The best travel cot for babies and toddlers for comfort on the go

best travel cot for babies and toddlers

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated

When you're thinking of essentials for your little one, you probably already have a cosy cot picked out, but what about a travel cot if you love travelling? In addition to packing your baby's travel system and gathering all the necessities before heading off on holiday with your family, a travel cot will help your little one to sleep as soundly as possible, even when you're away from home.

You probably did a lot of research on the best cot and bedside crib for your baby but may not have considered investing in a travel cot yet. Put simply, a travel cot is a portable, lightweight option designed to fold away compactly. Its collapsible sides and storage bag are some of the features that make it the perfect solution for trips away. Like a travel stroller, it's another one of those holiday essentials that you'll want to invest in when travelling with children under 5 years old.

You most likely won't need a travel cot for the first few months, especially if you already have a Moses basket, a portable crib or a carrycot suitable for overnight sleeping. If you don't go away very often, then you might be better off borrowing a cot from a friend, as it can be an expensive purchase if you're only going to be using it once a year.

The best travel cots at a glance:

Best travel cot overall: Venture Airpod Travel Cot - Buy now on Amazon UK 
Best travel cot for compact fold: Graco FoldLite - Buy now on Argos 
Best compact travel cot: Bugaboo Stardust Travel Cot - Buy now on Amazon UK
Best budget travel cot: Cuggl Deluxe Superlight Travel Cot - Buy now on Amazon UK

A lot of hotels and holiday cottages may provide travel cots and other baby equipment, so check with them before you travel. If you are away from home often, then a travel cot is a good purchase, as it will last well past the newborn months and will prove extremely useful at other times, too. For example, for your baby's daytime naps when you're visiting friends or staying over with grandparents overnight. We've enlisted the help of expert mum testers to put the best travel cots through their paces, taking into account the weight, size, price, assembly, age suitability and stability. Our annual Mother&Baby Awards also help us bring you the best advice about current products on the market. Plus we spoke to Emily McInnes, a paediatric nurse and certified holistic sleep coach, from Sound Asleep Coaching to ensure you get the best advice surrounding travel cots.

How we tested and chose these travel cots

Every year, our panel of real mums tests and reviews parenting products such as travel cots for the annual Mother&Baby Awards.

Our list of the best car seats for travel cots comes recommended by like-minded parents – who have experienced these car seats personally.

The Mother&Baby Awards parent testers are provided with some guidelines while testing, so that they take into consideration four key areas: usability, design, quality and value for money. We ask them to score each of these out of 10, as well as give their overall impression of the product.

Find out more about how we test and what considerations we take into account in our testing process.

A number of the travel cots in our list are also previous Mother&Baby Awards shortlisters and winners.

The best travel cot 2024

Best travel cot overall

Silver winner for Best Travel Product Over £30 in the M&B Awards 2023
Designed to provide little ones with a place to rest and play no matter where you are, the Airpod is assembled in just three easy steps with no tools required meaning it's ready to go in less than a minute. The Airpod weighs just 6kg and can be folded into a bag no larger than a big shopping bag. Despite how lightweight it is, testers agree that the cot was good quality and felt sturdy and secure. One mum tester says, "I was impressed with the materials used and quality feel of the cot once it was up. Felt steady and secure when lifting child in and out of the bed. Child was able to nap well, good ventilation through the sides."

Another of our mum testers likes how lightweight and how small the travel cot folds. She describes it as, "super portable and barely took space in the car boot. This meant we were able to pack all our other luggage without worrying about space." She also liked that it wasn't too heavy, which made it easy to lug around upstairs when they are staying in hotels without lifts.

All of our testers agreed that a bassinet option would have been great with this travel cot, especially parents of younger babies. One of our testers whose baby is five months says, "it simply wasn't useful overnight with his wake-ups having to bend. I could barely reach him and resorted to giving up using it and ended up having to co sleep in our bed. This defeats the point of a travel cot." We think that for parents of young babies aged 6 months and under, this travel cot probably isn't what you're looking for. But for everyone else, this is a great portable travel option, and our testers were able to get the cot set up easily and quickly with the simple instructions.

Read our full Venture UK Airpod Travel Cot review.

Pros

  • Mesh sides provide ventilation and make it easy to check little one
  • Lightweight and compact, less bulky than others
  • A comfortable mattress for baby

Cons

  • Unfortunately, there's no raised bassinet
Suitable from:Birth to 36 months
Weight:6kg
Unfolded dimensions:65x15x50 cm
Folded dimensions:60x50x15 cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Lightweight aluminium frame – Just 6kg
  • Compact design when folded
  • Strong storage bag 
  • All round mesh sides
  • High-quality, thick mattress
  • Suitable from birth to 36 months
  • Proudly Designed here in the UK, tested to all British and European Safety Standards BS EN 716-1:2017, all fabrics treated with Fire retardant.

