The SleepSpace travel cot from new kid on the block BabyHub is one that stands out from the crowd.
The first thing you can’t help but notice is its unique design – it’s pyramid shaped. It also claims to be the world’s first travel cot that has a mosquito net cover that’s even safe for babies who can pull themselves to standing, because it secures at floor level. And if that’s not enough, once your little ones have outgrown it as a travel cot or playpen it can be turned into a play teepee.
Its innovation hasn’t gone unrecognised. The BabyHub SleepSpace travel cot was a British Inventors’ Project Finalist in 2016 and a Richard Branson’s Voom Semi-Finalist 2016.
But this is also reflected in the price tag. It’s at the top end of the travel cot market putting it alongside the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light (£199.99), that also claims you can put it up with one hand. And it faces competition from the slightly cheaper Phil & Teds Traveller Travel Cot (£159) that is a little taller than the SleepSpace and more compact when packed away. It’s also more than double the price of the lightweight Littlelife Arc 2 travel cot (£109.99) but this feels more like a tent and requires a bit more effort to put it together.
Buyer’s guide to travel cots
My eldest Ellis is 2 and a proper Houdini. I have to try and contain him when I’m putting my 9 month old, Theo, to bed or changing his nappy. Now Theo’s started crawling I also need something to keep him safe if I’ve got to leave the room for a minute.
The BabyHub SleepSpace describes itself as the ‘effortless mobile cot’. I’d say it’s a fairly accurate description as it is pretty easy to use and the folding mechanism is very clever. The only bit I found tricky was trying to secure the safety latches on two sides of the cot.
It’s also light enough for me to be able to fold up and move it out of the way, or into another room with one hand and I’m a fan of its sleek design.
Turning it into a teepee once your little ones grow out of it is an ingenious idea. The only problem I have now is that Ellis loves it so much I can’t turn it back into a travel cot. So you might want to wait until you’re sure they’re too big for it before you do.
Buy the SleepSpace travel cot from BabyHub and Amazon.
First impressions of the BabyHub SleepSpace travel cot?
This isn’t your average travel cot —for starters it is pyramid shaped and I loved the cool, clean design. It’s certainly not a case of style over substance as it’s very well made. The padding on the sides is thick and soft and it feels quite secure once it’s up. At 115cm x 94cm x 117cm it’s roomy, both Ellis and Theo could sit and play in it.
And it’s practical and been built with parents in mind — I was impressed at how easy it was to put up, take down and tidy away.
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How was it to assemble and how long did it take?
One of the major selling points of this cot is how simple it is to put up. I’m not great at following instructions but thankfully for me the travel cot is already assembled in the bag, I just had to open it out. It took a couple of minutes for me to put it up but this was mainly because I was trying to figure out how to pull the sides up and didn’t realise you need to press down the connected base. It also took me a while to lock the safety latches in place but this is a case of the more you use it the easier it becomes.
How many parts does it have?
The clever thing about this travel cot is that it already comes assembled so you don’t really have to worry about all the different parts. The only additional bits to it are the mosquito net, the padded mattress and the carry bag it comes in
The cot claims to be one-handed open/close – could you do it one-handed?
SleepSpace claim you can open and close it with one hand, allowing you to hold your baby while you’re doing it. I was a bit sceptical as to whether I’d be able to do it with Theo who’s a master at wriggling. Despite my doubts I managed to put it up, and down, with one hand and Theo in the other.
It would have been a lot more manageable if I hadn’t had to reach underneath the fabric to lock and unlock the safety catches. But I couldn’t get it into the bag while carrying Theo as I needed two hands to retract the poles and pack it in.
What is the mattress like?
The padded mattress is quite thick and definitely looks and feels more luxurious in comparison to the Red Kite Dreamer compact travel cot that I’ve also used. The instructions say you can use the SleepSpace without it but I can’t imagine it would be very comfortable for Ellis or Theo as they would be lying, or sitting, on the pull mechanism. And you can also use standard travel cot sheets with this mattress.
Does it feel comfortable for your little one?
Theo absolutely loves this travel cot. He gets very excited every time I put him in it so I can only assume it’s comfy. He doesn’t look squashed when he’s lying down. There’s ample space for quite a few toys, which is great as I’ve been able to leave him to play in it knowing that he’s happy and safe, giving me time to go for a shower or put the kettle on.
How portable is it?
The easy to fold mechanism makes this travel cot a doddle to move around. I opened and closed it several times a day and carried it into different rooms without any problem. And I can do it with one hand if I need to. Putting it away properly and into the bag to store it is a bit more difficult, although it’s still very simple, I just need to use both hands to do it.
Once it’s in the bag there’s a handy strap that lets me sling it across my shoulder making it comfortable to carry so I wouldn’t have a problem walking short distances with it. If you’re looking to take it abroad then you’d probably have to check it in separately as it folds down to 88cm x 31cm x 30cm.
What is the weight of the travel cot – is it light/heavy?
