Portable cribs differ from playpens and other infant containment devices. They're shaped like a regular crib, but are generally shorter, narrower and not as tall as regular cribs. A portable crib can work well if you're short on space, because it's significantly smaller than a regular crib. With the smaller size come drawbacks, however.
Full-size Crib Dimensions
Full-size cribs must have interior measurements of 28 5/8 inches wide and 52 3/8 inches long plus or minus 5/8 inches, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. With the mattress in the lowest position, you have at least 26 inches from the top of the mattress to the top of the railing. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart on both regular and portable cribs, to avoid entrapment and possible injury. Check your crib for the manufacturer's height and weight limits.
Portable Crib Dimensions
The Consumer Products Safety Commission defines undersize cribs as those measuring less than 49 3/4 inches long and 25 3/8 inches wide. Carousel Designs reports that its portable crib mattresses measure 24 inches wide and 38 inches long. One manufacturer, Delta Children's Products, reports that its portable mini-crib is 39 inches high, according to Consumer reports. With the mattress in the lowest position, 22 inches must exist between the mattress and the top rail. Dorel Juvenile Group lists the height and weight limits for its portable cribs as 35 inches and 50 pounds.
Portable Crib Pros
If you live in a tiny house or apartment, a portable crib can provide a place for your baby to sleep that takes up less floor space. If you need a second crib for Grandma's house, a portable crib also serves as a viable option. A portable crib will also generally cost less than a full-size crib.
Portable Crib Cons
A full-size crib has a thicker mattress and might be more comfortable for your baby to sleep on. Because portable cribs are smaller than full-size cribs, you're not likely to get as much use out of it, unless your child is tiny. The crib rails are generally shorter on a portable crib than on a full-size crib; Consumer Reports compared a portable crib rail height at 51 3/4 inches to a portable crib rail at 39 inches. Your baby will almost certainly be able to climb out of the portable crib sooner than he would climb out of a full-size crib.