Best travel cot for compact fold

Bronze winner for Best Travel Product Over £30 in the M&B Awards 2023

Suitable from birth to approximately three years old, the FoldLite was hailed by parents for its lightweight frame, but it has also won a prestigious Mother&Baby Awards 2023 Bronze award. The cot collapses to just 26cm wide. Our Mum tester Sarah says, "when folded down for travel it's small and neat and doesn't take up too much valuable boot space when you're already contending with buggies and suitcases." Testers loved the Home Fold feature to help fold away quickly and clear space within seconds. The cot unfolds and just clicks together, only two of the sides need to click together due to the way it is folded which makes putting the cot up and down much easier and quicker.

One of our mum testers Archana didn't get along with the cot as well when it came to dismantling it fully though. She says, "Folding into the slide away is easy - and really handy for day to day use - that’s what I liked most about it - however folding away fully and putting in the bag is quite clunky and a chore."

The FoldLite has a mesh lining and two wheels for easy manoeuvrability, making it a useful portable cot for travelling with. It's easy to pop up, says Sarah whose grandparents popped it up without any instructions. She enjoys using it around the house and says, "The Foldlite travel cot has been most useful to us for quick and easy use around the house with a mobile baby. It genuinely is two clicks to put up or down and the house fold setting means I can quickly pop it out from next to the sofa if I need to iron or nip to the toilet and pop it back in a few seconds so it's not taking over the room." She also thinks it would be invaluable for holiday cottages that may not be very well baby-proofed.

The cot also comes with a mattress included. Our mum tester Georgia says, "The only issue I had with it was once wrapping the mattress around the base you do have to pull it quite tightly to then fit it in the bag." Overall our testers love the convenience of having a pop-up cot to hand at home. One thing to be aware of though, as our mum tester Joanna pointed out, is that It has quite a large high sides so it can be difficult to reach within, especially if you have a bad back.

Read our full Graco FoldLite review.

Pros

  • Two ways to fold, including an extra compact fold when space is limited
  • A light weight cot makes it really portable
  • The carry bag is very convenient for travel

Cons

  • Assembly not totally straightforward as one tester had trouble when dismantling the product fully
  • Tricky to fit in the travel bag with the mattress
Suitable from:Birth to approximately three years old
Weight:6.78kg
Unfolded dimensions:119 x 63.5 x 68cm
Folded dimensions:69.5 x 21 x 25.5cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Two ways to fold for home and easy travel
  • Carry bag included
  • Fast pop-up assembly
  • Super lightweight
  • The cot has two wheels for easy manoeuvrability
  • Mattress included

Best compact travel cot

If you're looking for a travel cot that's a doddle to set up and folds away in seconds, this is it – no more grappling with unwieldy parts when you arrive at your destination with a tired baby. We love the clever design, which gives a seamless experience on the go. One reviewer, Meg, found the cot to be very sturdy and easy to pack and unpack. She says it folds up reasonable small, and likes that the carry handle makes it easier to transport. "Seems comfortable" she adds, "the newborn bassinet is super convenient for little ones and my babe settled immediately in it."

Convenient for carrying around your home too, it comes with a zip-in carrycot insert, an all-around mesh panel for airflow and a lovely firm and comfortable mattress. It's a shame the mattress doesn't include a waterproof cover, so you'll have to buy this separately to protect it. Matt, a reviewer, bought this cot mainly for the ease of popping it up and down, but also says he liked that they could raise the height of the mattress when their baby was very little. this provides easier access to lift baby in and out. "There don't seem to be many travel cots that have that design," he says, "we used it as much at home for naps as we did on the road. It's a great bit of kit." The suspended base will also protect your little ones from draughts.

Pros

  • Includes carrycot insert and mattress
  • You can fold the cot with the mattress still inside
  • Easy to assemble with a pop up design and a 1-second unfold
  • Compact to fold in just 3 simple steps

Cons

  • Unfortunately, the mattress doesn't include a waterproof cover
Suitable from:Birth to 15kg or 2 years
Weight:6.7kg
Unfolded dimensions:64 x 98 x 85 cm
Folded dimensions:65 x 14 x 85 cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Pop-up design – easy 1-second unfold
  • Easy to fold in 3 simple steps
  • Folds with mattress in it (when used without the newborn insert)
  • Comfortable and firm built-in mattress included
  • Great for both experienced and first-time parents
  • Suitable from birth

Best budget travel cot

This deluxe super lightweight travel cot has a bassinet attachment that clicks easily onto the top, making it perfect for changing nappies. It also has wheels, so it's easy to move around. The best part is that it sets up and folds away in seconds, making it a great travel cot that won't break the bank. Our mum tester Tori likes that it folds up thin to fit in their car boot along with a double pram and a few bags. She says, "I would definitely recommend this product to other mums, it's so easy to put up and down and transport on its handy bag"

Mum tester Sarah agrees, and would also recommend it for anyone looking for an inexpensive no-nonsense travel cot. She says it was lightweight enough for her to carry around, and compact enough to pack in their car along with everything else. She says, "Once I'd done the initial set up of the cot, it was easy to put together and to take apart too." Our mum testers also say the instructions are really easy to follow and everything is easy to wipe down to keep clean while travelling. One thing to be aware of is that the design of this cot is quite low to the ground, which may be something to keep in mind if you have back problems when lifting baby in and out.