The SleepSpace travel cot weighs in at 6kg. It’s exactly the same weight as the Baby Bjorn Travel Cot Light is when it’s in its bag. It’s by no means the lightest on the market, the Phil and Teds Traveller Travel Cot is 3.2kg and the LittleLife Arc 2 is a mere 2.5kg. But I can still easily pick it up and carry it round my flat.
Would you use it from newborn?
The SleepSpace feels sturdy and secure so I’d feel confident to use it from birth. It has mesh sides so you can see your baby at all times and a zip side access so you can open it up and comfort your baby if you need to without taking them out. It also means you don’t have to be constantly bending over to get them out, something my dodgy back appreciated.
Will it last to 3 years?
BabyHub says that the SleepSpace can be used from birth up to 36 months (or 15kg/ 33lbs). This is a well-made travel cot that looks built to last so I’d be very surprised if it didn’t in terms of quality. As to whether Ellis would still be able to sleep or play in it up to the age of three is a different story.
The first time I put it up in our living room he managed to stand on the fabric and was using the poles to try to pull himself over the top and into the SleepSpace. I’d be nervous about him trying to climb out of it from the inside but the pyramid shape does make more stable it harder for him to try and tip it over. But I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t still happily play with it as a teepee, especially as it’s now his new favourite toy. I’m sure we’ll get plenty of wear out of it yet.
How easy is it to clean?
The mosquito netting and all the side covers are fully removable, machine washable at 30°C and drip-dry. So you don’t need to worry if your baby is sick or has a leaky nappy. The extra padded mat can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Is the mosquito net a useful addition?
Definitely. If you’re planning to take the travel cot abroad on holiday with you, or go camping, or just take it out into the garden then it’s great for keeping creepy crawlies at bay. Putting the mosquito netting over the travel cot is simple, it has elasticated sides that drape over it and reach the floor and it can be secured in place with the ties at the bottom.
What did you think of the play teepee?
I love the idea of being able to transform the travel cot into a play teepee. It’s a great way to utilise the space and give the product extra shelf life. Clearly I wasn’t the only fan. The hardest part of putting up the teepee was trying to stop Ellis from climbing into it before it was ready. Once it was up he chucked some balloons and blocks into it and disappeared inside, along with his teddy. He then proceeded to play with them in his new den, refusing to let Theo, or anyone else, come in. The teepee comes with a padded mat so he was nice and comfy which made getting him to eventually come out for dinner a bit of a challenge. The teepee pack is also available in the same four colours as the travel cot. And the cotton canvas cover is designed so they can draw on it with washable marker pens, although I have to admit we have white walls so I wasn’t brave enough to let the boys unleash their inner artists just yet.
What’s in the box?
- A bag containing the travel cot
- Mosquito net
- Padded mattress
- Teepee pack with padded mattress is available to buy separately (£29.99)
Is it easy/hard to set up the product?
The instructions were fairly straightforward but I found it helpful to watch the video on the product’s website. Once I’d got the hang of it setting up the travel cot it literally took me about 30 seconds. But it took me quite a few goes to be able to do it. The travel cot is already put together so all you need to do is pull up the telescoping white top, open out the legs, push down on the centre of the base and click the safety latches on each side of the cot into place.
SleepSpace reckon that you can secure the latches without removing the fabric. There are small black circles to show you where they’re located. But I found it a struggle and ended up having to put my hand underneath the fabric to do it. I was also unsure as to whether I’d actually clicked the latches in place on two of the sides. After using the SleepSpace a few times it got easier as I knew what I was feeling for but I still had to go underneath the fabric to click the latches into place and undo them again.
Transforming the travel cot into a teepee does require a screwdriver as you have to remove the middle frame from the main A frame. Then you just throw the teepee cover over the top of the frame and secure it with the ties. It was still fairly simple, although it would have been more helpful if the instructions had pictures to go with them. Again I ended up watching the video to try and fathom it out.
Who would the product be most useful for?
This travel cot is ideal for people who use them a lot and don’t want any hassle putting them up and down. It’s also great if you’re a fan of camping or plan to travel to exotic places as it comes with a mosquito net. And the side zip access is a brilliant design feature for people with bad backs as it saves you having to constantly bend down.
Is it good value for money?
The Babyhub SleepSpace travel cot retails at £194.99. You have to buy the tepee pack separately, it’s an extra £49.99. But the company is currently running a special offer of a £20 discount if you buy the two together.
There’s no getting away from the fact that it’s expensive compared to some of the other travel cots on the market but you’re paying for quality and convenience. And it also really depends what you want it for. If it’s something you’d use a lot then it’s worth forking out the extra for. But if you’re after a travel cot for occasional use, unless money isn’t an issue, there are much cheaper travel cots around that do the job just as well like the Red Kite Sleeptight Travel Cot (£39.99).
This multifunctional luxury travel cot is super easy to put up and carry around with one hand, making it brilliant for everyday use or on the go. It’s high quality, stylish, innovative design comes with a hefty price tag but if you’re not on a budget then it’s worth every penny. And the option to transform it into a teepee once you’re done gives it a whole new lease of life.
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