Friday, June 21, 2024

The Best Toddler Travel Beds To Help Littles Sleep Sweetly Anywhere

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Traveling with young kids is a journey, and figuring out where they’ll sleep—and stay asleep—is a major part of that adventure. Seasoned parents know that the right travel accessories, like a toddler-sized travel bed, helps make everyone’s night easier. The best toddler travel beds are portable, comfortable, safe and easy to set up. These easy-to-pack beds help little ones feel snug and safe, just like they do at home, wherever they may be sleeping.

“When traveling with toddlers, everyone sleeps so much better when they have their own dedicated sleep space,” says Sara Huff, a product expert at the kids travel rental service Babyquip. “Travel toddler beds are designed with little kids in mind and offer some features that keep them safe and comfortable all night.” These are the best toddler travel beds to help kids (and parents) get the best sleep that they can while on-the-go.

Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 310 pounds | Size: 62 x 39 x 12 inches | Weight: 8 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

A tricky part of traveling with toddlers is that they’re not used the high beds you find at hotels, and parents have to worry about them rolling off. The Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed alleviates that concern by being close to the ground and having oversized inflatable bumpers on all four sides of the bed. Families with super active sleepers like that the bumpers on the Hiccapop are noticeably taller than other brands. It comes with a removable inner mattress that fits any standard crib sheet, but if you forget to pack one, the soft flocking on the mattress is comfortable enough for a child to sleep on even sans sheets. The impressive 310 pound weight capacity means an adult can snuggle with their child without worrying about popping the bed.

It inflates and deflates quickly and gets small enough to fit into luggage, making it ideal for long-distance travel—or even just as an extra bed for a sleepover. For added convenience, the bed includes an extra-large carry bag and patches in case of a tear. It even has handles on both ends for easy moving around. Cleaning the bed is super easy—it’s simply a matter of wiping down the waterproof vinyl exterior with a wipe or kid-safe cleaning product of your choice.

What the parents say: Several of our travel experts use—and love—the Hiccapop as well. “I’ve used the Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel bed and loved it because it didn’t leak or lose air overnight,” says Whitney Casares, pediatrician and founder of Modern Mommy Doc. Debbie Gerken, pediatric sleep coach and founder of Sleep Like a Baby Consulting concurs. “It’s portable, safe, and inflates within seconds,” she says.


Intex Kids Travel Air Mattress

Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 50 pounds | Size: 66 x 42 x 10 inches | Weight: 8.4 pounds | Warranty: 90-days

The Intex Kidz Starry Night Air Mattress does what it needs to do, without breaking the bank. The sweet star-themed inflatable bed is almost a cross between a travel crib and a toddler mattress thanks to the bumpers that goes around the entire inner mattress, making kids feel extra cozy and secure. Putting sheets on is a breeze thanks to the removable inner mattress that’s covered in a soft flocked material.

Parents should note that the bed comes with a hand pump, and requires significantly more time and manual labor than an electric pump. Alternatively, you could use an electric pump you already have on hand. Deflating it will take a little bit of time since the air valve needs to be pinched continuously to let the air out. The bed comes with a bag that everything can be stored in, and fits easily into traditional luggage if needed.

The bed itself is a good size to accommodate taller kids, but it doesn’t have a very high weight limit (only 50 pounds), so it’s not a fit for older kids. Nonetheless, it’s a great value for the price.


Jetkids By Stokke Cloudsleeper

Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 149.9 pounds | Size: 59.1 x 29.5 x 6.7 inches inflated | Weight: 3.1 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

Stokke is a baby brand that’s known for its minimal and functional designs, and this toddler travel bed is no exception. The Cloudsleeper, designed for kids ages 3 and up, is as fuss-free as they come thanks to an innovative integrated pump that parents can just use their hand or foot on. While it’s a manual pump, reviewers note that it took them less than five minutes to fully inflate the bed and that deflating was quick as well. It doesn’t require electricity, making this an ideal choice for anywhere that may not have easy access to an outlet. 

