Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Peapods For Me, Please: The Peapod Plus Travel Bed Offers Great New Features

UPDATE: 12/11/2012: The PeaPod and PeaPod Plus have been recalled after an infant's tragic entrapment and suffocation death. Recall kits with replacement mattresses are being offered by manufacturer KidCo. We haven't used the PeaPod with non-mobile infants, and we don't recommend it for that developmental stage. We also feel the PeaPod should only be used as instructed (make sure to zip the mattress in its own pocket) with any age group.

4/8/12 Update: A heartbreaking report of infant asphyxiation in a PeaPod has come to our attention. We DO NOT recommend the PeaPod as a crib substitute for an immobile or marginally mobile infant. We still like and use ours as a travel bed for toddlers and preschoolers, but only in the manufacturer recommended configuration. Our own partially-mobile baby (who until very recently only army-crawled) sleeps in a Pack N Play when we travel.

This is not the first post I've written about KidCo's PeaPod travel bed (left, blue-green). We bought our first PeaPod for traveling when Ranger outgrew the Pack N Play's bassinet. We found ourselves accidentally waking him when we tried to lower him to the Pack N Play's floor, so we had to find a better option. The PeaPod has served us well in the year+ that we have used it. We consider it essential travel gear.

When we reviewed the PeaPod last December, I noticed the new, bigger PeaPod Plus (right, red) had been released. It became apparent last month that over 3 foot tall Ranger might soon emerge permanently distorted by his beloved bed. I found a PeaPod Plus for around $70 online. The retailer removed it from its original box and sent it in a smaller box with the large folded original box enclosed. This economy of packaging really didn't impress me, so I won't recommend the retailer.

The PeaPod Plus' folded size in its travel bed isn't much larger in thickness than the original PeaPod. Its diameter is quite a bit larger than the original. Each PeaPod is easily packed in other luggage and could easily be carry-on. During air travel I wouldn't check either PeaPod in only the light nylon travel bag. They would seem too susceptible to damage.

The elastic strap (which keeps the PeaPod folded) is sewn to the PeaPod Plus. The original PeaPod's strap is separate, so it is much easier to lose.

In terms of raw space, the PeaPod Plus is a great upgrade compared to the original PeaPod. I could fit (albeit uncomfortably) in the PeaPod Plus. It stands a lot taller than the original and has a much larger floor. I photographed the inflatable mattress inserts (they zip into the PeaPod floors) to offer some perspective on the size increase.

The PeaPod Plus' windows and door have shades! This is a great improvement on the original PeaPod. When we had to share a room with toddler Ranger, we couldn't turn on the computer or television without seeing little eyes peering out the mesh windows. We finally decided that covering his PeaPod birdcage-style was our best option. The window and door shades make it a lot easier to get him to sleep.

The original PeaPod's roof opens back farther than the Plus' roof. The original's larger roof opening makes it easier to place a sleeping infant. Both PeaPod versions have large mesh windows so it is easy to observe a sleeping infant without opening the door.

The Plus has a sleeping bag style, double layer, double zipper closure blanket. The original PeaPod contains a single layer floor liner/blanket. It's far less versatile, but it was more than adequate for those first months of life. Even with the Plus, we find ourselves using only one layer of the sleeping bag liner at night.

We still recommend replacing the included hand pump with a foot bellows pump (available for under $5 anyway inflatable pool floats are sold). The hand pump's motion is ripe for adolescent boy humor and it can cause a repetitive strain that is ripe for even more adolescent boy humor.

The carry bag is big enough that we can easily fit in a favorite stuffed toy, a bedtime book, pajamas, and a couple blankets.

If you're considering buying a PeaPod and can't decide between the original or the Plus, we'd recommend getting Plus and only using one half of the sleeping bag. The only drawback to the PeaPod Plus is that it lacks the extra-large opening of the original PeaPod. The Plus' window features and extra space will serve well with a growing child.