Read our full Cuggl Deluxe Superlight Travel Cot review.

Pros

  • Can be used for nappy changing with the removable changer and bassinet
  • Four airy mesh sides provide all-round ventilation and baby viewing
  • Lightweight aluminium legs make it easy to fold the cot down in seconds
  • The wheels mean you can easily move the cot from room to room

Cons

  • The design of this cot means it's quite low to the ground
Suitable from:birth to 3 years
Weight:6kg
Unfolded dimensions:68 x 85 x 56 cm
Folded dimensions:50 x 61 x 16 cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Removable changer and bassinet
  • Very lightweight - at just 6kg
  • 4 mesh sides
  • Compact size after folded
  • Thick padded mattress included – size L104, W60cm
  • Stylish lightweight aluminium legs
  • Carrying bag included
  • Suitable from birth to 3 years
  • 1-year guarantee

Best lightweight travel cot

This travel cot is a real doddle to assemble – just slip it out of its travel bag, and it practically unfolds automatically, so there's no grappling with poles or fiddling with extra accessories. It's also easy to fold away and is really light and portable, making it perfect for taking with you when you visit relatives, or just moving with baby around your home. Our mum tester Nicola did find the cot to be less attractive than others in terms of design appeal, but said her little one slept well in it and seemed very comfortable. She liked that it also comes with a nice carry bag, which she says makes it easy to transport.

The built-in base helps to keep it standing nice and sturdy in its position, but this is a very lightweight cot. Mum Nicola found it to be less robust than others, saying "Amelia can push it around by herself." However, she also says it's the easiest travel cot to carry as it's amazingly light." We love that the fabric can be removed and popped in the washing machine – a real bonus if you have a baby with reflux. The materials of this travel cot meet the requirements of OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products, which essentially means kind to your baby's sensitive skin. One thing to keep in mind is that it may be harder to dry, which is quite important if you're away and need to wash and dry it.

Read our full BabyBjörn Light Travel Cot review.

Pros

  • Can be assembled in one simple movement
  • The mattress cover and cot fabric are easy to remove and are machine washable
  • It's lightweight but a built-in base means it is sturdy

Cons

  • Reviewers found it hard to dry
Suitable from:Birth to 3 years
Weight:6.38kg
Unfolded dimensions:62 x 112 x 64cm
Folded dimensions:49 x 60 x 14cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Machine washable at 40°C
  • Made from organic cotton
  • Fitted sheet included

This versatile travel cot comes with lots of extra accessories, so it's great value for money. You basically get three-in-one, with a a full-size bassinet, which snaps easily on and off as required, as well as a changing unit and portable bouncing seat. What makes this travel cot even more unique is that there are also lots of sound and light features, including a soothing sound vibration, plus five classical lullabies and nature sounds. The two integrated wheels make it easy to move from room to room, and there's also a nightlight with three brightness settings to guide you In the dark.

Despite all the extras, it still folds compactly and comes with its own travel storage bag. One reviewer, Kathryn, did find it quite difficult to assemble though. "I had to enlist my husband's help," she says, adding that it's sturdy and almost as big as a normal cot. However, she points out that the integrated wheels do make it easier to move. She says the extra accessories that come with the cot would be great for a newborn, but her Olly was a bit too old for them. He did, however, like the sounds, and she says the light was great for night changes without fully waking him. Overall, Kathryn recommends this cot as a real investment that will grow with your baby.,

Another reviewer, Nicola, was also impressed, and liked that the mesh sides enabled her to check on her little one without getting out of bed. Her daughter also enjoyed being able to see them when she woke up. Nicola says the mattress seems very comfortable for her little one, and she found the colours and pattern of the travel cot to be really appealing. She agreed that the extra accessories aren't really suitable past 12 months though, and also found the cot to be quite heavy. She says, "I would struggle to move it from room to room without help".

