Travelling changes once you have a little one in tow, but a trusty, high-quality portacot (also called a portable cot or a baby travel cot) can help alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with moving around with your child.
With its easy assembly, compact carry size, and comfortable mattress, the BabyBjorn Travel Cot lets you put your baby to sleep wherever you are.
- Ease of Assembly5.0 (8)
- Build Quality5.0 (7)
- Safety5.0 (7)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 5.0 (7)
- Value for Money4.6 (8)
The Star Kidz Amico Portacot has added features for safety and convenience - such as a secured mattress base and a side zip to easily get your bub in and out of the cot - making it a great choice to keep your child comfortable when on the move.
- Ease of Assembly4.9 (32)
- Build Quality4.9 (30)
- Safety4.8 (26)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 4.9 (24)
- Value for Money4.8 (32)
Designed for sleep and play, the Phil & Teds traveller™ travel cot is comfortable, easy to carry, and can be turned into a bug-proof safe place for your child.
- Ease of Assembly5.0 (3)
- Build Quality5.0 (3)
- Safety5.0 (3)
- Cleaning & Maintenance 5.0 (3)
- Value for Money5.0 (3)
Its plush mattress, array of safety features, and ability to switch between a bassinet and cot level make the Babyhood Bambino Dormire a trusty companion when travelling with your child.
Latest review: My 8 week old loves this... Makes transfers to pushchair perfect... And she sleeps so soundly in it. Perfect all year round as you can leave it open. When it's hot or zip it up with a blanket when
Latest review: As others have said, the Stardust is super quick and easy to open and close. The mattress is thick, firm and supportive. It’s very sturdy and I like that it is narrow. It’s also safe for long term use
Latest review: This ones a great little portacot. Great price. Easy to assemble and disassemble. Easy to clean (spot clean) also very good to store away when it’s not being used. I’ve taken mine to hotels and it’s b
Latest review: We bought the cosy crib before bub was born and didn't realise what a great purchase it was until we were using this all the time when bub was in his earlier months! It's so handy as a daybed in the
Latest review: Such a Great product, Easy to put up and down!!! no trouble at all getting it back in the bag!! Super lite great for Travel!! Would 100% recommend, absolutely love
Price (RRP) $249.00
Latest review: Even if you spend 100 years you will never straighten the side bars i even ripped off the fabric of one of the bars to see the buttons of the sidebars so i can align it didnt work. Functionality
Latest review: This was the BEST, I used it interstate in hotels and when we went to Singapore and Thailand when my daughter was 6 months old, you can use it alone, or when there were cots in hotels, I asked them
Latest review: I received this as a bonus when I purchased the babyhood amani cot and it’s turned out to be one of the best products we got for baby. We have a 2 storey house so we set this on the lounge d
Latest review: Fold easily and has a Bassinett level for newborns. Its modern looking and not as bulky as our previous portacot. It sits abit lower and is probably a bit smaller than most portacots but not by alot.
Latest review: Had bub in the small section at the top for a little while. Liked the change station because it had clips to make sure bub wouldn't move. After a bit of use the material started to sag so i had to
Latest review: Sets up and goes down easily! In built bassinet is An AWESOME feature! the whole lot fits back in the bag with ease - have used a lot of portacots in the past and this is hands down the best I’ve e
What is a portacot?
A portacot is a bed for a baby or toddler that collapses or folds into a compact size for easy transportation. They’re lightweight, portable, and are designed for use when a isn’t available, such as when you’re travelling, overnighting somewhere, or even just visiting a friend and there’s a possibility that your baby may need a nap during the day.
While a regular cot usually has wooden sides, a portacot has fabric or mesh sides, and a removable mattress.
Is a portacot suitable for everyday use?
No, a portacot isn’t suitable for everyday use. They should only be used as a short term sleeping arrangement because they’re not as sturdy as full-sized household cots. They’re also subject to more knocking around and wear and tear from being constantly folded and carried around.
A more durable cot for daily use is not only important for your child’s safety, but is also more practical. Regular cots are larger and can thus accommodate children until they’re 3 or 4 years old, whereas a travel cot generally only works for kids until they’re around 2 years old before they outgrow them.
Household cots are also raised higher than portacots, so you don’t have to strain your back carrying your baby in and out of the cot.
What to look for in a portacot
Ensure that the cot you choose is certified to the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2195:1999 - this standard sets out the requirements a foldable cot must have to ensure that it’s safe. This means that it’s secure, doesn’t have gaps in which a child’s head could become trapped in, that its mattress is safe, and that the cot has sufficient safety and instruction markings.
It is recommended to choose a cot that complies with the updated 2010 version of this Australian standard, which tests for adequately breathable fabrics. This becomes a safety issue, for example, if the baby rolls face first into the side - cots with mesh sides usually comply with this standard.
