used correctly. However, it is crucial to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the crib is sturdy, and the mattress is snugly fitted.

What should I look for in a portable crib?

You should look for a crib that is lightweight, easy to assemble and disassemble, made with sturdy materials, and comfortable for your baby. It should also have a firmly attached, breathable mattress to help prevent suffocation.

What is the weight limit for a portable crib?

The weight limit varies from crib to crib. It is crucial to check the manufacturer’s instruction for the weight limit before using it for your child.

What is the difference between a portable crib and a playpen?

A portable crib is primarily designed for sleeping, while a playpen is designed for play. A portable crib is smaller in size, while a playpen is larger and usually comes with toys and activity panels.

Can a portable crib be used as a permanent sleeping arrangement?

No, a portable crib should not be used as a permanent sleeping arrangement. It is designed for travel and temporary use.

How should I clean a portable crib?

You should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your portable crib. Typically, a mild detergent and warm water should be used to clean the crib and mattress, and it should be air-dried before use.

What are the safety standards for portable cribs?

Portable cribs must meet the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and ASTM International. The standards address issues such as structural integrity, crib depth, and mattress firmness.

Can a portable crib be used for twins or multiple infants?

No, a portable crib is designed for a single infant, and it is not safe to use for multiple infants simultaneously due to the risk of suffocation and injury.

What is the average lifespan of a portable crib?

The lifespan of a portable crib varies from crib to crib. It typically depends on the quality of the material, frequency of use, and the level of care it receives. However, most portable cribs can last for up to two years.

Can a portable crib be used for camping?

Yes, portable cribs can be used for camping. It is crucial to ensure that the crib is sturdy and easy to pack and set up. A crib with a mesh window is ideal for camping as it also provides ventilation.

Can a portable crib be used in a car?

No, a portable crib should not be used in a car as it does not meet the safety standards set for car seats. A car seat is specifically designed to provide the necessary protection for infants and young children during travel.

How much does a portable crib cost?

The cost of a portable crib varies depending on the type and brand. On average, a portable crib costs between $50 and $200.

Are portable cribs easy to store?

Yes, portable cribs are easy to store due to their size and lightweight. They can be easily set up and packed away, taking minimal space in storage.

Can a portable crib be used as a regular crib?

No, a portable crib should not be used as a regular crib. A regular crib is designed to meet the needs of infants and young children, including safety and comfort, and should be used as a permanent sleeping arrangement.

What age range is a portable crib suitable for?

Portable cribs are suitable for infants and young children up to the age of around 2 years old, depending on the weight limit and size of the crib.

Can I get replacement parts for my portable crib?

Yes, you can contact the manufacturer or the retailer where you purchased the portable crib to inquire about replacement parts. It is essential to ensure that the replacement parts meet the safety standards and specifications of the original crib.

Are portable cribs airline approved?

Yes, most portable cribs are airline approved, but it is important to check with the airline’s regulations and guidelines before travel.

Should I use a portable crib for nap time?

Yes, a portable crib can be used for nap time, but it should be placed in a safe location away from hazards such as windows, cords, and other objects that could cause harm to the baby.

What is the difference between a portable crib and a pack and play?

A pack and play is a type of portable crib that is designed with additional features, including changing stations and storage compartments. It is larger in size and usually more expensive than traditional portable cribs.

Can I use a portable crib for outdoor activities?

Yes, a portable crib can be used for outdoor activities, but it should be placed in a safe and secure location with minimal exposure to the elements.

Can a portable crib be used for a newborn?

Yes, a portable crib can be used for a newborn as long as it meets the safety standards and the size of the crib is appropriate for the child’s weight and size.

How often should I replace my portable crib?

You should replace a portable crib if it shows signs of wear and tear, damage, or no longer meets the safety standards. It is recommended to replace the crib every two years to ensure that it is safe for your baby.

Are there any accessories I should get for my portable crib?

Some common accessories you can get for your portable crib are fitted sheets, replaced mattresses, and carrying cases. It is essential to ensure that the accessories are compatible with the crib and meet the safety standards.

Can I use a portable crib in lieu of a bassinet?

Yes, a portable crib can be used instead of a bassinet, but you should ensure that it meets the safety standards. A portable crib usually has a higher weight and size limit than a bassinet and can be used for an extended period.

What is the weight of a portable crib?

The weight of a portable crib varies from crib to crib. It typically ranges from 10 to 30 pounds, depending on the size, type, and materials used in construction.

Can a portable crib be used on an inclined surface?

No, a portable crib should not be used on an inclined surface as it may affect the stability of the crib and pose a risk of injury to the baby. The crib should be placed on a flat and stable surface.

