Crib Shopping Guide

When shopping for a travel crib, there are a few design considerations that need to be looked at to ensure one has invested in a quality product. Looking over several key components can rule out the bad travel crib purchases from the better models, but what separates the better travel cribs from the rest?

Brand Matters…Somewhat

There are certain brand names that have taken position in the baby product market that can generally be trusted, and some need to be re-examined altogether. Without slinging mud, there is one particular brand that was well-established until being bought out by another conglomerate (this happens all the time of course). The brand equity is simply not what it used to be.

How can you know if brand equity has been lost in a travel crib? In a word: customer reviews. Although it may seem counter-productive, seeking out the bad news first is a great way to get a feel for a loss in quality in a brand name – which is the inherent danger of becoming a loyalist.

In addition to re-thinking the view of a “trusted brand” (unless it is a proven, consistent trust), what other factors should parents consider in their travel cribs?

Stability

Many travel cribs have a history of recalls for safety reasons, and to be fair, most manufacturers make necessary corrections. With a travel bed for babies, however, it’s necessary to read up on a brand to be sure no current problems and complaints exist regarding stability of the crib.

Will it fold up once set up? Will it collapse with the baby in it? Can the child push it over by pressing on a wall (as toddlers are likely to do)?

Travel cribs need to be light, but sturdy to be safe for babies. Only consistent reviews and a bit of research can uncover these details.

Organic Materials

With the use of manufacturing plants and man-made materials, the chemicals used in many portable cribs is left wanting. Some parents complain of leaking colors from the mattress of certain models, others claim there is a “plastic smell” emanating from the material.

When it comes to baby products, organic is best. There are three standards to watch for to be safe:

1) ASTM F406-7: The American standard set for children’s beds and furniture.
2) EN716-1 and 2: The European standard for the same.
3) Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1, Eco-certified: This is the world’s current toughest standard to meet regarding non-toxicity in materials, and very few portable cribs meet it. Thus, if at least one of the first two standards are met, this is merely icing on the cake.

If a crib meets standard #3, it surpasses the former two – but it is difficult to find many portable cribs that meet the tough third standard.

Endurance

Another common complaint amongst portable crib owners is that the material was flimsy. Usually a foot breaks off, or a mesh wall rips easily. Think of the travel crib as an investment that can be passed down from child to child – or sold at a garage sale if left in tact.

Ease of Set-Up and Tear-Down

Certain models are notoriously difficult to set up and take down, while select few are very easy to deal with. Consider when the travel bed will be used, under what conditions – and if this is an important quality to pay for.

Is it Light?

It may seem obvious, but a travel crib needs to be light. When traveling by plane, the added weight can cost extra in some airlines. Otherwise, simply packing an extra 15 pounds unnecessarily seems counter-intuitive overall, if a choice can be made.

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