Pros

  • Fast transitions from changing unit, to cot to bouncing seat
  • Includes sounds and lights to entertain or soothe your baby
  • Quick assembly and folding with a simple push button
  • Folds away compactly in a carry bag for convenient storage
  • The elevated base helps combat draughts

Cons

  • With so many features, this cot is quite heavy
  • The extra accessories aren't suitable for older babies
Suitable from:Birth to 15kg
Weight:14.8kg
Unfolded dimensions:106 x 75.4 x 87cm
Folded dimensions:84.2 x 26.3 x 21cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • 3-in-1 portable changer and snoozing seat that can be used on or off the cot
  • Full-size bassinet that clips quickly snaps on and off included for naptime options
  • One quick click – changing unit, snoozing, or bouncing seat
  • One quick click – turn the sound & lights module pop on or off
  • SecureClick snoozing seat that doubles as a portable bouncer when used off the cot!
  • Set up and fold down in seconds
  • Packs away in the included carry bag
  • Compact folded package for simple storage in even the smallest spaces
  • Includes a full-size removable bassinet
  • Ultra secure frame with modern exposed tubing
  • 2 integrated wheels
  • Mesh lined for ventilation on all four sides with an elevated, draught resistant base
  • SecureClick changing unit

Best travel cot mattress

Best newborn travel cot

This stylish, contemporary travel cot takes seconds to put together and is reasonably quick and easy to fold, even with a baby in your arms, making it ideal for travel. We love the bassinet accessory, which makes this brilliant for use from birth, and so does our mum tester Kirsty who says, "The bassinet makes it easy to lift Rikku in and out." She did find it a bit fiddly to detach though.

Doubling up as a play space, this travel cot has padded edges to prevent pinched fingers, and it also comes with an organic cotton sheet included and its own bag to store and transport it in.
Kirsty especially liked that the sheet stayed in place with the velcro. The cot has a sturdy aluminium frame and a triple-layered ventilated mattress for superior comfort. Mum tester Nicola thought it was very stylish and said her daughter slept well in it. She loved the "lovely, thick mattress" and extra machine-washable sheet, saying she found it was simple to assemble.

When it comes to set-up our mum tester Kirsty found it reasonably straightforward. However, she says it doesn't fold very neatly, and she found it fiddly to pack away. While the cot is certainly very sturdy, Kirsty says this makes it feel more heavy and take up a lot of space in their small car boot. Mum tester Nicola really liked the sturdiness of the travel cot too, but agrees that the only disadvantage is that it's quite heavy. She says, "I think I would struggle to get this from one place to another by myself."

Read our full Nuna Sena Aire review.

Pros

  • The cot is easy to set up and hold with one hand
  • Cot folds with the upper cot still attached
  • The advanced air design™ with mesh sides, allows air flow from every angle
  • The cot is very easy to clean because it is machine washable and dryer safe
  • The ventilated triple-layered mattress is comfortable for baby

Cons

  • Doesn't fold very neatly or small
  • A bit fiddly to detach the bassinet
Suitable from:Birth to 15kg
Weight:10kg
Unfolded dimensions:73.5 x 107 x 74.5cm
Folded dimensions:24 x 28 x 86cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • One-handed set up and fold
  • Upper cot folds with the frame
  • Draft-proof with above-ground base
  • Skid-proof feet
  • Unique zigzag frame
  • Advanced air design™
  • Mattress's zip-off design is machine washer and dryer safe
  • Ventilated triple-layered mattress with removable panels
  • Organic sheet is included
  • Padded edges
  • Travel bag included with easy carry handle

Best value travel cot

The Graco Contour is a good-value travel cot with lots of extra features. Our mum testers love that it's quick and easy to assemble, and compact enough to fit into smaller spaces without taking up too much room. However, our mum tester Kathryn described it as one of the heaviest travel cots they tested. This meant that it was nice and roomy, and a good size for their baby, but Kathryn says it was almost the same size as their normal cot! Despite this, she agrees it's easy to assemble and put away in the carry bag included, plus, the wheels made it easier to move around, and she did like the neutral colour. Mum tester Nicola, on the other hand, points out that while the cream colour does look lovely, she imagines it could get dirty very quickly.

Loaded with extras such as a newborn bassinet, handy changing mat and toy bar, this is definitely a cot that represents great value for money, although Nicola points out that the changing unit, while it's a great idea, is only suitable for use up to 12 months. It also has a nightlight and musical feature, as well as the option to set the mattress to vibrate to help soothe your baby. The four mesh sides are a great feature too, allowing you to keep an eye on your little one, while also being useful for ventilation, but Kathryn found that she did have to bend low to reach her baby. Nicola also felt that the mattress was on the thin side, which meant that her little one didn't sleep as well as hoped.

Read our full Graco Contour Electra Travel Cot review.

