How will I know which travel cot is best for my baby?
Why buy a travel cot? A travel cot is also easy to pack in the boot of your car with the rest of your luggage. No wonder it's one of the top travel accessories today.
Value If you're in the market for a dedicated camping mattress, it's probably because you've decided that you want something more comfortable than a lightweight backpacking pad or a blow-up air mattress. After deciding whether you prefer a single or double mattress, the most difficult decision may revolve around how much you would like to or are willing to spend on your bed away from home.
In fact, for some parents, a travel cot is a must for their travel checklist. What do I need to know about travel cots? Most travel cots follow a similar design. Usually, they have a fabric cot on a sturdy frame, which folds down and packs away into a zip-up travel bag with carry handles. However, there are some variations, including pop-up cots.
Pop-up cots are quick and easy to assemble, springing into shape when opened, much like a small tent.
The inner mattress then fits inside the frame. Here are some features to look out for: Ask the retailer to give you a demonstration of how easy the cot is to assemble and collapse again before buying. Check the weight of the travel cot as well, as this will affect how easy it is for you to put it up and down, and get it back into its bag.
A lightweight travel cot that comes with a carry-bag and wheels can make transporting, and positioning, a lot easier. This fits across the top of the travel cot, providing a crib for your newborn to sleep in. This will suit your baby until she is about three months old, or around 6kg 13lb in weight.
A bassinet is higher up in the cot, making it easier to keep an eye on your baby. Some cots come with a flip-over changing unit for easy nappy changing. Fabric covers that are removable and machine-washable can make keeping the travel cot clean much easier.
If you intend to use the cot a lot, then this could be a high priority for you.
If at least one side is made from mesh, it will enable you to see in, and your baby to see out. A roll-down blind to cover the mesh when you want to make the cot darker is useful, too.
Some travel cots are designed to double up as playpens. They have to be extra sturdy to fulfil this second role as a safe place for your baby to play with her toys. A travel cot playpen sometimes comes with a toy tidy, or detachable toy flaps, included in the price.
You can get the most out of your travel cot if you have room to use it at home as well as when you are away. What about cot safety?
The size also matters. Instead, it should come at a compact size that you are able to carry with ease. Easy to pack away in its own pump, it can even be clipped to the outside of your bag.
All cots, including travel cots, sold new in the UK have to meet stringent European safety requirements. If you buy second hand , you do not have to replace the mattress, provided that it is in good condition.
You should also make sure that it fits the cot well and shows no signs of deterioration. As with any cot mattress, try to keep it well-aired, clean and dry. Most travel cot mattresses have a wipe-clean surface, which can help.
Remember to follow the guidelines for preventing sudden infant death syndrome SIDS , including: Placing your baby to sleep on his back, with his feet at the foot of the cot.
If your baby is under one year old, never use a pillow, duvet, or cushion in the cot. Travel cots are great for holidays and short trips away, but they are not designed for use over long periods of time. Most parents need a travel cot at some stage. You may want one to double up as a playpen at home. I think the dearer ones are lighter, and in hindsight, I should have factored that in.
She was happy and I knew she was safe. When we do need to use it as a cot, we will buy a new mattress , as the one that came with the cot feels quite hard. We did look at a pop-up version but ended up with a lightweight aluminum-framed cot. I bought it second-hand so I managed to get it quite cheap.
The mattress that comes with it is far too thin, but you can buy an inflatable mattress for it that comes with a pump and a fitted sheet. You can buy a sunshade for a travel cot. It covers the top and one side of the cot, which shades my girl from the sun.
It has two strong handles, making it easy to carry. You can pack clothes, blankets, nappies and so on for a longer trip away.
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