What every best Mini Cribs has:
- Breathable sides.
- A sturdy frame.
- A firm, well-fitting mattress or mattress pad.
"Baby Bargains," a comprehensive book by Denise and Alan Fields, reviews baby gear and common baby brands. The authors review popular cribs and play yards based on expert testing and parents' reviews, as well as information from manufacturers and retailers. Their website offers up-to-date information, additional reviews, recall information and forums for parents to discuss baby products.
The editors of BabyGearLab.com review five popular travel cribs, subjecting them to tests that include ease of assembly and disassembly. The cribs are also compared on weight, features, safety, comfort, quality and value. The reviews are highly descriptive and detailed, going through each crib point by point and discussing how they fared during testing.
Connolly and other testers spent 30 hours researching 60 play yards, ultimately choosing five for hands-on testing. They back up their pick with a detailed rundown of pros and cons, and include two runners-up for parents who may want more or fewer features or a different price point. A detailed buying guide also helps parents focus on what's really important in a play yard.
BabyCenter.com names an overall winner and five finalists in the play yard category of its annual Moms' Picks Awards, based on results of a survey of more than 8,000 parents. Picks are accompanied by editors' reviews and ratings, and quotes from parents. Special awards are also given for value, quality, looks, ease of use and space-saving abilities. The site also has in-depth reviews on other pack ‘n plays and play yards.
BabyGizmo.com's video reviews, featuring founder Hollie Schultz, are widely viewed and respected for their attention to detail, including demonstrations of ease of folding and unfolding each play yard, discussion of lifestyle factors such as comfort and portability, and reviews of storage and other amenities.
LuciesList.com is a site devoted to recommending the best baby gear for new parents. Founder Meg Collins is a former Child Passenger Safety Technician who recommends five travel cribs at a variety of price points. Elsewhere on the site, she recommends several pack ‘n plays.
Amazon.com is one of a parent's best resources for real-world reviews of mini, portable and travel cribs. Reviews are often quite detailed and even-handed. Some cribs may have fewer reviews than others, especially as the price goes up. Prospective buyers should read carefully, since reviewers sometimes wrongly fault a product for bad experiences with a seller or shipping. Readers should also beware of older reviews, which might discuss an older version of a product with flaws that have been addressed.
BabiesRUs.com is a solid source for customer reviews of pack ‘n plays and play yards, particularly popular models and those exclusively sold at Babies "R" Us. Owners rate products on a one-to-five-star scale, and the site offers a helpful snapshot of reviewers' pros and cons. However, information generally isn't as detailed as it is at Amazon, and there tend to be not as many reviewers overall.
Target.com is a popular destination for purchasing nursery accessories and gear. It sells fewer pack ‘n plays, play yards and travel cribs than Amazon.com, and there are fewer reviews overall. But user feedback tends to be detailed and helpful.
Walmart.com offers parent feedback on a range of pack ‘n plays, play yards and travel cribs. It is a particularly good source for opinions on more basic models. Customers rate products on a five-star scale and note whether they would recommend them to a friend.
ConsumerReports.org no longer reviews and ranks play yards or portable cribs, but its buying guide is a helpful starting point for parents who may not be familiar with these products. Editors cover types of play yards, features, major brands and safety. This article is free to the public, but membership is required to view ratings for other products.