Pros

  • This is a cot that is designed to grow with your child from newborn to toddler
  • There is an integrated changing station for added convenience
  • The hanging toy bar provides entertainment for little one
  • Includes a night light, music and vibration feature to soothe little one

Cons

  • Some reviewers struggled to assemble it
  • Very heavy and quite large for a travel cot
Suitable from:Birth to 15kg
Weight:14kg
Unfolded dimensions;104 x 73 x 91cm
Folded dimensions:22.4 x 22.4 x 79.8cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Removable changing table
  • Raised bassinet for newborns
  • Removable toy bar with toys 
  • Nightlight, music and timer 
  • Removable vibration unit
  • Sturdy base mattress
  • Graco® signature easy-fold
  • 2 wheels for easy manoeuvrability 

Best bassinet-style travel cot

We love the innovative way this travel cot converts between two different modes, with a bassinet level for younger babies to cot, and the fact that you can use it in either fixed or rocking mode. This is top pick for newborns, so be aware you won't be able to use it much beyond six months old.

This travel cot is worth considering if you're really short on luggage space, as it's particularly compact once folded and one of the lightest travel cots we found. One reviewer describes the cot as the best purchase they've made for their baby. She says, "we can't fit a cot in our bedroom and needed something that would last longer than the Moses basket. Our little boy sleeps so well in it and it's so easy to pick it up and carry downstairs. We have travelled with it too, and it folds down neatly."

Pros

  • Easily folds using one hand and includes a carry handle for easy transportation
  • The cot can lock in a stationery position or can gently rock little one
  • Vented mesh sides allow plenty of airflow and let you see baby easily
  • The cot is lightweight for easy transportation

Cons

  • Only able to use until 6 months
Suitable from:Birth to 6 months
Weight:6.9kg
Unfolded dimensions:70 x 95 x 55cm
Folded dimensions:55 x 20 x 55 cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • One-hand flat fold
  • Carry handle
  • Rocking Mode – can be locked in stationery position
  • Vented mesh sides
  • Removable and washable cover
  • Anti-allergy cot mattress

Best carrycot travel cot

This is a really clever invention! it looks like a really spacious changing bag, but then off you pop for your overnight stay, take everything out of the bag, and it changes into a travel crib. Our mum tester Jennifer thinks the design is stylish and that it's extremely easy to use. It doesn't take long to assemble and comes with a padded mattress. Jennifer says, "The travel cot section folds out in a few seconds and the rods are easily inserted to make it very sturdy. This means a new mum (who has little time on her hands) can easily erect this in minutes." She likes that it is easily transported and takes up no more than a bag's room in the car or walking, so it really can be taken anywhere! Jennifer says, "I have only used this at friends/ families homes but definitely would take it on weekends away or on holiday. It means I don't have to buy a big travel cot. It is also lightweight so don't have to worry about carrying something heavy."

Unfortunately, it isn't as long-lasting as the other travel cots on our list, as it's really only suitable until baby is four to six months old or when they start rolling, but it's definitely the smallest travel cot, not to mention the most compact and easy to carry. Our mum tester Esther says it's designed as a travel sleeping pod, for nighttime and daytime naps, and a changing bag. She had no trouble assembling it in a couple of minutes, and says it weights as much as a bag of sugar and would fit in easily amongst other items in a packed car when going away. She says, "We used the pod whilst away for the weekend and found it very useful, as we already had a travel cot packed for our older child and couldn't have fitted a second in the car."

Read our full Bizzi Growin POD Travel Crib review.

Pros

  • This crib is easy to assemble
  • Includes a mosquito net to keep your baby protected in the summer
  • Can be used as a changing bag with handy fold out for changing on the go
  • Includes a padded mattress for restful nap times
  • Extremely compact and lightweight for storing or travelling

Cons

  • Only suitable for use up until baby can sit up or roll over by themselves
Suitable from:Birth to about 4-6 months (or when baby is rolling)
Unfolded dimensions:8 x 35 x 77cm
Folded dimensions:48 x 35 x 14cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Easy to assemble crib 
  • Convertible changing bag with fold out
  • Includes mosquito net 
  • Includes padded mattress
  • Two carry handles
  • Over-the-shoulder strap
  • Suitable for use up until baby can sit up unaided and/or roll over 
  • Material composition: 100% Cotton

Best long-lasting travel cot

This travel cot represents good value for money, especially because it can be used from birth up to approximately three years of age. It's also very sturdy, which means it doubles up as a playpen for smaller babies. And although fairly large, it features wheels and a brake to make it easier to transport around the home. Reviewer Sophie describes it as an excellent travel cot and incredibly easy for one person to put up within minutes. Thankfully, folding it away is just as quick and easy, and it folds down to such a compact size, she says, which is then stored as a carry case and easy to stow away.

