If you have ever taken a vacation or traveled with a toddler, you know that more often than not, the vacation is for anyone but the parent!
One of the primary concerns you’ll find is the sleeping arrangements. Most 2 year-olds aren’t quite old enough to understand invisible boundaries and sleep in a regular bed all night. However, they are old enough to climb out of most travel cribs making for an interesting night and one LONG vacation.
We did a bit of research and came up with the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers. With the sleeping arrangements managed, you can stop fighting your toddler about sleeping and get back to rest and relaxation.
Here’s what we found.
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The Best Travel Crib for 2 Year Old Toddlers: Lotus Travel Crib
In our opinion, the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers is the Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard.
1) It’s made for travel
At a mere 13 lbs, the Lotus Travel Crib can be carried as a backpack or in a briefcase style during transport. It’s even compact enough to meet most airlines guidelines for carry on status!
The setup and tear down is simple and easy – it can be done in minutes (even while wrangling said 2 year-old).
2) It’s great for sleep (and fun!)
This travel crib is made with a slightly longer mattress than the standard travel sleeper. At 42”, this crib will last longer and be more accommodating for the tallest of our little ones.
Additionally, there is no weight limit because the mattress is positioned on the floor. Because it’s on the floor, it makes it more difficult for your little monkey to climb their way out of bed!
How is it made for fun, you may ask?
One of the things that makes this the best travel crib for 2 year olds is the side zipper. This zipper can be used to completely open the one side of the crib for playing and fort building. Kids love this feature.
And as a parent, you get the benefit of having a built- in play area, even if you are also traveling with older kids. Also, if your little one is still breastfeeding, or you have a hard time reaching the bottom of the crib, the side zipper can be helpful for letting them nurse to sleep, or placing them in the crib easily (without having to drop them that last couple of inches).
3) It’s easy to clean and it’s safe
The Lotus Travel Crib is easy to clean and is exceptionally safe for your little one. The materials used in the construction have no fire-retardant chemicals, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals near your child and the sides are fully mesh for maximum breathability.
The top, cloth portion of the travel crib can be removed and thrown in the washer, while the mesh can easily be wiped down with soap and water.
Truthfully, the only concern I noted with this travel crib was the mattress. It is on the thin and firm side (which you’ll find with most travel cribs). If this is a concern for you, they do sell a quilted cover that definitely helps make it softer.
Overall, the Lotus Travel Crib really checked all the boxes (and then some!) when we were looking for the best travel crib for a 2 year-old.
The Runner Up: Baby Bjorn Travel Crib
Although it may not be the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers, the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib comes pretty darn close.
There are a lot of things we like about this one, but one of the main drawbacks is that it’s more expensive than the Lotus crib. Here’s what we like:
1) It’s light and portable.
Much like the Lotus, this travel crib is only 13 lbs.
Furthermore, it folds compactly in a suitcase-style carry case. It’s not a standard carry-on size for airlines, but is small enough to be checked for free in most cases.
Setup is also easy and can be done in just a few minutes.
2) It’s a good size and comfortable
When compared to the other travel cribs and standard Pack ‘n Play options, the Baby Bjorn does boast a slightly smaller footprint. This makes it slightly easier to set up in tight spaces if space is a concern.
However, due to the angle of the walls, the opening at the top is more narrow than its competitors. If your little one is the claustrophobic type then this may be something to consider before purchasing.
The mattress with this travel crib is slightly thicker and more plush than some of its competitors so it makes a good option for longer-term sleep arrangements. The mattress is placed on the floor like the Lotus, so there is no weight limit concerns with this one either.
3) It’s easy to clean and safe
Similar to the Lotus, this travel crib is easy to clean and is safely constructed.
The Baby Bjorn allows for the removal of the cloth top so it can be machine washed. However, there is another panel along the bottom that can’t be removed and must be washed with soap and water like the mesh panels. This crib also meets top safety standards for not using harmful chemicals in the production of the materials. That includes no fire-retardant treatments to the fabric portions of the crib.
When we compared this one with the Lotus option there were several things we like about both. However, the lower price point, carry-on size, full mesh walls and side zipper made the Lotus our primary choice as the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers.
An Inexpensive Alternative: The Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Nimble Nook
Graco brings us our last and least expensive option in our search for the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers: the Pack N’ Play Playard Nimble Nook
Here’s what you need to know about this one:
1) Despite its heavier weight, it’s still portable
Like standard Pack N’ Play models, the Graco Nimble Nook wraps up the crib inside the mattress for a boxy and slightly more cumbersome tote option.
It weighs in at 19 lbs and, with the carry case, is about 26 inches long. At that size, you may still be able to check it for free at the airline, but some people have had issues with this during their travels.
For setup we can’t complain; the Graco setup has always been fairly simple and straightforward. However, tear-down can be slightly more difficult with that “pull up the bottom slightly in order to push the button” method.
After some practice it goes quickly, but there is no doubt it is more cumbersome that our other two options, which can be done with one hand if necessary.
A bonus (that you don’t see with the Lotus or Baby Bjorn options) is the bassinet insert. The Nimble Nook comes with a removable insert for use as a bassinet while baby is small. So if you’re buying this for a toddler, you can easily reuse it later for an infant if you plan on having more kids. 🙂
2) Size is okay, but smaller than the other options
The sleeping area of the Graco Nimble Nook is slightly smaller than a standard travel crib, at 38” (compare to 42” with the Lotus and 41” for the Baby Bjorn). It also has a suspended mattress system so, unlike its competitors, it does have a weight and height limit.
Graco recommends this travel crib for children under 30 inches tall and 35lbs in weight. The suspended mattress also means you lose a few inches of wall height and your little one may find it easier to climb out (although still pretty tough to do).
3) Not quite as easy to clean
There is no way to throw parts of this Pack N’ Play in the washer, it must be washed with soap and water while standing so it can dry properly.
We also couldn’t find any information about if Graco is currently using fire-retardant chemicals to treat their products. The only other safety concern of note is that it is easier to climb out of, so it can be difficult to keep an especially agile 2 year old from scaling the walls to freedom and potentially hurting themselves.
No major concerns, however, especially when you consider how relatively inexpensive this option is.
Now go get some sleep!
That’s it for our breakdown of the best travel crib for 2 year old toddlers. There are several options, but our favorite once again is the Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard.
Traveling with a toddler isn’t easy, so the least you can do is make sure your sleeping arrangements are done right.
(And while you’re at it, check out our posts about best diaper bag for air travel and best airplane toys to keep your kid quiet and busy.)
What’s your favorite travel crib? Have you tried any of the ones mentioned in this post? Leave a comment below!