This review is the independent opinion of babytoolkit.blogspot.com. Baby Toolkit has no relationship with and has not received any compensation from KidCo or its affiliates.

19 comments:

Kristine said...

WOW - those are very cool. I'm tired of lugging our Pack 'n Play around, and my little guy is getting too big for it anyway. What a great idea. Thanks!

zobars said...

wow thanks for posting about this. I think it looks quite user friendly as well. can't wait to try one for our little one.

keda said...

Great review! I agree with it wholeheartedly! We got this travel bed for our son instead of the heavy 'pack n play' style. This travel bed is sold as the Kinderkot in Australia and I believe we only get the 'plus' version here. There is a new version just out with (to my taste) better colours and a self inflating mattress (similer to a 'Thermarest') - I wish I'd known and could have got one of the new ones, because inflating the 'chip' is the only hassle with this great travel bed (the inflated mattress looks like a big blue crinckle cut crisp!).

debra said...

Where were these when my kids were babies?? I remember surrounding #1 daughter with pillows on the motel floor, hoping they would contain her (they didn't)

Marcie said...

Thank you so much for this review. My son literally outgrew the pack and play this week, and he goes to stay at Nana's for one night every month. We didn't know what to do, but now we have a solution.

Our Family said...

as i now want to go out and purchase this I have a few questions. My 10 month old son won't use the pack n play b/c he knows we are right there and I wonder if he doesnt like the matress. do you think this would solve this problem? how do you keep them in it? if they are hanging on it won't it tip over on them?

Also you said you used it on the plane? how did you do this?
thanks so much.

adrienne said...

our family:

We have used the Peapod extensively on the Baby Toolkit private jet... Okay, not really. I meant to say (and need to check the wording of what I did say) that it's easily packable on a plane- either inside checked bag or as carry-on.

I cannot imagine having the space to use it on any plane unless you have a private jet with ample floor space, and even then, I'd worry about it being loose if you hit turbulence.

Our son was too curious with the original Peapod and wouldn't go to sleep... The zipper closure windows on the PeaPod Plus seem to remedy that with him as long as we stay relatively quiet.

We've had no problems with the tipping because the domed roof coupled with the mattress zipped into the floor make it mechanically difficult for a child to overturn it. They can't get into any corners or up against a sidewall, so they can't get enough leverage to tip the tent because their own body weight is anchoring the floor to the ground. (Sorry, what a terrible description- maybe I can get Jim to explain it better.)

It looks like some people don't zip the "chip" (thanks for the great descriptive term, Keda) mattress into the floor, and that might make the tent more susceptible to flipping... maybe.

We didn't use the sleeping bag/blanket until he got bigger but instead relied on sleep sacks for naptime warmth.

Anonymous said...

We've just bought a PeaPod Plus via the Internet from the US (we are in the UK and similar products in the UK just don't seem as good). We love it except for one thing - the 'half sleeping bag' that we use as a sleeping pad moves around and our 6 month old ends up with it all bunched up around her. I worry about her being able to breath if it ended up over her, but also she ends up on the plastic (not nice to sleep on). She already sleeps in a sleep bag but that leaves her arms and face on the plastic. Has anyone got any tips on keeping the sleeping pad flat and in place?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the sleeping bag moving, 2 suggestions:

1) self adhesive velcrow to both the floor and sleeping bag, that keeps it in place.

2) put the mattress in the tent itself, with a sheet over the mattress (I've heard that crib sheet fits it, but I sewed my own, so not sure about it) and that solves the sleeping on plastic part. Don't know if super active kids could get in between the mattress and tent though.

Good luck :)

b*babbler said...

Okay - I just found your blog completely by fluke when searching on how to fold these beds. We just bought the Peapod plus and for the life of us, can't figure out how to fold it. Do you have any tips/photographs.

Thanks so much for the great review!

adrienne said...