The cot also comes with a small toy bag attached, which could be useful for storing nappies or other baby essentials when you're on the move and away from home. Sophie loves that it can be used as a play pen too, and found the storage pouch to be useful. She says, "I initially set the cot up in the sitting room as a play pen/nap time cot. It is a full size cot so does take up some room but it means that the cot will last for several years before the baby outgrows it."

Our mum tester Corinne Hills said that standard cot bedding fit, then she found the mattress to be quite thin and had to pad it out with blankets. Mum tester Roz Walker described the mattress as okay for occasional use.

Read our full BabyDan Travel cot review.

Pros

  • There is plenty of space for baby to stretch out and grow
  • Compact when folded for easy transportation and storage
  • Mesh sides allow great air flow and you can see baby
  • The wheels make it easy to move from room to room and it has reliable brakes

Cons

  • With it being a large cot, it is also heavier than others
  • The mattress is quite thin
Suitable from:Birth to 13.6kg
Weight:8kg
Unfolded dimensions:77 x 127 x 66cm
Folded dimensions:7.5 x 20 x 21cm
Mattress included:
  • Full cot size (60cm x 120cm)
  • Versatile – can be used as a playpen
  • Includes lightweight folding mattress (106cm x 58.5cm and 1.5cm deep)
  • Travel bag included
  • Compact design when folded (20 x 21 x 77.5 cm)
  • Mesh sides
  • Front storage pocket
  • Padded bumper rails

Best simple travel cot

Red Kite Black Sleep Tight Travel Cot
Price: $200.00

The Sleeptight Travel Cot is an award-winning sleep solution from Red Kite. Stored in a carry bag, the Sleeptight Travel Cot is lightweight and compact folding. It is the perfect choice for holidays, visiting friends and family or for your own home. Mum Kat is really impressed with it after using several times and says, "it's good quality and not too bulky when folded so fits easily into my small car boot along with all the other baby paraphernalia needed for a night away!"

It's really easy to put up and take down and Kat says "it was so helpful that the instructions are printed onto the underside of the mattress - what a great idea!" She points out that you must put it up/take it down in the right order or you will struggle to get it folded correctly. The mattress doesn't come with a waterproof sheet so Kat used her own with a cot sheet on top of the mattress. She says, "for the price paid, it's exceptionally good value. 10/10!"

Pros

  • The cot has a central locking base for extra safety
  • It's easy to fold and store in the storage bag
  • The see-through mesh sides allow airflow and let you see baby easily
  • The instructions are printed on the underside of the mattress, so you won't lose them.

Cons

  • Mattress is very thin
  • No waterproof sheet included for the mattress
Suitable from:Birth to 15kg
Weight:7kg
Unfolded dimensions:72 x 101 x 71cm
Folded dimensions:72 x 20 x 21 cm
Mattress included:Yes
  • Fully safety tested
  • Easy to assemble
  • Includes carry bag
  • Padded top rails
  • Padded mattress secured with straps
  • Central locking base
  • Large mesh panels

Best 4 in 1 travel cot

A practical travel cot which also doubles as a playpen, cradle and everyday cot, the SOFI is a great purchase. It is suitable for babies and toddlers from birth to 15kg and it's lightweight and easy to fold. Plus, it includes a storage bag which makes it easy to carry when travelling. The SOFI has mesh sides to ensure you can see your little one and for good airflow. It also comes with a mattress and cover, and the frame can be used as a rocking frame too.

The cot is slightly narrower than some travel cots, but one reviewer says that this was exactly what they needed to fit it into their spare room for their new grandson when he stayed with them. They said that they love that it's on two levels too, so it's suitable for a newborn as well as a toddler, although they weren't sure their grandson will fit past the age of two years.

The fact that this cot is so easy to fold and comes in a cover, means it can be stored under another bed quite nicely. As this reviewer points out, while you use the top level, things can also be stored underneath. They say the only slight problem is the fitting of sheets, "It is fiddly", they say, "and you need to lift the mattress to be able to fit the sheet and tuck it in. But it is doable, so very happy with purchase."

Read our full Kinderkraft SOFI review.

Pros

  • The cot doubles as a playpen too
  • The cot can be used with or without the rocking function
  • The mattress can be used at two different levels
  • Attractive design for your home

Cons

  • Slightly narrower than standard travel cots
  • Bit fiddly to fit the sheets
Suitable from: Birth to 15kg
Weight: 8.7kg
Unfolded dimensions: 107 x 63 x 71 cm
Folded dimensions: 97 x 63 x 14 cm
Mattress included: Yes
  • 4-in-1 – cot, travel cot, playpen and cradle.
  • Carry bag included
  • Rocking function
  • Easy to store
  • Mattress can be set at two different heights
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to fold

Travel cots – All you need to know:

Choosing the right travel cot for you and your child

While we know that travel cots are primarily used for sleeping while away from home, there are other uses for them which makes choosing one an important decision to ensure it is suitable for everything you need. Some things to consider include:

How long do you plan to use it for: Different travel cots have different age ranges and some might be suitable from newborn up until 6 months or even just 3 months, while others will last much longer, up until 3 years, and you may not need another travel cot. However, the larger the travel cot then the heavier it might be, and it also might not be as compact. Typically a travel cot should last from newborn until 18 months, but there will be some suitable beyond this.

