Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib review
In a nutshell
A stylish and comfy bedside crib that ticks lots of boxes and wins on safety features, but could be easier to operate
What we tested
4.8A star rating of 4.8 out of 5.
- Ease of cleaning
3.8A star rating of 3.8 out of 5.
0.0A star rating of 0.0 out of 5.
0.0A star rating of 0.0 out of 5.
4.4A star rating of 4.4 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Easy to see baby inside, can be used as co-sleeper or standalone crib, good value for money, easy to attach to most beds, comfy, tilt function, portable
- Drop-down side is hard to use in situ, tricky to fit into the travel bag, no rocking function
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Chicco is a trusted worldwide brand with over 60 years' experience designing baby essentials like cribs, highchairs, carriers and toys. It's perhaps most well known for the range of co-sleeping bedside cribs, including the original best-seller Chicco Next2Me, £171. The collection also includes the newer Next2Me Magic, £219 and Next2Me Dream, £209 – all offering a similar bedside set-up with differing features.
The Chicco Next2Me Air, £189, stands out from other offerings thanks to the transparent mesh paneling on all four sides of the crib, which not only makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on their sleeping baby but also aids breathability.
Gema used the cot for her daughter from the ages of 4 weeks to 7 months.
What were your first impressions of the Chicco Next2Me Air beside crib?
First impressions as I unboxed the crib were that a) it’s very well packed, and b) although there weren’t too many parts, the instructions could have been clearer. I would have loved to have seen a QR code linking to assembly videos.
How is the Next2Me Air different to the original Chicco Next2Me bedside crib?
Chicco’s original Next2Me crib was the first co-sleeping crib released in the UK and is, arguably, still the best known on the market. The Next2Me Air offers many of the same features. Both models:
- Can be used as a co-sleeper, a standalone crib, or travel cot
- Adjust to 6 different bed heights, with retractable feet to ensure a snug fit with divans or drawer-base beds
- Have 2 wheels for portability, and the same weight and dimensions
- Can be tilted slightly to help with reflux and congestion
The main difference here is that the Air model features mesh panels on all four sides of the crib – this is designed to provide better ventilation, helping to regulate temperature throughout the night. It also allows parents to see baby at all times: a feature loved by many online reviewers.
How easy is the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib to assemble?
It would be silly to suggest this is hard to set up, as there are relatively few pieces in the box. But it is a little fiddly. Personally, I found the printed instructions a bit vague, and relied instead on various videos I found online. I'd say that if you're a dab-hand at DIY, and unfazed by flat-pack furniture, this will probably be a breeze to put together.
The crib arrives with the fabric parts already attached to the frame. On one hand this means there’s less to do, but on the other you then have to work out how to pull the fabric back to reveal the frame before clicking it in place. The instructions could be better – again, I’d say online videos are a much more useful resource.
How well does the Next2Me Air crib fix to your bed?
It was relatively easy to fix to the side of the bed using the 2 straps provided. The crib has 6 different height positions so it's adaptable to most beds. Although it wasn’t completely flush with our bed it didn’t cause too much of a problem.
It also has flexible ‘feet’, that mean it works when attached to a bed with drawers underneath, as in my photo. We couldn’t get the feet under the bed owing to the pull-out drawers, but it still worked with the feet at a slight angle to accommodate that.
There’s no denying it’s well-made – it feels strong and sturdy attached to the side of the bed, and the fixtures, like the zips and buttons, are all well thought out.
What age is the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib suitable for?
This crib is suitable from birth to 6 months, or 9kg, whichever comes first. I started to use this cot when baby was a month old, in our bedroom, and continued to use it until she reached 7 months. By the end I was pushing it – in terms of size, and her new interest in turning over and sitting up. As per the safety instructions, once baby can do those things it’s time to upgrade to something bigger and sturdier.
Did your baby seem comfortable in the Chicco Next2Me Air crib?
I think baby was quite comfortable in there – we didn’t have any complaints! The mattress passed the firmness test with flying colours. I also think she felt calmer knowing she could see us.
The only thing we have to compare it with was a Moses basket we used briefly. I can’t say she slept better or worse in either, but if you’re comparing this with a Moses basket, then it’s an obvious winner from a convenience point of view. While mine wasn’t a particularly fussy baby, other reviewers have shared that babies who point blank refused to sleep in a Moses basket have “slept like a dream” in the Next2Me Air.
As far as ventilation is concerned, during the hot weather we pointed a fan at the side of the crib and there was no difference to the air temperature inside, suggesting that the fabric still doesn’t promote air passing through the mesh fabric.
How easy is it to access your baby in the Chicco Next2Me Air crib when they’re asleep?
I feel it was very easy to reach over and soothe her but picking her up was a bit of an effort – purely because leaning sideways to pick up a baby isn’t good for the back (or the C-section scar, if you have one!).
Other reviewers have said that having their baby at the same height as them makes night-time breastfeeds much easier, and that the crib makes it easy to stroke or soothe their baby back to sleep when they wake.
When used as a standalone crib it’s relatively easy to get baby out – I think it’s more a case of making sure you’re bending at the knees and picking baby up correctly from a posture point of view.
How easy is it to lower the side on the Chicco Next2Me Air crib? Can you do it one-handed?
After assembling the cot, we only ever used it with the side down. There seemed little point in putting it back up when we only ever used it when we were there with her.
Another reason we left the side down is that it’s a little fiddly to do. You need both hands, and the zip can be a little stiff, so if you’re trying to minimise movement and noise, it’s better to leave it down all the time.