Hi b*babbler-

Here are the visual instructions for folding the PeaPod Plus (or PeaPod):

http://www.kidco.com/main.taf?p=4,5#

Basically I would describe it as folding the tent into a cylinder by pulling up the sides, standing it on end, and then pressing down on the middle part of c-shape of the top edge.

It works like a charm.

A couple months ago we were walking through a sporting goods store when we passed a family and salesman trying desperately to fold up a giant pop-up hunting blind. When they gave up, Jim offered to give it a try. Like a pro, he folded the blind with the exact same technique. When they asked if he owned the blind, he said "Nope, baby bed."

It was awesome.

Anonymous said...

We have had the Peapod for over a year and it is a great product fortravel. We will be getting the Peapod Plus soon since we are expecting our second baby and will need the Plus for our tall 2 year old. We have never put the mattress in the pocket and used the sleeping pad- it slides around too much and is synthetic, so our daughter got too hot. Instead, we put a Pack and Play sheet that has elastic around all sides (Kushies brand sheet) on the mattrress and put it directly into the Peapod. This has worked quite well and she does not become entangled in the sheet. From the measurements, a regular crib sheet should be able to function the same way in the Peapod Plus.

drizzlyjenn said...

We just had a peapod plus delivered here hoping to use it for travel next week for our 9 month old. I'm impressed by it overall but worried about suffocation risk- as there is no mesh around where the baby's face would be- only way high for the windows. I know that my baby at least always ends up in a corner in her crib and will likely find her way into the corner/end of the peapod plus too.... with the sloped tent sides I worry about suffocation risk. Anyone else have this concern or can give me a reason not to worry about this?

My other concern is how loud movement in the tent is given the type of tent fabric used- anyone have their babies awaken because of the noise of them scooting around it in their sleep?

Thanks in advance for any opinions as we have to decide to use this or get a pack n play in the next week!

Anonymous said...

i received my kindakot today i bought mine from ebay australia from seller Grab.bargain costed me $149 inc postage and received it within 2 days of payment its cheaper then the shops. rrp in the shops is $179.
im so excited i cant wait to use it for my 9month old boy. we are going away next week for a couple of days. i have read so many good reveiws about this product, and its great baby cant escape from it, as my son moves everywhere in his cot, so this will be good. i like the nets around it, great for keeping out the mozzies and flies in warm places. if your thinking about buying this i would definatley reccomend it, easy to fold and put away, i have used the normal portacots and they are way too big and heavy and take up too much room in the car when travelling.
im spewing i didnt buy it when i had my daughter 3 years ago.
thanx

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful, thank you! We've been trying to decide between the original and plus, as we want to take our lil fella camping and also have shade for the beach. We were thinking that the original might fit into our backpacking tent, but maybe that's wishful thinking, and maybe he would outgrow it too quickly. He's 5 months, but he's a really big boy (20 lbs) and shows no signs of stopping. And he's already sitting up by himself. I like the idea of lighter weight and more compact, but it seems like the Plus' benefits outweigh these concerns. Thanks again for such a thorough and helpful review.

Michelle said...

Great posts on the peapods! We're debating between two Peapod models - 1 that has the self-inflatable mattress and 1 that comes with the hand pump. From our assessment we think its well worth the extra $10 for the self-inflatable mattress - can you let me know your opinion on this? I see that you purchased a foot pump and wondering if that's a better option?

Also, do you use the peapod for sitting on the beach with the baby? They claim to have UV protection and seems to be a good solution for outdoor sun time?

Juli said...

My sister works in a pediatric ER. They tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate an infant who suffocated in one of these beds on Friday night. These beds are dangerous!

ralph repo said...

I believe these Pea Pod type infant beds are being recalled because of the suffocation risks. If you have one, bring it back. If you don't have one; good.

adrienne said...

Hi Ralph,

You are right (and quick- the recall just came out this morning).

I'll post on the recall & fix kit today and will edit our current reviews to include the recall.

Thanks!