Do you need it for more than sleep: Travel cots are brilliant for visiting family or friends or when on holiday to help little one sleep comfortably. However, they are also useful for doubling up as playpens, or even changing units. If you are visiting a house, or staying somewhere which hasn't got any baby proofing products then your travel cot can double up as a playpen. This type of travel cot has added value as you can get more use out of it than a standard travel cot but check the manufacturer's guidelines before you buy to ensure it's safe to use as a playpen. Also, some travel cots have changing mat attachments which can clip on the top and make changing nappies when away much easier because you will have a portable changing table.

How much room does it take up when folded: Think about where and when you'll use a travel cot. If you are throwing it in the car boot when you're going to Granny's, check how bulky it is when folded and make sure it fits along with your pushchair and still leaves enough room for your luggage. If you're buying for your holiday and you'll be travelling to your destination by plane, boat or other public transport, choose one that folds very compactly to make it easier to pack, and ensure it has a travel bag too. Once your holiday is over don't forget you'll need to store it at home, so consider how easy it is to store when it's not in use.

Rapid set up: Unpacking your travel cot after a long journey with a tired baby can be stressful, so choose something quick and easy to set up. Some travel cots can be assembled and folded with one hand, which is a lifesaver if you're holding your baby.

Portability: Think about whether or not you will need to carry the travel cot, either through an airport, or to a friend's house. It might be that you will want to move it from room to room too. Check the travel cot has a travel bag which will make it easy to carry, especially if it has as shoulder strap or strong carrying handles. Also consider if it has wheels which will make moving the travel cot from room to room much simpler.

Features to consider before purchasing a travel cot

Here are some travel cot features to look out for when deciding on which travel cot is best for you and your baby.

Mattress

Travel cots come with a mattress supplied, but some are comfier than others. Check how thick it is and whether it provides enough support for a good night's sleep. If not, thicker travel cot mattresses can be purchased separately – but that's an extra expense and something else to pack!

Fold mechanism

As well as checking how simple it is to assemble the travel cot, make sure you can fold it away again easily. Could you do it in a hurry if you're dashing to the airport? If you have older children, make sure inquisitive little fingers can't access the mechanism for folding the travel cot when it's in use.

Fabric

Most travel cots have mesh sides to encourage airflow and enable you to see your baby easily when they're sleeping. Check the quality of the fabric and how easy it is to wipe clean.

Wheels

If you want to move the cot elsewhere in the house for daytime naps or playpen use, choose one with wheels for easy manoeuvrability.

Bedding

Standard cot bedding may not fit your travel cot, so check what size bedding is required and factor in any extra expense. Make sure the bedding fits the mattress securely with no loose fabric.

Zip panels

Choose a travel cot with side panels that zip open and closed if you'd like to be able to reach your baby without bending low over the side of the cot. If it doubles as a playpen, a 'window' to crawl through can add to the fun.

Insect net

If you plan to travel with your baby to a climate where mosquitoes might bother them, choose a travel cot with an insect net, and check it fits the travel cot securely.

What age are travel cots advised for?

Travel cots come in a variety of sizes and styles, and they all have different upper age and/or weight limits. Consider how old your child will be when using the travel cot, and choose one suitable for their age. Most of the travel cots in our list above can be used from birth until your baby weighs 15kg, which is approximately three years old. Keep in mind that once your baby makes the transition from sleeping in a cot to a bed, they'll probably prefer a bed to a travel cot when away from home overnight.

Can I travel on a plane with a travel cot?

Yes! Although all airlines will have their own rules on luggage allowances, but if you are flying with a baby then typically parents of infants are allowed to take at least two items - e.g. travel cot, buggy or car seat - at no extra cost.

If you're buying a travel cot to take on holiday and are travelling by plane, boat or train, choose one that folds as compactly as possible to make it easier to transport. If you're driving, make sure it fits in your car boot and still leaves enough room for the rest of your luggage.

Think about where you'll keep the travel cot when it's not in use, too. If space is not an issue, you could look into the larger options available.

All travel cots are designed to be light enough to carry, but some are heavier than others, and there's generally a pay-off between how light it is and how durable it is, and also how big it is.

If you'll be carrying it a lot on your journey, such as through an airport, then weight may take priority, but if you've got a cruising toddler, and throwing the cot in a big boot is about the extent of your lugging it around, then a sturdier, perhaps heavier, cot would be better.

