Choosing the Best Portable Bed for Your Child – Air Mattresses vs. Folding Beds
In today’s guide, we’re going to take an in-depth look at how to choose right when the moment comes to start traveling with your little ones and you need to choose the right portable bed. We’ll take a look at some of the styles, compare toddler air mattresses and foldable beds side by side, looking at the PROs and CONs of each of them.
How a child changes the way you travel
When the days of care-free youth are behind you, and it’s time to take on the responsibilities of a parent, everything shifts in a split of a second. The change might come as a shock to new parents that used to be dynamic travel addicts because traveling with a kid is a whole new game.
It can still be a lot of fun, but it requires a well-crafted plan and a number of right decisions.
Just a few examples of how travel changes if a kid comes into the picture:
- Every moment is their moment – Travel used to be about being able to stop with your loved one and savor the moment. Enjoy the fact that you are there at that moment, admiring that view. Well, forget all that and prepare to have a new focal point for your trips. Unless your child is in the habit of taking long naps, most of the time you spend on your trips will in some ways be about your kid.
Prepare to watch those that lounge by the pool reading a spy novel with deep envy.
- Say goodbye to anonymity – remember those time when you used just to blend in and revel in the peace and calm of anonymity. Say goodbye to that too because chances are that no matter where you are, beach or a hotel resort, within a few days of your baby or toddler making a fuss, you’ll soon be known as “those people with the kid.”
- Eating together – if you still recall and ponder those serene mornings where you and your loved one would just enjoy the food and each other’s company, stop it now. With a kid, especially a baby, breakfasts become the chaotic battle of how gets one more bite and who gets to distract the kids by showing them birds. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
- Sleep – the rule here is simple – THEY SLEEP, YOU (maybe) SLEEP. Not only that but the rest of the trip is primarily affected by how well they sleep and if they wake up cranky because you’re making kid’s sleep in this strange new bed.
So, you better make sure they find the new bed comfortable and fun. This part alone can make or break your trip.
Choosing the Best Portable Bed: Toddler air mattresses vs. foldable beds
Choosing a portable bed that’s right for your kid comes down to choosing between these two, so let’s take a moment to analyze them mano-a-mano.
Airbeds for kids
If you take long trips that include air travel, a toddler air mattress will probably be your best bet. It’s easy to use and carry around and packs just small enough to fit into your regular luggage and put on a plane.
You can use it for anything from a camping bed to an extra bed in a hotel room. The kids usually love them because they’re bouncy and fun. They also put on a show when they inflate/deflate, so that will take some of the attention away from the fact that you are introducing them to a new bed.
Here are a few tips for choosing a Portable baby (toddler/children) air mattress:
- Read reviews of the air mattresses – we can talk here, and that’s all nice, but nothing beats reading the experience of somebody who’s been there – pinpointing someone in a situation very similar to yours and using the reviews to choose the best air mattress for your baby needs and temperament.
- Choose a reliable brand – airbeds for kids are not expensive, so it makes no sense trying to save a few bucks here. The brands and models that stood the test of times and are worth mentioning here are Shrunks Tuckaire, Intex Kidz and a few Aerobed models.
- Decide if you need side rails – the kids’ portable inflatables come with or without side rails and the decision will depend on how calm of a sleeper your kid is. If they tend to be a restless sleeper, go with a model with safe side rails.
- Decide if you want a flocked top – most of the blow-up beds for babies and children come with a soft, velvet-like flocked top. The flocking eliminates the crinkling noises but is not a good choice if your child still has nightly “accidents.”
The flocked top is only an option if you are past wetting the bed. If you are still there, go with a bed without a flocking – it’s a breeze to clean and holds no smell.
Folding toddler travel bed – the alternative
We’re calling a folding travel bed “the alternative” because in this guide, we made an effort to address planning trips with your children and if that is your main use of the portable bed, an airbed is most likely to be your better bet.
A folding kid’s bed is a viable option if:
- You are looking for a bed that will mainly be used in your home as a playpen or as the transition from a crib.
- You do plan to travel but not air travel – yes, it can be taken onto a plane but, for most people, it will be too bulky and take too much room. If you have the luxury of giving up other stuff, however, it can be neatly packed in its own bag and carried to a plane as a carry-on.
- Price is not a decision point – they are the superior option when it comes to comfort but they do come with a hefty price tag – two or three times as much as an airbed.
- Wetting the bed is a thing of the past – to be honest, if wetting the bed is still a factor, forget a folding foam bed. They are not easy to clean as is and forget about getting the smell out if an accident happens.
A few final points on choosing a Portable Bed for Your Child:
This is the part where we recourse to clichés like, “it all comes down to your specific needs.” But that’s pretty good if it’s true and if we did a good job of pointing you in the right direction on what “needs” you need to be thinking about.
We are confident that we did.
Travel safe and sleep tight