In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Travel Cribs

By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
Tuesday September 7, 2021
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We start our process by researching possible contenders for the review, and we make our selections based on online reviews, popularity, or interesting, unique products we feel deserve possible recognition. Product testing begins with assembly and moves to side-by-side testing and comparisons before being used in the real world.

Testing Ease of Use


When evaluating products for ease of use, we looked primarily at the length of time it takes to set up and take down each product and how difficult it is to fit it in the bag, and follow the users' manual.

Being able to quickly and efficiently set up your crib/play yard...
Being able to quickly and efficiently set up your crib/play yard could be the difference between a restful night sleep away from home and a frustrated parent with a crabby baby.
Credit: Curtis Smith

We also consider the cleaning method and whether or not keeping the crib clean will be a challenge given the materials, design, or cleaning method.

Testing Portability


How easy it is to transport a portable crib for travel is a key metric to this gear category. This includes the overall carry weight of the products as well as their shape and overall measurements. Weight and Size are critical when it comes to selecting a portable crib. We weigh and measure each product in the same way with the same device using the same tester for accuracy and an apple to apple comparison. We also considered the type of carrying handles, including the design, placement, comfort, and whether or not you will be able to carry the unit for longer distances or fit it in smaller spaces. If it isn't good for travel, then it isn't a great travel-style crib.

A key test for a travel crib is how well it fits in your car, on the...
A key test for a travel crib is how well it fits in your car, on the plane, or in Grandma's closet. The BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light shape makes it convenient when you move it from one location to another.
Credit: Curtis Smith

Testing Comfort


We evaluated mattress design and materials, cover fabric, and how much potential support the mattress might provide under the baby's weight. If it depresses easily, leaving the baby resting on a hard bottom, it earned fewer points. If it is soft but firm and thick enough to prevent sore spots, it earned more points. We also tested for parent comfort and how difficult it is to bend into the crib to lay baby to sleep or comfort them in the middle of the night. Cribs with the lowest overall height and wider openings are the most comfortable for parents, especially those who are more petite or extraordinarily tall.

High-quality stitching and attention to detail design, like that...
High-quality stitching and attention to detail design, like that found on the 4moms Breeze, impact overall durability and the longevity of the product over time.
Credit: Lindsay Smith

Testing Quality


We observed and compared each crib's design and materials, the construction and possible defects or opportunities for easy damage, and the manufacturer's attention to detail and quality control. These cribs can take a beating, getting packed and unpacked hundreds of times, thrown in and out of the car, not to mention the abuse they may take in a baggage terminal at the airport. While any product alone may be difficult to judge for quality, all eight products side-by-side are easy to assess for quality and construction differences that will influence longevity and durability.

With a commitment to providing safe materials and obtaining...
With a commitment to providing safe materials and obtaining certifications concerning being free from potentially harmful chemicals, the Guava Family (makers of the Lotus Travel Crib) are making substantial strides in the industry.
Credit: Curtis Smith

Rating Eco-health


Providing a safe area for your child to sleep and play while on the go is one of the primary reasons to purchase a travel crib. A baby should be as safe when sleeping away from home as they are in their full-size crib at home. For eco-health, we considered whether or not the manufacturers used flame retardant chemicals or other harmful substances in their products' design or production. We considered how transparent the company website is and whether or not the products have been reviewed, tested, or certified for chemicals or lack of chemicals. Higher scores were given to products with certifications, and lower scores were earned by those that failed to address the elephant in the room at all.