There can be many things you need to consider before purchasing a travel cot. The length of time you plan to use it, its portability, if you want to use it for more than sleeping or if you need to protect your child from insects, are only a few things to think about before purchasing.
Saying that, a travel cot is the kind of product that gains approval by doing its job conveniently and without fuss. But the Nuna SENA’s price tag and bold look demands a little more than reliability to justify its purchase.
Nuna’s emphasis on certifiably green, high concept design and the short, capitalised names of their products all feels very Scandinavian. But it’s not, geographically speaking Nuna has its roots in the Netherlands.
While the shortest wander around their website confirms that this is a company that takes chilled out parenting very seriously. They base their product line around what they call the ‘most basic moments of raising kids: eating, napping, hanging out and traveling.’ And they are very good at it, too!
The SENA is one of many Nuna products to snatch a clutch of awards and nominations, including the Gold for Best Travel Product over £25 at the Mother and Baby awards 2014, and the Bronze in the Best Travel Cot category at the Prima Baby Awards 2014.
What’s in the box?
Any additional extras?
- Certified Oeko-Tex fitted waterproof sheet – £27
- Insect net- £19.99
If you’re looking for a travel cot that comes with a toy bar to keep little one amused, this isn’t for you. Apart from the SENA sheet there are no options to buy additional accessories.
The SENA looks fantastic, far from the traditional mesh box (which always feels like a slightly depressing addition to any room when you’re away. The cot looks like a sports car engineer has designed it. It’s got an alloy frame that diagonally braces the cot, the feet are broad and chunky, and the whole thing just manages to look slick in any room whilst somehow remaining incredibly practical, too.
Is it easy to assemble?
Yes it is, Nuna say the SENA is ‘the only travel cot you can fold with one hand’, which is certainly a jazzy claim, though you do wonder what circumstance would demand such a need (bottle preparation, yes; bib fastening, yes; travel cot folding, probably not). And anyway, the subsequent actions of collapsing the supplied mattress and stowing the cot most certainly demand both hands.
But that’s nit-picking: essentially the message here is that the SENA is easy and lightning- quick to fold, which it most definitely is. This is particularly handy when vacuuming around the cot, when you need to shift it out of the way in a hurry or stow (it free-stands on its feet when folded.)
Is it easy to out up and down?
It is very easy to put up and collapse, with none of the fiddling, waggling and rattling of concealed buttons that so frequently plagues cheaper travel cots. Breakdown follows the well-proven principles of a grab handle in the middle of the base, and the mattress folds around the collapsed cot and slides into the supplies drawstring case for transport.
Can you move it around the house?
Not really, I have no reservations about having it up permanently in the house as well as when on the road. But portability isn’t its strongest point; it is quite heavy. That said, the ease of unfolding and packing makes this trade-off one I’m willing to accept.
Saying that, Nuna make a smaller version of the SENA – the SENA Mini (£120) – so if you’re happy to trade size for portability, this could be your best buy, especially if you are tight for space.
How comfortable is the SENA?
Very! Using this for three-month-old Evelyn was easy and she took to it very quickly. You get a posh mattress that is stiffened using two alloy rods, and crucially a bassinet attachment that – once you get the hang of it – is easy to fit and feels a lot more stable than more rickety models.
This is good for a baby up to 15Ibs and folds with the frame, too, which is massively useful. There’s acres of space inside but the quilted design of the mattress was comfortable and discouraged our little one from sliding about.
The base sits a few inches off the ground that successfully avoids floor-level draughts, and the top features ‘safety sides’ that are rounded and soft. It’s incredibly sturdy, too – eight feet means its quiet and solid. Combined with the safety-first Oeko-Tex fabric,it’s difficult to imagine Evelyn coming to any harm in there.
Is it compact when folded?
Yes, it is bulky when collapsed. Compared to my Argos Travel Cot it is a giant, though the two are of relatively similar size when up. The drawstring bag is also baggy, making it untidy when folded away.
Is it easy to clean?
No, it is not. I have fears about spilling something on that lovely mattress as cleaning it would be difficult, so I’d definitely recommend buying the SENA sheet for protection.
The distinctive diagonal struts means that visibility out of the cot isn’t as good as more ‘open’ mesh travel cots, but I’m grateful for the sturdiness they give and if this design enables it to be easier to put up and collapse, I’ll take it.
Is it value for money?
In terms of a long-term buy that you will continue to benefit from as your little one grows, the SENA is worth the £150 price tag. I left it up in the living room as a safe place to pop Evelyn while I attended to various chores and can see this becoming more valuable as she gets older and more inquisitive.
How does it compare to other travel cots?
In terms of its competition, it’s worth looking at the products that beat it into Bronze position in the Prima Baby Awards: joint Gold were Phil and Ted’s Traveller (£160) and the BabyBjörn Travel Cot Light (£200) and Silver was won by Chicco’s Next2Me (£149.99).
All of these have their own benefits – be it featherlight weight in the case of the two winners, or specialised side-sleeping abilities with the Chicco. But I personally would take the SENA’s stability, simplicity and versatility over these other cots any day, so for me it’s a winner.
Made for Mums verdict
Pricey but worth it, the SENA is a worthwhile long-term investment for parents who want a versatile cot with playpen potential which won’t bring your room down. Check it fits your car boot, though!