One of the most important pieces you will buy for your new baby is a crib. Crib shopping can leave new parents feeling overwhelmed with so many designs and types of cribs to choose from. While regular cribs are a popular choice, there has been a rise in “alternative” cribs recently, as Mom and Dad look for smaller portable options that they can use anywhere.
Travel cribs and the infamous Pack n Play are just two of the many portable cribs available. Let’s learn more about these trendy alternatives.
Why Choose an Alternative Crib?
Gone are the days of bulky regular cribs placed in perfectly decorated nurseries. Many parents opt for travel cribs or Pack n Play portable cribs for their babies to rest their heads. Available in various sizes, designs, and even choices of materials, alternative cribs are great for use at home or on the go.
Here are a few benefits of a travel crib or Pack n Play:
- Great alternative for smaller spaces
- Compact design – can be folded for storage or transportation
- Price – cheaper than regular cribs
Travel Cribs Vs Pack n Play: Similarities and Differences
Both a travel crib and Pack n Play are portable, allowing parents to put the baby down to sleep at home, a friend’s home, and even for those sleepovers at Granny’s house. While they have the same use, some differences set these crib types apart. Let’s compare the travel crib and Pack n Play based on their size, cost, available accessories, and compact design features that make them stand out above other alternative cribs.
Smaller than a regular crib, the travel crib is the smallest option available and can be easily set up in even the smallest space. A travel crib can also be converted to a playpen for safe play anywhere. Travel cribs are lighter weight and foldable, making them easy to set up and then fold away after use, and can be used safely for up to four years.
The Pack n Play is larger than a travel crib but has the added convenience of being portable, allowing parents to pop a baby in it for a nap in any room. It has two height levels to allow for elevated sleeping and can be used for three years. A Pack n Play has wheels, making it easy to move the crib from one room to the next, and can be used as a playpen.
If price influences your choice of a crib, both the travel crib and Pack n Play are cheaper than a regular crib and have many more uses. A travel crib is more expensive than a Pack n Play but still cheaper than wooden cribs or bassinets in design magazines in perfectly decorated nurseries.
A good quality travel crib can cost you upwards of $200, and with fewer accessories than the Pack n Pay, it is considered a more expensive alternative. Pack n Play type cribs are available in various materials and designs and have additional accessories that can be purchased separately to be used with the Pack n Play.
If we chose a crib based on versatility and the number of accessories available, the Pack n Play would be a clear winner. While a travel crib has a basic design and no extra accessories apart from the thicker mattress, the Pack n Play has a wide range of accessories that one can purchase separately. These include:
- Bassinet attachment (full-size bassinet)
- Diaper changing tables
- Toy mobile
- Diaper stacker
- Vibrate and music function consoles
As mentioned above, the Pack n Play features two levels to choose from, and these are adjusted as your baby becomes more mobile. While the upper level is great for the newborn and infant stage, this level can be removed for safety once your baby starts to roll and sit up.
Travel cribs and Pack n Plays are available in various designs and materials that can match any room. A travel crib is generally one solid color with breathable mesh sides for added safety and has a thicker, more comfortable mattress than a Pack n Play. Choosing sheets and blankets might be more tricky with a travel crib, as they come in different sizes and do not use standard-sized sheets.
The Pack n Play, too, has at least one or two mesh sides for air circulation, while some have 360-degree mesh sides, depending on the brand you choose. This is great for babies to view what is happening around them when they are in the lower level or when used as a playpen. The Pack n Play uses a standard-sized crib mattress, making it easy to purchase bedding and sheets.
Is there an Overall Winner?
If we were to crown a winner based on the features, versatility, and cost of the alternative crib options we have compared in this article, the Pack n Play would be it. But, choosing a crib is all down to personal preference and should be chosen according to your needs, budget, and where you will be using it. Both are excellent for safe sleep, and some have storage pockets and travel bags.
When purchasing a crib, do your research on popular brands and styles available, and speak to moms that you may know for advice on which crib type they used for their baby. While a crib is mainly used as a place for your baby to sleep, having extra features like the versatility to be used as a playpen and the accessories available, a good-quality travel crib or Pack n Play can be an excellent alternative to bulky cribs. Read a travel crib review to help you choose between crib vs. Pack n Play.
Travel cribs and Pack n Plays have increased in popularity as parents worldwide seek more versatile options to replace traditional cribs and full-size bassinets. Available in various designs and materials and with extra accessories, both the travel crib and Pack n Play are fantastic alternatives that can be used for many years. Choose one of these great options, and enjoy the versatility of alternative cribs.