In stone-age times, babies slept on soft, smooth, rocks. Fast-forward several thousand years.
In the 1700s, children often slept in their parent’s rooms in what was probably more of a cradle. As homes became larger in the 1800s, cribs came into existence. These were usually homemade, made of solid, durable wood and passed down from child to child.
In the early 1900s, there is the first mention of a playpen (the forerunner to the portable crib), and was used to keep children safe while the parents were occupied. They were originally made of wood, and when parent’s lives became busier and more mobile, portable cribs came into existence. They look like an actual crib, but fold away for temporary storage or travel.
Today, this portable crib has been updated according to safety standards but looks relatively the same as the portable crib that evolved years ago. However, Pack ‘N Plays and other play yards are also referred to as “portable cribs” and have become the more popular option for travel since they are less bulky than the original portable crib.
Since the Pack ‘N Plays have gained popularity as a “portable” crib solution, parents today are looking for a more permanent, smaller than regular sized crib for a variety of reasons…space issues, a baby temporary sleeping in a different room (i.e. parent’s room), or grandma’s house (this is my favorite!).
Since the mini crib has increased in popularity as a more permanent solution, they have become even closer to resembling a regular sized crib. The mini crib mattress is now offered in 5 1/2 inch thickness, which is thicker than the original 1 – 3 inch thickness also available.
Back to the original question…what is the difference between a mini crib and a portable crib?
1) The original portable crib (not the Pack ‘N Play) and today’s mini crib are the same size.
2) Portable cribs can fold up for travel or storage, whereas mini cribs typically do not have this feature.
3) The mini crib bedding and portable crib bedding will fit both pieces of furniture. To be on the safe side (especially with the new mattress thickness offered), check the dimensions listed on the tag.
The emergence of the Pack ‘N Play has impacted the popularity of the portable crib as the travel crib option; while the mini crib has gained popularity as a more permanent, smaller crib solution.
So the moral is, if you don’t have a Pack ‘N Play, make sure you invest in a separate mini crib for grandma’s house!