It is no secret that the Lotus Travel Crib is one of the most popular baby travel cribs in the market. When asked for the best travel crib to recommend, this is perhaps the one that comes first in many's mind.
And here is why that is so.
First of all, lightweight and portability are amongst the most important features to look at when it comes to a good travel crib.
This one here weighs 12 pounds and comes with a hands-free backpack carry bag.
So, the average weight of a travel crib is around 15-18 pounds. At 12, you can say that this is the best lightweight travel crib and indeed, it is by far the lightest we can find in the market.
Which is why we've categorized it as one of the best travel crib for flying because when it comes to travelling, we know each pound makes all the difference.
Portability / Ease of Use
Next, we have to look at whether or not it is easy to use, and be carried around. It would be rather meh if it takes say, half an hour to set up and pack, wouldn't it?
As mentioned, a carry bag is included when you buy the Lotus Travel Crib. You can carry it the way you carry a briefcase, or you can use the convertible backpack straps that are provided to switch it up into a backpack form.
You won't see this feature in other travel cribs because Guava Family, the manufacturer of the Lotus, is the only company in the world that makes cribs that pack into backpacks.
Again, this is why it is the best portable crib for travel because you get to free up both hands to either carry baby or manage other stuffs for a worry-free airport travel.
In fact, the Lotus is designed with ease of flying in mind because you can hand-carry the Lotus onto the plane without having to check it in.
This is something not even the BabyBjörn is able to achieve as most will require you to check it in so this is one of the reasons why parents prefer the Lotus.
They don't have to worry about delayed or missing luggage - baby will still be able to sleep soundly at night upon arrival.
[For a more detailed comparison between the Lotus and BabyBjörn, head over here.]
In terms of ease of use, it won't take you half an hour. Simply set it up in 15 seconds - it is pretty instinctive, most wouldn't even need to read the manual.
What Makes It Special
Now let's see what truly sets the Lotus apart from its competitors.
First and perhaps the most distinctive, is that the Lotus Travel Crib has a side zipper door.
If you're not familiar with travel cribs, let us tell you that most, if not all, will have its mattress lay right at the bottom.
To put baby down, you will therefore have to lean all the way in and this can be tricky if you are petite, elderly, or if your baby is a light sleeper.
You see, sensitive babies will surely wake up if put all the way down from the top.
With a side zipper door, you can easily lay your sleeping baby down from the side without risking waking him/her up because God knows how hard it is to put a baby back to sleep.
You will appreciate this feature even more if you nurse your baby to sleep because it allows you to lay down with your baby until s/he falls asleep, before you gently slip out.
Don't worry, the zipper operates quietly so it won't wake your baby up.
If you are on the petite side, it makes it easier for you because you do not need to lean all the way in when laying baby down or lifting him up. Likewise, it is easier on the back for grandparents as well, which is why it is regarded as one of the best portable crib for grandma's house.
Secondly, more often than not, parents will want to double up their travel crib as a play space/playard for baby. Now, you might say most travel cribs are able to do so, so where does the Lotus trump in that?
We'll take the BabyBjorn again as a comparison. The Lotus, if compared, is shaped more like a box and has a wider opening at the top so this makes it less claustrophobic. Babies will feel less confined in it, so we think it makes for a better playard in that sense.
Of course, the BabyBjorn works perfectly fine as a play space as well, but there is one thing that it cannot achieve.
Yup, and again it is where the side zipper door comes into play - it gives your little one their own way in and out, letting them think of the playard as their world and instead of a prison.
Throw a blanket over the top and it became a wonderful little fort that they can run in and out of freely.
Also, the Lotus Travel Crib has mesh all around, including the bottom. This allows full airflow inside the crib, making it completely breathable and comfortable - your little one will not wake up with a sweaty back, that's for sure.
The ClearView Mesh all around right down to the mattress also allows an unobstructed view of your child so that you can keep an eye on him/her, all the while carrying out your chores at the same time.
Thirdly, the Lotus Travel Crib is GREENGUARD GOLD certified.
What this means is that it has been thoroughly tested for chemical emissions, and by this we mean it is tested in a sealed chamber for 7 days to make sure there is no unhealthy off-gassing occurring.
The Lotus passes this test, thereby earning its certification so rest assured this is truly a non-toxic travel crib.
To give you perspective, it is the only travel crib in the world, to date, to have received this rigorous certification.
Adding to its non-toxicity is that no PVC, phthalates, lead or any heavy metals go into its construction.
It is also one of the only two travel cribs in the market that is completely free of flame retardants (the other one being this).
We wouldn't really call this a downside, however, this is what people often comment about when they talk about the Lotus - the thickness of its mattress (especially when compared with BabyBjörn).
You see, one thing that people often rave about the latter is how thick its mattress it. Comparatively, the Lotus' does seem thinner, but there is a reason for it.
The mattress is designed to its current thickness (1 inch) because the Federal Safety Standards (ASTM F-2194 and ASTM F-406) specifically limits it to.
Why so? Because this is a mesh sided product - having padding thicker than 1 inch would allow a gap to open between the mesh sides and the mattress, and this will in turn cause a potential entrapment hazard.
In short, the mattress thickness is intended to protect against the risk of suffocation if an infant is placed on their stomach.
And although it may seem thin to you, your little one will actually find it very, very comfortable as very high quality padding is used in the mattress. Certainly, it is better than a standard pack n play mattress.
But wait, we don't recommend this unless your child is over 1 year.
It is the same philosophy behind standard crib mattresses - a soft sleeping surface can be a suffocation hazard for newborns and infants if they end up on their tummy.
So yes, do not add any extra padding to a mattress until your child is 1 year old (as endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe Sleep guidelines).
Now you know why the Lotus' mattress isn't made any thicker. We do understand why parents would want it to be thicker though, given how the mattress will literally be on the floor, you would want it to be as thick as possible so that baby's comfort can be maximized.
It is not a dealbreaker to us in any means but if this is such a concern for you, then perhaps the BabyBjörn will be a better fit for you. Whatever it is, do not, and let us repeat, just do not ever try to add an additional mattress atop of the Lotus mattress.
Having read the above, you should, by now, understand why the Lotus Travel Crib is such a popular and top rated baby travel crib by many across the world.
Indeed, it continues to become one of the bestselling travel crib, despite the market never being short of competition from existing brands or new emergence every year.
It is lightweight, easy to use, it is safe and it packs up ultra compactly you can literally use it everywhere, everyday.
At home, at friends’ for dinner, at playgroup, across town, at grandparents' sleepovers, in the airport, across the world -
it truly is the best travel crib for flying, best portable bed and best play yard all in one.