Portable Crib Essentials for Parents

As a parent, having a portable crib can be an excellent option while traveling or staying overnight with friends or family. However, to make the most out of this convenience, you need to have some essential accessories to ensure your baby is comfortable and safe. Here are our top recommendations for portable crib essentials for parents:

  • Mattress Pad

    A mattress pad is a necessary accessory for a portable crib as it offers added comfort and protects the mattress from leaks or spills. Waterproof mattress pads, like the Bamboo Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad, are the best option for easy clean-up and maximum hygiene.

  • Fitted Sheets

    You will also require fitted sheets to cover the mattress pad and keep your baby snug. The American Baby Company Fitted Portable Mini-Crib Sheet is a practical and comfortable option, available in different colors and prints to suit your preference.

  • Portable Sound Machine

    A portable sound machine can help create a soothing environment for your baby, especially when they are out of their usual surroundings. The Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle Soother Sound Machine is an excellent choice that mimics a mother’s womb and lulls babies to sleep.

  • Nightlight

    Another essential accessory for your portable crib is a nightlight. The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light is a multi-purpose gadget that not only functions as a night-light but also allows you to customize colors, sounds, and brightness according to your baby’s sleep routine.

  • Mobile

    To keep your baby entertained and stimulated, a mobile is a perfect solution. The Tiny Love Meadow Days Take Along Mobile is a portable mobile that attaches easily to the crib and has five engaging toys that rotate and spin for sensory stimulus.

  • Portable High Chair

    If you plan to travel or dine out with your baby, a portable high chair, like the Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat, can be very handy. It fastens to any chair and has three height adjustments and a removable tray that’s easy to clean.

  • Travel Diaper Changing Pad

    You will need a travel diaper changing pad to protect your baby’s skin and keep them clean and dry wherever you go. The Munchkin Portable Diaper Changing Kit comes with a compact, foldable changing pad, a wipes case, and storage pockets for diapers and creams.

  • Infant Travel Bed

    If you are traveling extensively, an infant travel bed, such as the Lotus Travel Crib – Backpack Portable, Lightweight, Easy to Pack Play-Yard with Comfortable Mattress, is a life-saver. It has a spacious and comfortable mattress, a breathable mesh design, and can be set up in seconds.

  • Baby Carrier

    A baby carrier, like the Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier, is an excellent addition to your portable crib kit. It allows you to carry your baby hands-free, leaving you free to explore, shop, or just stroll. The Ergobaby carrier is an award-winning product that’s comfortable, ergonomic, and versatile.

  • Breastfeeding Pillow

    If you are a breastfeeding mother, a nursing pillow is a must-have accessory to support you and your baby during breastfeeding. The Boppy Original Nursing Pillow is a popular and practical choice that’s soft, machine-washable, and perfect for traveling.

With these must-have accessories in your portable crib kit, you can feel confident that your baby will be content and safe wherever you go. Happy traveling!

Pros & Cons of Portable Cribs and Bassinets


  • Convenient: Portable cribs and bassinets are designed to be easily moved from room to room, making them convenient for parents who need to keep a watchful eye on their little ones. They are also great for families on the go who need a safe and comfortable place for their baby to sleep.
  • Space-Saving: Portable cribs and bassinets are generally smaller than traditional cribs, which makes them ideal for families living in small spaces. They also take up less space in the nursery and can often be easily folded and stored when not in use.
  • Comfortable: Many portable cribs and bassinets are designed with comfort in mind, featuring soft and cozy materials that help keep your baby snug and secure. This can help your baby fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, giving you more restful nights.
  • Affordable: Portable cribs and bassinets are often more affordable than traditional cribs, which can be a great option for families on a budget. They also tend to have a longer lifespan than traditional cribs, as they can be used for longer periods of time and are often easier to resell or pass on to other families.
  • Cons:

  • Less Durable: Portable cribs and bassinets are often made from lighter materials than traditional cribs, which can make them less durable in the long run. They may not hold up as well over time and may need to be replaced or repaired more frequently.
  • Less Safe: While portable cribs and bassinets are designed to be safe for your baby, they may not always meet the same safety standards as traditional cribs. It’s important to research the safety features of any portable crib or bassinet you’re considering purchasing to ensure it meets or exceeds safety guidelines.
  • Less Versatile: Portable cribs and bassinets often have fewer features than traditional cribs, such as adjustable mattress heights or convertible options. This may limit their usefulness as your baby grows and needs a larger sleeping space.
  • Less Sturdy: Portable cribs and bassinets often have a less sturdy construction than traditional cribs. They may not be able to withstand as much weight or activity from your baby, which can be a concern for parents with active or energetic babies.
  • Overall, portable cribs and bassinets are a great option for many families. While there are some potential drawbacks to using a portable crib or bassinet, the convenience, affordability, and comfort they offer often make them a worthwhile investment for new parents. As with any baby product, it’s important to do your research and choose a portable crib or bassinet that meets your family’s unique needs and preferences.

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