Last summer our family went on an all inclusive trip to Turkey.
It was the perfect holiday for Mia, as food is provided any time you like, so my wife and I can relax a bit, and get some sun!
Although Mia was too young for the kids club (which is normally from 4 upwards), she joined in at the evening kids disco every day of the holiday.
She’s got some moves!
We came up with an effective daily routine to ensure we could spend time together, and for my wife and I to each have some time to relax.
What do you think?
Morning: Eat breakfast, go to the beach, and then have lunch
Early afternoon: Mia had a nap with me in the hotel room, Sasha had some time to herself by the adult swimming pool.
Late afternoon: Sasha and Mia played together by the kids swimming pool. I had some time to relax by myself by the adult swimming pool (I actually did a bit of tennis on some days!)
Evening: Have dinner, go to the kids disco, Mia goes to bed. Either Sasha or I stay with her, while the other goes to the bar and checks out the evening entertainment
Anyway, the bed Mia slept in was a travel crib provided by the hotel and I was amazed at how quickly they could assemble it and put it together.
Of all the different types of cribs, many parents decide to buy a travel crib for their children, as they are usually portable, lightweight and quick to assemble.
Alternatively, there is a product called a pack ‘n play which offers similar benefits, as well as some other options.
So which is the best one for you and your family?
I will look at 2 products for your to consider (one of each type)
- Lotus Travel Crib (a popular travel crib )
- Baby Trend Nursery Center (a highly rated pack n play product)
What Is A Travel Crib?
Most people are familiar with a regular crib that is set up at all times in the nursery for the baby to sleep in. These are large and incredibly sturdy pieces of furniture that are designed to stay in position, to keep the baby safe, and to prevent them from injury.
While they are great for permanent use in a nursery, they are not the ideal solution for parents to use when traveling with their child.
A travel crib, on the other hand, is perfectly designed to meet this need. Travel cribs tend to have thicker mattresses (more so than pack ‘n plays), which makes them perfect for getting a child to take a nap or fall asleep. They also often zip down on the sides, allowing parents to play on the floor with their child.
These are highly portable options that tend to be a great choice for a lot of parents who are either regularly on the go or simply want a smaller permanent bed option for their child.
What Is A Pack ‘n Play?
A pack ‘n play is a type of play yard that is portable, durable, and great for children to either use for sleeping or for when they need to be contained in a safe location for play.
They tend to be heavier than travel cribs, which is great for when they are going to be set up in a more permanent capacity, but this can make it a little more difficult to travel with the pack ‘n play due to the excess weight.
They often come with bassinets that can fit on the top of the pack ‘n play, which is great for parents who want to keep their child near them in the night and be able to easily reach them when they cry. This also means that they can easily grow with the child as his or her needs change.
Additionally, they are great to be used not only indoors, but also outside in the shade if the baby needs to take a nap near the family or simply play safely on their own.
While they do have a mattress, it does tend to be very thin, which prevents it from being the most comfortable option. However, they are easy to wash due to the materials used in their construction, which is great for any child who gets sick.
While pack ‘n plays used to be the gold standard for use when traveling with a child, their heavy weight has always been an issue for some people.
They still remain a great option for use in permanent locations around the home, either in a nursery or closer to the family in the family room. Because they are so sturdy and durable, it is perfectly safe to leave a child in the pack ‘n play for naps or solo play.
What Should You Consider When Buying Either Product?
One of the first things to consider when shopping for a travel crib or pack ‘n play is your budget.
It can be really easy to overspend on baby gear, especially for a first child.
Additionally, think about how the equipment will be used and how easily it can be moved.
Pack ‘n plays are commonly used in more permanent locations around the home because of their heavy weight making them harder to take with you.
Travel cribs, on the other hand, tend to be much lighter, making them great for the family who is always on the go.
Travel Cribs – Pros and Cons
- Thicker mattress is designed to ensure a great night’s sleep
- Very easy to set up and to take down due to the lighter weight of the crib
- Easy to wash when it gets dirty
- Folds up easily for carrying and for storage
- Mesh walls allow for unobstructed views and breathability
- Tend to be much more expensive
- Can be difficult to set up at first, thanks to the use of a lot of Velcro tabs
Here’s a top rated travel crib (Lotus Travel Crib) which is a great option if you want something safe, lightweight, affordable and easy to transport.
Pack ‘n Play – Pros and Cons
- Often have additional features such as a bassinet
- Folds up easily for carrying and storage
- More affordable than most travel cribs
- Can be used for many years as the baby grows up
- Mesh walls allow for unobstructed views and breathability
- Thinner mattress can be a little uncomfortable
- Very heavy and difficult to carry
The Baby Trend Nursery Center is definitely worth considering if you think a pack ‘n play style product is a better option than a travel crib. It’s sturdy, easy to assemble and inexpensive.
Lotus Travel Crib vs Baby Trend Nursery Center – Which is more popular?
As you can see, both products are quite popular with parents, with the Lotus Travel Crib just edging it.
How do I make sure that my baby is safe in either a pack ‘n play or a travel crib?
Both pack ‘n plays and travel cribs need to be treated like a regular crib. This means that children shouldn’t be allowed to take pillows or stuffed animals with them when they sleep. Additionally, they need to be set up away from electrical cords and window cords for safety.
Which is more portable?
Generally speaking, travel cribs are much more portable than pack ‘n plays are, due to their lower weight. They can usually be folded down into smaller sizes for storage and carrying, which is great for a parent who will be traveling on their own.
Do they come with accessories?
While it’s possible to buy sheets and some other accessories for travel cribs, pack ‘n plays are going to have more choices for parents who are looking for an attachable bassinet or changing table. These accessories can help parents use this piece of furniture as the main crib in the nursery.
Are they safe for long periods of use?
As long as there is plenty of airflow, the baby isn’t at risk of suffocation due to additional items in the travel crib or pack ‘n play. Both of these options are just as safe as a traditional crib.
Graham runs the place around here. He likes making a “little noise” about all things to do with tennis and parenting. Check out his about page to learn more.