Angelcare JourneyBee Portable Crib Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
Angelcare is a manufacturer of all kinds of baby, products and has been in business since 1997. At one time the company was primarily focused on sound, video and movement monitors, but over time has expanded their product line. In late 2013, Angelcare and Parentlab merged, and the Parentlab Journey Bee Portable Crib was rebranded. With the merger, Angelcare added a portable crib to their range of baby products. The Journey Bee is a lightweight travel crib with a unique "pop open" design that literally sets itself up. For more details, see our full review below, and don't forget to check out our Best Movement Monitor Review for more Angelcare products.
Weight and Size
This was the lightest travel crib we tested at 12lbs 4oz. Due to its unique design, the overall packaged shape is quite wide at 32" and long at 28.5". Our testers found traveling with the Journey Bee to be cumbersome. For instance, when the shoulder strap is used to carry the bag, the user must turn sideways to fit through a standard size door. We liked the ability to store the crib under a bed at home due to its low 6.5" height, but finding a place to stow it in a car, particularly a compact car, was a challenge. We love the low weight but the overall shape of the packaged crib brings the score down in this category.
Ease of Use
This portable crib literally sets itself up, once the crib is removed from the storage bag and the retaining strap is removed. It utilizes thin supports, similar to tent poles, that allow the crib to coil in on itself for storage, and then spring into shape for set up. Folding up the crib is a bit more difficult, but after doing it a few times we were able to get the hang of it. The mattress slides into a sleeve on the bottom of the unit and then the sheet attaches via Velcro to the bottom of the crib. Unfortunately, the crib sheet is made of fleece and sticks to the Velcro, making attachment to the crib bottom quite frustrating. Due to the crib sheet, and awkward fold up packing procedure, the Journey Bee scored lower than other ultra lightweight cribs in our review, like the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light winner of our Editors' Choice Award.
The mattress on this bed is quite firm and our testers found it to lack the comfort provided by other models such as the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light. The Velcro sheet was frequently pulled up during testing, exposing the rough Velcro side, which made for a less-than-comfy sleeping experience. With an overall low top rail height, getting your child in and out of the crib is easy, but we found that the top rail folded inward with pressure, and that made us a bit uneasy.
The overall quality is not quite on par with high-end travel cribs such as the Lotus Travel Crib. We had no problems with durability during testing, but there is no escaping that the design of the Journey Bee would be more prone to damage from rowdy kids than the designs utilized by the other cribs we tested. The carry bag is made of a thinner material than other cribs we tested and most likely wouldn't last nearly as long either.
We scored the JourneyBee a 2 of 10 in safety for several reasons. We have concerns with the potential for the crib sheet to be pulled free of the crib base, potentially creating a hazardous sleep environment. We are also disappointed about the absence of full-length mesh from crib base to top rail. All of the other travel cribs in this review have this important feature. In addition, our testers were uneasy with the flexible sides that can be pulled inward by a baby trying to stand up. As well, the top rails are not sturdy enough to be used by a toddler for balance. Though it is unlikely that the crib could tip over, we feel that there is too much risk that its sidewalls could potentially fold in on a standing child.
In terms of material safety, the product tags on the Angelcare, indicate compliance with TB 117, so it is highly likely that the mattress foam is treated with flame-retardants which potentially exposes babies and children unnecessarily to suspect synthetic chemicals. Our highest rated products in this category have made a concerted point of using healthier materials free of flame-retardants and other chemicals.
We envision the JourneyBee for use as a standby crib that can be stored at a place where your child may occasionally spend the night. It is lightweight and easy to store under a bed as well as set up and take down. Though it is convenient for sleep overs at grandparent's house, we feel strongly that it is not ideal for frequent use as a play yard due to its lack of stability and that use should be monitored closely by a caregiver.
List price has changed by half. At an original List of $200, it is now $100 and definitely a better value. It is definitely on the lighter side, but unfortunately has a bulky, unusually shaped fold which makes it not as easy to travel with. Most importantly, we'd like to see many improvements in the area of safety by Angelcare (as outlined above) before we'd recommend this travel crib highly.
This is a lightweight crib with a unique pop open design. We like the concept, but when exposed to real world use, it falls short of its competitors. The packaged product is difficult to travel with due to its dimensions, and it lacks stability and full-length mesh, which we feel is important for creating an optimal sleeping environment. With a few modifications to the design and the implementation of better materials free of chemical flame-retardants, we would be more likely to recommend the product.
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