The mattress has full-length side bumpers to keep little ones safe and cozy, while the temperature-regulating mesh cover keeps them cool. Instead of wiping down the surface like other travel beds, the cover can actually be fully removed and tossed in the washing machine. The sturdy water-repellent bottom is made of the same material that as many camping mattresses, making this a versatile travel bed for everything from hotel stays to tent camping.

While many of the other inflatable toddler beds deflate then get rolled and squeezed into some type of pouch (“squeezed” being the operative word), this is the only one that folds down efficiently into the included packing cube, which is small enough to fit into a backpack. We also love that the bed supports up to 150 pounds, making this a toddler travel bed that can be used for years (and kids) to come.


The Shrunks Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed

Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 149.9 pounds | Size: 59.1 x 29.5 x 6.7 inches | Weight: 3.1 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

As someone who travels extensively with my three kids, this Shrunks Inflatable Bed is the one I toss in every suitcase or car trunk. I’ve traveled with this portable inflatable bed in cars, trains and planes, used it through two toddlers—and it’s still getting used to this day for my now 5-year-old. First recommended to be by a fellow family travel writer, it’s one purchase I now also recommend over and over again. Set up is incredibly simple: it inflates in less than a minute with the included electric air pump. It’s a generously sized air mattress with bumpers, so you don’t have to worry about your toddler rolling onto the floor. The pump is on the loud side, but considering how quickly the process goes, it doesn’t bother us to deal with it for a minute.

The mattress itself is super soft and covered in a velvety material, which has been nice for the couple times we forgot to pack a sheet with us (any standard crib sheet fits.) Speaking of sheets, even if you’re using a blanket as a sheet alternative, it’s easy to tuck it in under the inner mattress (which is attached to the outer shell) so little legs aren’t tangled in loose sheets all night. The bed deflates as quickly as it blows up by opening up the air valves, and rolls up easily into a small bag that fits into our carry-on luggage.

I also appreciate its durability. We’ve owned and used it many times over the past six years—at hotels, in tents when camping and other people’s houses—and even though its endured some raucous kid bouncing, thanks to its very high weight limit (almost 150 pounds), it still works as well as the day we bought it. But perhaps the very best part? No squeaking noises.


BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light

Type: Crib | Weight limit: None | Size: 44 x 25 x 32 inches | Weight: 11 pounds | Warranty: 2 years

This super popular travel crib is a functional and visually appealing choice for young toddlers (1-3 years old) who need a safe place to sleep but aren’t quite ready for an open mattress or bed. It tops the Forbes Vetted list of the best travel cribs, and I personally used this as the primary travel bed for one of my kids until she was well past 3 years old.

While some other portable crib-type products can be cumbersome to open and close, I found the BabyBjorn Travel Crib super easy to set up solo, partly thanks to how light it is—just 11 pounds—and to the ingenious opening mechanism. The comfy crib-size mattress sits on the floor, and the mesh sides are extremely breathable and give kids a sense of security as they can see their caregivers on the other side. I also love how quick it is to fold it back down into the compact carry bag. I often tossed it in my trunk to have it ready to go to grandparents’ houses, hotels and camping.

What the parents say: Fellow family travel writer Keri Baugh of Bon Voyage with Kids is also a fan. “I always preferred the tall sides of a portable crib like this for my toddlers to the inflatable beds because it kept them safe in the middle of the night when we were traveling…and the mattress is comfortable,” she shares. As an added bonus, she says that when the Travel Crib Light is folded down, it can actually fit inside of a checkable suitcase, “although it comes with its own case, and typically—for many airlines—you can check baby gear for no extra baggage fees.”


Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 200 pounds | Size: 64  x 44  x 14 inches | Weight: 10.89 pounds | Warranty: 1 year

Much like adults, many toddlers are sensitive to the feeling of hard ground or rocks under their backs, so a cushy inflatable mattress like this one can be a godsend while camping. It’s toddler-sized, comfortable thanks to extra coils in the mattress, has bumpers all around to help tots stay in, and even has an extra grippy bottom to ensure it doesn’t slip around.

