When your baby first arrives, leaving the house seems a long way off. But soon you’ll want to go visiting grandparents, or taking your tot on his first holiday, and he’ll need somewhere to sleep. A travel cot will keep your baby safe and comfortable when sleeping away from home. Some are superbly portable, while others are bigger but convert into a handy playpen. Here’s what our mums recommend you think about before you buy.
Is it comfy?
“If you want your baby to doze off easily in a strange place, his travel cot needs to be really comfortable and feel safe. I find some of the mattresses a bit thin so you might want to buy an extra one to bulk it up. We have a Mamas& Papas one that we pad it out with an extra mattress, which seems to do the trick.”
Joanne Bennett, 34, from Hayes, mum to Sonny, 1
Does it have clear instructions?
“Some companies print the instructions on the cot itself which doesn’t sound like an amazing bonus but when you can’t remember the last time you put it up, it’s so handy to be able to remind yourself instantly. Ours was printed on the mattress which was perfect.”
Lynn O’Neill, 34, from Belfast, mum to Alix, 9 months
- Buyer’s guide to travel cots
- 10 of the best travel cots
- Buyer’s guide to buying secondhand cots, cribs, cotbeds and travel cots
How will you transport it?
“Is it heavy? Can you carry it? It’s crucial to think about if you use public transport, but if you drive you might have the space to get a bigger version that’ll last a bit longer.”
Hattie Madeley, 24, from Hertfordshire, mum to Sam, 1
How much travelling will it do?
“If it’s going to be a cot you can leave set up with grandparents, you might want a more sturdy option. My parents have my daughter once a week so we got a Cosatto that doubles as a play pen. It’s permanently set up, but we can still borrow it if needs be.”
Michelle Brown, 27, from Liverpool, mum to Melodie, 7 months
How fuss-free is it?
“When you’re going on holiday, or have to take your baby somewhere, there’s always so much to think about. I have the Bush Baby Pop-Up travel cot and it’s so good because it just springs right up when we need it.”
Andrea Eastmond, 33, mum to Edward, 16 months
Is it easy to put up?
“Try putting it together before you buy, because there’s nothing worse than a screaming baby who just wants to go to sleep and two parents arguing over the instructions. We had a go in the shop and picked a Graco because it was the easiest to put up.”
Fiona Westcombe, 22, from Holyhead, mum to Laura, 18 months
Do you want the extras?
“Our travel cot easily converts into a playpen, which is fab when we stay in a hotel. You can also get extras like a mosquito net if you’re going abroad, or iPod speakers. They make it more expensive but can be worth it.”
Sarah Frank, 38, from Havant, mum to Sally-Anne, 3, and Elliott, 1