A portable crib can be your safety net when you need a temporary but suitable bed for your baby while traveling or during sleepovers with grandparents. Portable cribs fold easily and can fit under a bed, in a closet, or the trunk of your car.
Portable cribs are available in metal and a variety of wood finishes. Most are sold with a mattress. Playpens are similar to portable cribs but are made of a mix of fabric and mesh. Portable cribs are designed to be smaller versions of standard rectangular cribs. They are often 35% smaller, typically measuring 40" x 25" x 41" and weighing 50 lbs.
They offer many of the same features of a standard crib: they are made of either metal or solid hardwood with a nontoxic finish, they have stationary sides, an adjustable mattress support, metal casters with or without locking brakes, a non-toxic plastic teething rail, metal hardware and springs, and a limited manufacturer warranty. Despite the features, they may not meet all current safety standards.
Portable cribs are not subject to the same extensive testing of standard cribs and are not meant to be used as your sole crib. When looking for a portable crib, make sure it meets all ASTM, JPMA and CPSC standards and be cautious if looking for a second-hand portable crib or when borrowing an older one. There have been recalls on several older models with rotating top-rail hinges. These older versions have been replaced with newer, safer models.
If you need the temporary lodging for your baby, be thorough when looking at portable cribs. Always inspect the crib carefully. The top rail of the crib should be 22 inches from the floor to ensure your child cannot flip out of it. There should be adequate locks on all joints and hinges to ensure it is stable and solid when set up. You may want to test the crib in the store before you buy. You will want the portable crib to be easy to set up and take down or you will find it more of a pain to use than useful.
- One of the most popular low end portable cribs is the Cosco Portable Crib. The Cosco portable crib is made of tubular steel with a non-toxic finish, stationary sides, 2 position mattress support height adjustments, large removable casters, folds to a mere 8 inches wide, and is JPMA certified. The Cosco portable crib also comes with a mattress making it a fantastic deal. For a portable crib, it is surprisingly quite sturdy when set up and easy to collapse and store. The soft foam mattress may not work for your newborn, but overall it is a great portable crib that will be well used if you travel frequently with an older baby.