“ Brand: Lifemarque / Type: Cots „
We bought this travelcot on the recommendation of friends - I think the husband was swung by the fact that it's tent-like and 'rugged', rather than a traditional heavy travelcot.
We were lucky enough to be given a Graco travelcot (the traditional type that can be used as a playpen) and while this is great when in place, it's not particularly travel friendly due to it's weight. As we were embarking on a road trip with limited space in the car we went for this option.
To put the cot up is relatively simple - the mattress is inserted and the two poles are erected and slid through the holes to make the tent. You do need a bit of space to do this at first but you get used to it quickly. When the cot is up there is a zip at the top and a zip section at the side so you can put your child in either way.
We first used this with a 5 month old. Although she wasn't crawling she was very good at rolling so we quickly learnt to keep the side section zipped up to prevent escape. We used it this month with a walking 15 month old, and the top and side had to be closed to prevent crawling or trying to climb out. She was very excited to see it this time and it was fun trying to get her in and out.
The mattress doesn't look that comfortable but we've never added anything else and she sleeps very well in it. She moves/shuffles a lot in her sleep and despite the small size of the inside it doesn't seem to restrict her movement or wake her when she shuffles into the sides.
It's very light and compact to carry and would be ideal to take on a flying holiday if no cot were provided. Only downside is I'm not entirely sure how old a child you could realistically put in there - I'm sure ours will be used with my new baby and I'll have to find something else for the eldest before she grows out of it.
A pricey but useful piece of kit, especially if you intend to travel a lot with your child.
The main reason we bought this travel cot was its weight. It weighs less than 2.5kg, and folds up into a small holdall (50cm length, 24cm diameter), so you could take it on a plane as hand luggage.
It is, in effect, a very small tent, and can actually be used as such as it comes with four tent pegs for securing it to the ground. Not being much of a camper myself, I am not sure why you would want your baby in his/her own tent instead of in yours, unless you were sleeping al fresco (risky, in this country). It is put together like a tent - it has two poles which are folded into lengths and snap together. These are colour-coded to match the tabs at the corners so that you get the right pole into the right slot. This is important because the poles are different lengths (one goes over the other, so needs to be longer) and if you get them the wrong way round, you could damage the fabric. It will also look a bit odd and you won't be able to figure out why (voice of experience talking here).
It is easy to put together once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is putting the mattress in, which has thick Velcro tabs on the underside to hold it in place - if you get one of them slightly wrong, it takes some effort to rip the whole thing off again. The mattress is not very thick, but it seems to be comfortable as neither of my children had any problems sleeping on it. It is wipe-clean, so a bit plasticky in feel, but as it is the size of a cotbed mattress it is easy enough to get a sheet for it.
The top and side panels are made of mosquito netting. The top panel and one of the side panels unzip, and the top panel has a little pocket for the flap if you want to keep it open.
Once your baby can roll, you need to use the corner tabs to secure it to the furniture - I have heard of one instance of a baby rolling around the floor in it like a hamster in a plastic ball! Even though this is supposed to be suitable up to three years, I wouldn't put my toddler in it now as he would be able to climb out and could hurt himself in the process. We used it until he was nearly two with no problems.
It costs about £75; we bought ours from John Lewis, but they are available from Safetots and Kiddicare, among other places. You can also buy a sunshield (SPF30) for £10, so you could use it as a UV tent as well. Unlike regular travel cots, it can't be used as a playpen.
This is a really good travel cot, my children have found it very comfortable and sleep well in it. If size and weight are an issue, this would be a good buy.