Velvet-flocked mattress fits inside inflatable bumper frame. Includes travel bag and pump. Thick vinyl reduces chance of puncture. Reinforced weld seams. Heavy-duty air valve. Inflates in less than 30 seconds.
May arrive with an odor, but it fades over time. May lose air.
Soft flocking eliminates squeaking. Built-in guard rails. Low to the ground. Inflates and deflates quickly. Comes with carrying bag and pump. Phthlate-, BPA-, and lead-free. Bumpers and sheet-tuck feature keep children from rolling out.
May arrive with plastic odor, but it fades over time. May lose air.
Unfolds quickly and easily. Canvas sleep surface supports up to 75 lbs. Includes fitted sheet and easy-fit travel case.
Does not have a locking mechanism. Sleep surface is not the most supportive. Consider putting a crib mattress on top of it for sleeping.
Folds up into travel bag. Always ready to go. Foam-padded center with cushioned outer bumpers can be removed for machine washing. Bumper keeps toddler in place at night.
Crib sheets are recommended by manufacturer but fit awkwardly. Good for car travel but too large and awkward for air travel.
5-pillow lounger case. Made of super-soft fabric. No need to inflate; no risk of leaks. Folds into floor lounger seat or flat as pillow bed. Can be machine washed on delicate cycle. Easy to fold up and pack. Choice of colors. Cute patterns. Comfortable.
Pillows not included. No safety bumpers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Traveling with a toddler is easier than traveling with a baby. Or is it? With your portable bassinet gathering dust and the travel crib nearing retirement, on-the-go sleeping arrangements can get downright complicated. Should you sacrifice your own comfort and co-sleep, or blow the budget and shell out extra for a rollaway bed? If neither is an option, a portable toddler bed is a fantastic solution. Portable toddler beds are designed to go wherever you do, providing a comfortable space for tots to sleep when they're away from home.
But choosing one can be tough. Should you opt for an inflatable model or one that folds? How will size and weight impact your travel plans? Are there any safety features you should watch for? And what about bedding?
If you need help choosing a portable toddler bed, you've come to the right place. We’ve scoured the market to pinpoint the best ones around and compiled this shopping guide to help you find a good match. Read on for everything you need to know about choosing a portable toddler bed, and when you're done, don't forget to check out our top picks.
You'll come across a handful of different styles while browsing your options. All can work as an on-the-go sleep solution, but you might find that one suits your particular travel needs better than the next. Let's take a look.
Inflatables: Blow-up beds are ideal for travel. They're compact enough to fit in a suitcase, don't generally weigh a ton, and setup is relatively easy, provided you have an electric pump, of course. If you're flying, an inflatable toddler bed is an excellent choice. However, there’s always a chance that inflatables might spring a leak, so be sure to choose a sturdy model, and don't forget to bring along a patch kit.
Fold-outs: If comfort is key or you're weary of inflatables, fold-out portable toddler beds are worth considering. Larger models are usually well padded and cozy, and many feature built-in bumpers for extra security. On the downside, this style can be bulky and might not be the best option for air travel.
Cots: Toddler travel cots typically consist of a metal frame and a canvas sleep surface. This simple design makes them a breeze to set up and take down. If you'd rather keep your child off the floor (or ground, if you're camping), a travel cot will do the trick. With that in mind, it's worth noting that toddler cots don't usually come with bumpers, so you'll need to take extra precautions to ensure your little one doesn't roll off.
Size is an important consideration for a number of reasons.
While traveling: The folded dimensions of a toddler travel bed will affect the way you travel with it. While inflatables, tents, and even cots can work well for flying, you might want to save fold-out beds for road trips.
At your destination: The assembled size also requires some thought. How much floor space will you have to work with? Assembled dimensions can vary quite a bit, so keep this in mind if you have limited space or need to place two travel beds in one room.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter where you're going or how you get there — lightweight toddler beds are simply easier to travel with. Getting away with a little extra heft is possible if you're taking a road trip, but every ounce counts when you're flying, so pay close attention to how much a portable toddler bed weighs. Lighter models also present less of a challenge when it comes to carrying, setting up, and disassembling.
Life can be complicated when you're away from home, but your travel gear doesn't have to be. A portable toddler bed that can be set up quickly and taken down without a fight will help keep frustration- and exhaustion-induced meltdowns at bay. Wherever possible, opt for an inflatable bed that comes with an electric pump, a fold-out that opens and closes without a hitch, and a mattress that works with standard crib sheets.