Although this is a voluntary standard that manufacturers can choose to comply with, safety should be the first priority when looking for a cot and this extra safety feature could give you extra peace of mind when leaving your child to rest. Plus, a well ventilated cot does wonders to keep your baby cool and comfortable.
Travel cot mattresses
Usually a mattress is included with a portacot - if one isn’t, then you should purchase a portacot mattress from the same manufacturer that’s tailor-made to the cot.
A different mattress could pose a suffocation risk or be too high for the cot, letting your child easily climb out. A fitted mattress will be safer, more comfortable for your child, and will also help keep your portable baby cot compact when you’re on-the-go.
The mattress should also be firm enough to not be impressionable, as an overly soft mattress could pose another suffocation risk if it easily moulds to your baby’s face.
There shouldn’t be any protruding parts on the interior of the cot that your baby or child could hit their head on, snag their clothing on, or use as a foothold to climb out of their cot.
A portacot is supposed to be portable, so keep in mind its size when you pack it down - it helps to have one that easily fits into the boot of your car if you drive one, and can be easily stored when not in use (which will be the majority of the time as portacots aren’t designed for daily use).
While it should still be smaller than a regular cot, a portacot should still be large enough to be a comfortable sleep space for your child and give them enough space to move around when being used as a playpen.
A durable cot is necessary both for your child’s safety and in terms of buying a product that represents good value for money.
Think about how often you’ll need to use the cot and how often you go on holidays or weekend trips. Your cot will need to be able to withstand rough handling at airports and more than a few knocks in the boot of your car without sustaining any damage.
Look for a secure locking mechanism that prevents it from collapsing once it’s assembled, and for a sturdy build so that your child won’t be able to tip the cot over from the inside. You should also keep an eye out for the cot floor - ensure that it doesn’t sag when you press down on the base, as a dip would be uncomfortable for your baby and could pose a safety risk.
Durability can also be considered as how long your child can use the cot - getting a cot that caters for newborns to toddlers will help you get better bang for your buck.
Your baby’s comfort is important, not just for their sake but also for yours - an uncomfortable baby is more likely to wake up in the middle of the night, and as parents know, if the baby is awake, so are you.
A comfortable mattress in the cot is usually thermally-insulated or has extra cushioning or padding, although different babies have different preferences - if your baby sleeps well in the cot at home, look for a mattress that feels similar.
For your own comfort, a zip side can be convenient and make it easy to put your little one in and out of the cot without needing to bend over and strain your back. It can also let you partially lay inside the cot with your baby if they’re struggling to sleep.
Ease of assembly
Travelling or being on-the-go isn’t the time to be fiddling around with a portacot that’s difficult to set up. Look for a cot that’s easy to assemble and, as importantly, easy to fold and pack down - ask for an in-store demo if you can, or read reviews on the travel cot you’re thinking of purchasing.
Also consider how much weight you can feasibly carry, taking into consideration the high likelihood that you’ll also be lugging around suitcases and travel bags at the same time. An extremely lightweight portacot may not be as important if you’re only looking for a cot to take on the odd trip to Grandma’s house, but weight should still be one of your main considerations.
Cleaning and maintenance
When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, look for machine washable parts and covers that can easily be popped into your machine.
Some parents also take a portable travel cot for use at picnics or similar events - if you’re planning on doing this, check that the materials used in the cot are appropriate for outdoor use, and that dirt or grass stains can easily be washed away.
There are plenty of additional accessories that can come with a portacot that can make your life a little bit easier - you may not need them all, but your safest bet is to choose a model that includes enough features so that you can use it in different ways in a variety of settings.
- Carry bag: A matching carry bag helps make your compact travel cot easy to transport.
- Wheels: Wheels make the cot easy to move around once it has been set up.
- Storage pocket: Some baby travel cots have an external storage pocket where you can store any baby products (or your own personal items) you may want easy access to, such as soft toys and nappies.
- Bassinet insert: A portacot with a bassinet is useful if you have a baby, particularly if you suffer back pain that makes it difficult for you to set down your baby and pick it up from outside the cot.
- Change table: A portacot with a change table attachment that can be placed atop the cot can be a handy surface to clean up your baby on.
- Mosquito net: A portacot with a mosquito net can help protect your baby against mosquitos and other insects so they can sleep peacefully.
Portacots will usually set you back between $50 and $500, although most are in the $150 to $300 range.
Travelling is more often than not stressful for babies and young children, and these new and unfamiliar environments can make it difficult for them to feel comfortable. Their portacot can be the one constant place they have that they feel safe and calm in when they sleep and play.
Considering all your options and choosing what’s right for your baby, yourself, and your travel will give you one less thing to worry about and will help you enjoy your trips away with your family.