There are so many thoughtful features built into the Soundasleep Dream Mattress, like flocking on one end to keep sheets from sliding. There is a built-in cupholder, so kids can have their water bottle within reach for when middle-of-the-night thirst hits. It’s made of heavy-duty and extra thick material to withstand pokes from sticks and all sorts of other things a toddler may find. Standard crib sheets and blankets fit this mattress and can tuck in underneath the inner mattress to ensure a snug fit. 

The mattress comes with an electric pump which is cleverly embedded within the mattress itself, with cord storage so you don’t have to worry about losing it or dealing with lose cables. Reviewers share that they were able to inflate the mattress straight out of the box in under five minutes. Many reviewers also rave about how great the brand’s customer service was if they encountered any issues. While it does come with a carry bag, note that it doesn’t get as small as other inflatable beds. However, we think that’s a worthy trade-off for a mattress that’s more durable and can standup up to a more challenging outdoor environment.


Slumberpod + Slumbertot Bundle

Type: Inflatable | Weight limit: 200 pounds | Size: 50.5 x 36.5 x 10.5 inches | Weight: Slumbertot: 6 pounds; Slumberpod: 5.5 pounds | Warranty: 90 days from the date of delivery

One of the most challenging parts about staying at someone else’s house or a hotel with a toddler is when that bright morning sun comes streaming in and wakes everyone up (speaking from personal experience here). So a toddler travel bed that actually blocks out light and helps them feel like they’re in their own space? Yes, please. The Slumberpod’s Slumbertot set includes an inflatable toddler bed—the Slumbertot—the popular Slumberpod canopy and a mini fan.

The Slumberpod canopy is a bottomless tent-like structure made of breathable fabric that, according to the brand, blocks out 95% of light. It has four adjustable panels that can be closed or left open, two interior pockets to hold the mini fan to allow for extra ventilation, and even a separate pocket for a monitor. It fits over pack and plays, mini cribs and other types of beds.

“I love Slumberpod’s new Slumbertot,” says Huff. “It works with the SlumberPod to have a full black out and covered bed. It’s super easy to blow up and has bumpers built in.” The Slumbertot inflates in under two minutes with the included electric pump, and thanks to the generous 200 pound weight limit, is designed to accommodate tots well into their big kid years. This two-piece bed has a super soft inner mattress and is designed to fit perfectly inside the Slumberpod, although it can certainly be used separately as well. The set comes with a bag that conveniently fits all of the pieces, to make for easy traveling. 

What the parents say: “The Slumberpod creates a dark, private space for a little one, which allows for sharing a hotel room more relaxing for parents,” says Gerken. “Most toddlers sleep better in this than they do at home.” 


Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Bed

Type: Foldable cot | Weight limit: 75 pounds | Size: 48 x 24.5 x 9 inches | Weight: 6.3 pounds | Warranty: 90 day limited

Whether it’s for camping, or just to have an easy-to-set up extra kid bed on hand, a toddler cot can be a simple and super affordable option. The popular Regalo My Cot is easy to setup (literally just unfold it), under $25 and lightweight. Just because it’s compact, doesn’t mean it’s not sturdy—the durable steel frame can support up to 75 pounds of weight. It also comes with a fitted sheet that goes on top of the canvas-like liner (which is also washable), to make cleaning a breeze.

If you’re concerned about a little one rolling off since there are no side rails, just know it sits only 9 inches from the ground. The cot doesn’t come with a its own bag, but that’s less of an issue since it’s just one piece and there’s no pump. Some parents say they were able to fit the cot into a checked luggage bag while others just stowed it under their kid’s permanent bed when not in use. 

What the parents say: “We usually get hotels with one bed and use this for our toddler and she has no issues sleeping on it as is. It’s super easy to fold up and take with us and it’s as compact as a camping chair,” shares one online reviewer. The cots “literally fold up with one finger in less than two seconds,” says another. “It’s easy to tote, easy to fold and easy to sleep on.” Just keep the size and weight limits in mind, since the bed is recommended for kids ages 2 to 5.


Type: Inflatable rail | Weight limit: 300 pounds | Size: 7 x 48 x 4 inches | Weight: 0.6 pounds (each) | Warranty: 30 day return window

If you’re worried that you won’t have the extra floor space for a blow-up bed or fold-out cot, these rails make it safer for tots to sleep in the grown-up bed. Forbes Vetted deputy editor Rose Gordon Sala, a mom of three, recommends this type of inflatable rail for kids that sleep in a toddler bed at home and aren’t used to being high off the ground.