Built-in bumpers can provide an added sense of security and decrease the odds of your toddler ending up on the floor. Bumpers are usually situated along the sides, but some models feature wrap-around bumpers at the head of the bed, and a handful even boast bumpers on every side. While most kids do just fine with side bumpers, active sleepers could wind up scooting themselves out at the head or the foot. If your toddler tosses, turns, scuttles, or scoots, bumpers are a safety feature worth looking for. Most high-end inflatables and a few fold-out toddler beds come with bumpers.
Having a dedicated carrying bag will not only make your portable toddler bed less of a pain to tote but can also help keep it in tip-top shape in between uses. This is especially important for inflatable beds, but tents and cots will also benefit from a protective covering. A fold-out portable toddler bed may not be susceptible to punctures and probably won't fall apart if the fabric tears, but a carrying bag or built-in carrying strap can make one easier to transport.
Portable toddler beds that come with sheets, blankets, and/or pillows are undeniably convenient, giving parents one less thing to worry about. If you do choose a toddler bed with bedding, make sure that any bedding can be removed and washed without too much of a struggle. Convenience is lovely, but function is essential.
Portable toddler beds typically cost anywhere between $25 and $150, depending on the style, feature set, and overall quality.
Inexpensive: Budget-priced portable toddler beds cost between $25 and $35. These are usually lightweight inflatables, simple cots, or basic fold-outs. If you don't mind sacrificing a bit of padding and don't particularly need features like bumpers, one of these can still provide a decent sleeping surface. However, for obvious reasons, you might want to take extra care with inflatables in this price range.
Mid-range: You can find some decent portable toddler beds in just about any style for between $35 and $55. Tents, cots, inflatables, and even a handful of fold-out models all fall within this price bracket, but, as with cheaper options, fold-outs are unlikely to be heavily padded, and it's wise to treat inflatables at the lower end of this spectrum with care.
Expensive: If you’re searching for something that delivers the whole package, expect to pay anywhere from $60 to $150 or more. Regardless of style, most portable toddler beds under this price umbrella are quality items boasting superior safety and comfort features.
Check bedding dimensions. Although many portable toddler bed mattresses are made to fit standard toddler bed sheets, this isn't always the case. To avoid unnecessary frustration, check bedding dimensions before you buy.
Consider using a waterproof sheet. If you're in the process of potty training your toddler, a waterproof sheet will help keep your bed protected from nap-time accidents. Even if your tot is already a potty pro, spills and messes happen, and covering your child's mattress with a waterproof sheet will help extend its shelf life.
Introduce the bed at home. The benefits of first test-driving a portable toddler bed at home are twofold: parents get some hands-on experience with the setup process while kids are granted an opportunity to acclimate to a new sleeping surface in the comfort of home.
Q. What can I do if my inflatable toddler bed starts leaking air?
A. Unfortunately, punctures are a common issue with inflatable beds and mattresses. Luckily, though, most are also relatively easy to fix.
Find the leak. More air inside the bed equals higher air pressure and easier-to-detect leaks, so blow the bed up before you start. Stand it up against a wall with the base facing outward (most punctures occur on the underside of inflatables) and listen for the hiss of escaping air. If the base is intact, place the bed on the floor. Put some weight on it and run your hand over the entire surface until you feel a rush of air. Lightly wetting your skin can help. If your bed deflates significantly before you're done, take a break and re-inflate.
Mark the problem area. Once you find the leak, circle it with a marker or pen.
Deflate the bed. With the puncture pinpointed and marked, you can safely deflate your bed before patching the leak.
Use a patch kit to fix the puncture. If your portable toddler bed doesn’t come with its own patch kit, you should be able to pick one up at any outdoor store. Follow the instructions to fix your bed. If the leak is situated on the mattress, you might need to sand off any flocking before you get started.
Q. How can I make a travel cot more comfortable?
A. If your child finds the canvas surface on a travel cot uncomfortable, or you feel it could do with a little extra padding, folded blankets or a piece of foam cut to size should do the trick.
Q. Is there any way to clean a non-removable fold-out mattress if my child has a spill or an accident?
A. Accidents are a part of life, which is why we strongly recommend covering your child's mattress with a waterproof sheet. However, if you've purchased a fold-out bed and a spill has already occurred, you might still be able to salvage it. We recommend applying a suitable enzymatic cleaner to the affected area and leaving it to work before going over the mattress with a handheld steam cleaner. To keep mildew from setting in, leave the bed in the sun and allow it to dry completely. If stains or odors persist, try repeating the steps outlined above before giving up and replacing your portable toddler bed.