MommyMandy l Texas Mom Blog

Choosing the best portable bed for your toddler – air mattress, folding bed or a cot

So, it’s that time – time to start taking your kid to trips. Every mom and dad know the trials and tribulations of traveling with your kid.

A big part of the worries that come with the job is one question: “Are they going to sleep well?”

The answer to that makes all the difference. Not only because of the fact that if they don’t sleep, you don’t sleep but because of the fact that what they do and how they behave during the day is largely determined by how rested they are.

So, today, we are looking into the things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best portable bed for your kid.

Types of portable beds to consider

Air mattress for kids/toddlers

A toddler air mattress makes a practical solution both for trips and transitioning from a crib to a regular bed.

Luckily, airbeds are relatively inexpensive, and the difference in prices is so small that you can go with quality and the best brands (like the Shrunk Tuckaire toddler air mattress).

6 Questions to ask yourself before choosing

  1. Do I have a restless sleeper on my hands?

If your child is one of those daredevils that you find sleeping in incredible positions, if they toss and turn, you might want to opt in for an inflatable bed with raised and sturdy sides that keep them safely inside the sleeping surface.

  1. Do we still have “accidents”?

If the answer is yes, an airbed is probably the best option (as oppose to folding foam beds and cots).

But not just any airbed – you might want to look for a bed that doesn’t come with a flocked top. Sure, the ones with the velvety finish look more comfortable, but once the flocking is soaked once or twice, there’s no way of getting the smell out.

A toddler inflatable bed that’s only PVC surface might need and extra blanket (although they usually come with a fitted cover) to make them comfier, but if an accident happens, the PVC won’t keep the smell in and is easily cleaned and you can wash the covers.

  1. Will I use the inflatable around the house or taking it to trips?

Most of the airbeds for kids come with an electric pump that both inflates and deflates the bed (within a minute or less).

Now, that’s all nice and well if you’re going to be using the bed around the house, but if you intend to travel and camp, make a note of whether the valve can be used with a manual pump or if the A/c pump can be battery operated.

If you are traveling overseas, make sure that you have an outlet adapter for the pump.

  1. Packing and flying

An airbed is the most practical option and probably the only option if you are flying. Deflated airbed come with their own carry bag and can easily be packed into a suitcase.

None of the other portable travel beds are as easily packed as an inflatable. Read the product description carefully and look for the size of the deflated mattress as oppose the dimensions of the inflated bed that are usually more obviously listed.

  1. How often will you be using it?

Luckily, as we mentioned, the difference in cost between the best and the worst airbeds is pretty small and, unless it’s a one-off occasion, you should stick with the recognized brands (such as Shrunks Tuckaire, Intex or Aerobed).

The differences range from a simple matter of holding air (you don’t want to wake up and see your kid sleeping on the floor and a deflated mattress) to more serious issues like safety. For example, the Shrunks Tuckaire is completely eco-friendly, BPA and phthalates-free.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of choosing the right inflatable bed for your toddler let’s take a look at some other available styles.

Folding travel bed for kids

A foldable travel bed is the most comfortable option of the three we’ll be looking into in this guide. It’s also by far the most expensive.

That makes it a good option if your plan is to use it mainly around the house or car camping because it doesn’t pack as small as an airbed.

It’s also not the best option if your little one still has accidents because the foam is practically impossible to clean and rid of the smell.

Brands, quality and safety

With all that foam, you have to approach the choice of folding bed for your kid with safety as the primary concern.

Choose a brand and a product that strictly adheres to the safety standards. The safest bet is going with a product that has stood the test of time (a good example – Leachco BumpZZZ travel bed).

Lastly, a folding bed is not really designed to contain your kid if there
are restless sleepers, because the sides are not as sturdy.

Toddler cot bed

A cot for your kid is probably second to an air mattress when it comes to portability and ease of use.

It folds up much like a folding chair, it’s made of steel with plastic parts and it folds up nice and small. Again, probably not the best option if your trip plan includes flying.

It’s not as comfortable as an airbed or a folding travel bed because most models don’t include foam padding; it’s just canvas, which makes it more portable.

It is a good option when there’s no risk of the child folding over – in other words, it’s best for kids who are already used to sleeping in a bed without sides or rails.

Like with all the previous styles, let’s mention that getting a top quality product from a reputable brand of travel cots makes all the difference (Regalo My cot is a good example).

Summary of the guide on choosing a toddler travel bed

It is a cliché but it’s true that, in the end, it all comes down to your specific needs and that of your kid.

We’ve gone through a list of things to consider, but let’s reiterate:

  • How often will you be using the portable bed?
  • Is your child a restless sleeper?
  • Do you plan to take the bed to trips and if so, do the trips include flying?
  • Does your child still have “accidents”?

We’ve also mention the top products and brands for each style we looked into (Shrunks Tuckaire in air mattresses, Leachco BumpZZZ if folding travel beds and Regalo My Cot  among the travel cots for kids)

Between the answers to the questions, the mentioned top brands and products in travel beds and the user reviews, you are now better equipped to make an informed decision than 99 % of parents out there.

Sweet dream to you and your little one






About the Author

Amanda Acuña an influential Mom Blogger created MommyMandy as an online resource to the parenting community. She has four children and they currently reside in Texas.


  1. My child loves the air beds and we take one when we go and spend the night at relatives and she has somewhere to sleep. She really likes sleeping on it and does not have any problems.

  2. this is a great outline of the different reasons to go with different types. I know my sister they have a mattress but they let it sit on the floor, scared she will fall out of bed still.

  3. I love the Folding travel bed for kids. I will save money to buy one for my son because we travel couple times a year, and it would help him feel comfortable when travelling
    Thank You for sharing!

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