These rails from Shrunks can be inflated using your mouth or a pump—but the pump isn’t included. They take up very little space in your luggage and weigh less than a pound each. To use the rails, inflate them and place them under the bottom sheet at the edge of the bed, and then tuck the sheet under the mattress to hold it in place. You can also buy just one rail, if you happen to know the bed where you’ll need it has one side pushed up to the wall.


Why Trust Forbes Vetted

At Forbes Vetted, our parenting editors and writers have spent thousands of hours researching and testing the baby and kids products—including the best travel gear, like travel strollers and the best kids luggage.

  • The author of this story, Esther Carlstone, is a longtime parenting editor and family travel writer who has spent years testing baby and kid products. She travels extensively with her three kids, and has used many toddler travel beds along the way.
  • Forbes Vetted commerce editor Margaret Badore edited this story. She’s a toddler mom and has over 15 years of experience covering health and science topics.
  • We reached out to several experts for this story including BabyQuip product expert Sarah Huff, pediatrician Dr. Whitney Casares, family travel blogger Keri Baugh of Bon Voyage with Kids, and certified pediatric gentle sleep coach and founder of Sleep Like a Baby Consulting, Debbie Gerkin.

How We Chose The Best Toddler Travel Crib

To find the best toddler travel beds, we looked at a wide selection of highly-rated products, beds recommended by parents who travel frequently with their kids (including the author of this story) and travel beds made by trusted name brands in baby gear. We then compared the features of each, taking special care to note size, longevity, easy of setup, safety and other standout details that may be beneficial for traveling families.

  • We researched popular products in the category and also considered toddler travel beds from reputable baby and kid product brands.
  • We interviewed a variety of experts including a pediatrician, baby gear expert and family travel experts to get both their personal recommendations and insights into how to pick the best toddler travel bed for each family.
  • We evaluated specs and features on each toddler travel bed for things like size, weight limit, ease of set-up, how portable the bed actually was, and other special features that may be considered an added bonus for traveling families.
  • We deliberately selected a variety of types of toddler beds (mattresses, crib, cot), because different trips and different families have different requirements.
  • We took online customer reviews into account when making our picks, and only selected toddler travel beds with an average of 4 stars out of 5 and higher.

What To Look For In The Best Toddler Travel Bed

When shopping a for a toddler travel bed there are several essential factors to consider:

Size

Size matters. Consider your child’s current height and weight, and take careful note of each option’s dimensions (you don’t want feet hanging off the end), and maximum weight limits—especially if your little one is one that may require some parental snuggling to fall asleep. Most brands also give a recommended age guideline to make shopping even easier.

Safety

“First and foremost, travel beds should adhere to the Consumer Product Safety Commission safety standards,” says Huff. You’ll also want to check to make sure the product hasn’t been part of any recalls.

If your toddler is a roller or wild sleeper, you’ll want to consider travel beds that have built-in bumpers and side rails to keep them from rolling off onto the ground. “Having features like bed rails or bumpers will not only keep the toddler safe from rolling out, but it also serves as a source of security for the child as they feel enclosed,” says Gerken.

Convenience

Consider what purpose you’d mostly be using this travel bed for. Is it for traveling? To have an extra bed at the grandparent’s house or for sleepovers? If this bed will primarily be used on the go, parents will want to consider how quickly and compactly the bed folds up and whether it comes with its own bag or not. Some inflatable beds use a manual pump, while others blow up significantly faster with an included electric pump.

You’ll also likely want a bed that’s easy to clean in case of any nighttime accidents. Look for beds with a removeable inner mattress, washable covers, or ones that can fit a standard crib or bed sheet. Certain toddler travel beds also have beneficial extras like a handle on one end of the bed to make it easy to move around or extra grip on the bottom to prevent slippage.

“Ultimately, knowing their toddler best, parents can choose a toddler travel bed that aligns with their child’s needs and guarantees a cozy and secure sleeping environment during travel,” says Gerken.

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