Also, you need a little space between the crib and the bed to fold the side down and under, so you need to move the whole thing away from the bed every time you want to put the side up or down. As the instructions state: “When the product is installed, no gaps must be present between the lowered rail of the crib and parent’s mattress.”
Since I got this model new safety standards have been introduced, including a requirement for bedside cots to have a 120mm-high barrier around the all sides of the crib to ensure your baby can’t roll off their own mattress onto yours. This means new bedside cribs can no longer have complete drop-down sides – many now have ‘half-height’ walls instead.
How easy is it to see your baby in the Chico Next2Me Air bedside crib?
In a word, very. The mesh fabric means you can still see baby (without getting out of bed yourself!) whether the sides are up or down. This feature is really popular among other online reviewers, and first-time parents in particular will find it really reassuring.
How portable is the Chicco Next2Me Air crib and how easy is it to store?
This is also touted as a versatile crib that can be easily packed up and carried around. It goes without saying that you’ll get quicker at assembling it and putting it away with practice. But, for the first time, I’d say to put aside a minimum of 30 minutes to put it together, with help from someone else. I made the rookie error of putting it together in the lounge, before struggling upstairs to finish it. Don’t do what I did: unbox and assemble next to the bed!
There are two wheels with brakes and anti-slip feet – so in theory you could wheel it from room to room, but we didn’t try that. Personally we found it a bit of a faff to fold it all down and move it around, so carried on using the Moses basket for naps in different rooms.
The crib comes with a carry bag and we did pack it up once to visit relatives, but found it a little tricky to fit it in. Most of the time the crib was attached to the side of the bed, with the side rolled down for easy access.
Does the Chicco Next2Me Air crib rock or tilt?
It doesn’t have a rocking function – once set up it’s static. If you’re looking for a crib that rocks, then there’s the Next2Me Magic or Next2Me Dream.
The crib can be tilted to aid digestion and help with reflux, as well as help with congestion. I can’t comment on how effective this is, as my baby didn’t have either. If you need to, the instructions are clear on how to make it tilt, and it claims to be quite effective. I know one mum who didn’t think it made a difference to her baby’s reflux, but other reviewers have been more positive. Another tester, Jayne, said: “I absolutely adore this bed and would recommend it to anyone. My son had a stridor so having him slightly inclined (with GP’s okay) was a lifesaver.”
How robust and durable does the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib feel?
I noticed a couple of reviews commenting it felt a little wobbly, but I’d disagree. The only time I started to think it wasn’t robust enough for her was when she started trying to turn over, but the cot isn’t intended for babies who can roll over and sit unaided anyway.
If you’re planning to use it as a standalone crib, the side that folds down is as sturdy as the other three when erect.
How easy is the Chicco Next2Me Air crib to keep clean?
The mattress cover was as easy to remove and wash as with any other type of mattress cover, and the rest of the cot was also very easy to keep clean – but maybe that’s because we didn’t have any major accidents! The whole thing was easy to either spot clean, or machine wash with the cover removed.
Does the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib have any built-in storage?
No, you don’t get any extra storage with this crib, but I did keep a few useful baby bits directly underneath in the gap.
What would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib?
I’d recommend parents pay attention to the dimensions of the crib in relation to the bedroom and bed, and make sure they have enough space to move around everything. It’s worth double checking it’s compatible with your bed too. The box states:
- Do not use the product if the mattress of your bed has a height lower than 49 cm from the ground or exceeding 64 cm.
- Do not use the product with beds featuring containers / drawers with base protruding by over 8 cm from the mattress.
- Do not use the product with beds featuring protruding edges by over 18 cm from the mattress.
- The upper surface of the frame must have a maximum of height 38 cm.
What’s in the box?
- Carry bag
What extra accessories can you buy?
Mattress protector and mattress cover or fitted sheets. I feel these are essential, both in terms of practicality and comfort. These are available from Chicco, but there are some good-value non-branded options out there too.
Is the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib worth the money?
Cots can start from around £40 and go up to over £1,00 for a high-end luxury model like the SNOO; this one sits at a relatively affordable £189. Given that this ticks a lot of boxes, minus a rocking function, I think the price is right for what you’re getting, and if that’s in your budget, then it’s a good buy. It also retains some value if and when you want to sell it on.
How does it compare to other similar cribs on the market?
|Product name||Weight (Kg)||Enhanced breathability (Y/N)||Dimensions (Hcm x Wcm x Lcm)||RRP (£)|
|Chicco Next2Me Air||9 kg||Yes||66 x 69 x 84cm||£189|
|Chicco Next2Me Magic||13.9 kg||No||66.5 x 73 x 99.5cm||£239|
|SnuzPod4||11.5 kg||Yes||95 x 49 x 100cm||£199.95|
|Kinderkraft Neste-Up||9.9 kg||No||90 x 57 x 52.5cm||£99|
Where can you buy the Chicco Next2Me Air bedside crib?
The Chicco Next2Me Air is a good investment if you like the idea of co-sleeping, and want to do it in a safe way. It’s a well-made piece of kit that feels reassuringly sturdy and gives you easy access to baby, plus enhanced breathability. Its size makes it suitable for occasional travel or overnight stays and, aside from the assembly instructions, and the fact that the drop-down side is tricky to operate in situ, it’s easy to use. The ability to see baby clearly is also a popular feature with review
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||H:66cm–81cm W:94cm D:69cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:20cm W:57cm|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 6 months|
|Child weight||Up to 9kg|
|Sleep height positions||6|
|Drop down / Removable side||Yes|