How to assemble a travel cot

Wrestling with an unwieldy travel cot and a tired baby after a long journey is stress you really don't need in your life, so choose one that doesn't require an engineering degree to set up. While how to put up a travel cot differs depending on the brand, some can be assembled and folded away within seconds, even with one hand – and that's a really helpful feature if you're going to be assembling it with your baby or other children in tow.

Where can I buy a travel cot?

Whether you need one pronto or want to spend your time researching the perfect travel cot, there are plenty of places where you can pick one. We'd recommend these trusted retailers that offer great products and plenty of reviews so you can make sure you're buying the right one for your little one:

Amazon

John Lewis

Mamas & Papas

ASDA

Can I buy a travel cot second-hand?

If you're looking to buy a second-hand travel cot, there are a few things to check before you make your purchase to ensure comfort and safety for your little one.

•Firstly, all travel cots should comply with British Standards Institution (BSI) safety standard BS EN 716:1 2008. Make sure you can see this number on your travel cot. If you can't, then it is best not to buy it.

• Check that it assembles and folds down correctly. Perhaps even ask the seller for a demo to check that it is easy to fold and unfold. Overtime the lock mechanism can wear and become tricky.

• Make sure it's sturdy and inspect the frame, which will likely be metal, for any sharp edges.

• Make sure the seller provides you with the original instruction booklet, but also check the base of the cot because some brands print the instructions there.

•It's also worth purchasing a new mattress for the travel cot. However, if the second hand cot does come with a mattress then check it over and ensure it is waterproof.

How to clean your travel cot

If your travel cot has been tucked away in the loft for a few years and it smells a bit musty, or your child has turned it into a bit of a mess, a good tip for cleaning is to use warm soapy water and a sponge.

Make sure to leave it out in the fresh air and sunlight to dry. Another tip when purchasing a travel cot is to choose dark colours which will get less stained than a light grey or beige, especially with all that travelling, a dark colour will hide scuff marks and general wear.

Travel cot safety

There are a number of safety aspects to check on your travel cot for your peace of mind. Emily McInnes, a paediatric nurse and holistic sleep coach from Sound Asleep Coaching, advises that you "ensure that the travel cot has a firm flat surface/ mattress, there are no loose objects attached the cot and no sharp edges and always ensure that the child is dressed appropriately according to the temperature of the bedroom. Be mindful of this when you are in a warmer environment when away on holiday. If your child is in a sleep suit, ensure that the tog of sleeping bag is the correct tog for the temperature of the room."

Some other safety features to consider include:

Stability: Be sure to use the mattress that comes with the cot, as changing it could affect the stability of the cot and could make it easier to tip.

Escaping: Swapping for a thicker mattress could give your tot more height and make it easier for them to escape.

Corners: Be wary of how smooth corners are - make sure there is no chance of your baby's clothes getting caught on them to avoid any chance of strangulation.

Flexible sides: Pop-up-style tents may be easy to erect and dismantle; however, the flexible sides mean that if you were to stumble onto the cot, there would be no ridged sides to stop your fall.

Zips: Make sure you check all zips are secure, as any loose zips that become unattached could potentially become choking hazards.

Wheels: The wheels must be able to securely lock into place or have two wheels and two legs for sturdiness.

Test it out: Make sure you try it out before you travel to check all of the above safety aspects.

Safe sleeping in a travel cot

The general consensus is that you need to be following the same sleeping guidance for your baby in a travel cot as you would at home.

Here's what The Lullaby Trust have to say:

"The same 'safer sleep' rules apply to a travel cot, which should have a rigid frame and base, and a firm, flat mattress, covered in a waterproof material. Travel cot mattresses are often thinner and feel harder than those in a permanent cot, but don't be tempted to place folded blankets or a quilt under the baby to make them 'more comfortable'. If you are very tight for space, you may have to consider re-arranging the furniture in the room to ensure that the travel cot isn't against a radiator, in direct sunlight, and is out of reach of blind cords and hazards."

Emily McInnes also advises that it is wise to get your child familiar with the travel cot before using it when away. She suggests, "you may like to introduce your child to the travel cot in your home environment before your holiday, so that it is not completely new when you go away. Try and incorporate some of the sleep associations that you use in your home environment such as a comforter or particular blanket. This will make your child feel more at home when they are in their travel cot in a new environment and you can use white noise for babies under 6 months and pink noise for babies over 6 months when away, to help block out any new break-through noises which could impact their sleep."

About the expert

Emily McInnes is a a Paediatric Nurse and Certified Holistic Sleep Coach and she has over ten years experience in healthcare settings. She is interested in and has experience of sleep biology, sleep cycles, circadian rhythm and attachment styles and she applies her evidence based practice to real life situations.

Emily Gilbert is the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.

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Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.