Portable Travel Cots
Choice, the independent, unbiased Australian consumer reviewer, has done a recent very thorough assessment of the safety or otherwise of portable travel cots and it’s been concerningly enlightening.
Many parents go away on holidays and rely on travel cots to keep their baby or toddler safe and sleeping well. Hotels and holiday stays can be a bit hit and miss with the availability of cots. And the last thing you’d want as a parent is to turn up for your long-awaited vacation and discover there is no baby cot for you to use and the only option is to put your baby into your bed. Especially if you’ve worked especially hard on getting your little one sleeping well at night.
CHOICE reviews on Portable Travel Cots
I subscribe to CHOICE and I feel a need to do a public service and point you in the direction of their review and recommendations on portable travel cots for babies and toddlers.
This is what CHOICE had to say:
“The majority of cots have multiple safety failures which mean we can’t recommend them”. The only ones they recommend had scored 60 or higher in their safety test which means they passed the test of avoiding suffocation or head entrapment.
CHOICE safety tests
CHOICE tested for safety performance including;
- small objects which could become loose and pose a choking hazard
- Sharp corners, edges and points
- Breathable zones: portable cots must have breathable zones (i.e. mesh rather than solid material or non-breathable fabric) on all four sides and at sleeping level. This is to prevent suffocation if an infant happens to roll to the side. Some small or narrow strips of non-breathable areas are OK, such as at the corners.
- Sufficient depth: this is a strict condition to prevent a child falling from the cot
- Horizontal and vertical strength: we test if the cot’s frame is sufficiently sturdy
- Stability: the cot mustn’t tip or tilt too easily
- Wheels: any castors or wheels must have brakes and must not roll too easily, so the cot can’t be pushed out of place too easily
- Entrapment hazards between any moving components
- Head, limb and finger entrapments in openings
- Strangulation hazards from straps or other components
- The mattress must be firm and level enough to provide a safe sleeping surface (as per the Australian test method for mattresses AS/NZS 8811.1).
We also score the portable cots for their ease of use, including:
- Unpacking and setting up the cot, including any supplied accessories
- Folding it and packing it away (into the carry bag, where provided)
- The quality of the supplied instructions.
- Test criteria explained
The overall score is made up of:
- Performance (70%)
- Ease of use (30%).
- Performance and ease of use scores are based on the factors listed above in How we test. For performance, we score as follows:
100% – no failures
80% – only very minor failures
60-65% – at least one minor failure
40% or less – at least one major safety failure.
We only recommend models which score 80% or over, meaning that they pass all our safety tests, but may have some very minor failures such as with information labels.
For some tests (as in this one on portable travel cots), no models score high enough to be recommended. In this case, look for the models that score at least 60% as they’ve passed the key safety tests and have only minor safety failures. Read our buying guide for more information on choosing the safest portable cot.
Steelcraft the travel cot of CHOICE
The only two cots that scored over 60 were two Steelcraft models. See attached info in this screenshot.
Here are my other top tips for holidays and travel to help you.