Best Playards for Kids

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Having a safe and clean crib for your baby to sleep and play in wherever you go is an essential for parents who love traveling, even if it’s just taking the little one for a short visit to grandma’s house. With a pack and play, you can have a portable crib that fits the bill. However, with so many options available, it can be incredibly difficult to pinpoint which one will keep both you and your baby happy. Our list of the 10 best pack and plays should help though, especially if you don’t have time to figure out what makes one model different from another.

Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard Stratus

Best pack and play with bassinet

There are reasons why thousands of parents love the Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard Stratus. This playard features the signature Graco push-button fold which makes setting this up easy and mighty convenient. The carry bag is spacious enough that it makes putting the folded pack and play as easy as pie. But that’s not all. This pack and play features an all-around mesh siding for maximum breathability AND visibility. It has a reach-through bassinet which makes it possible for you to put your little one in as soon as he’s asleep without waking him up. There’s even a toy bar to keep the little one entertained if you need a quick minute to yourself. The best thing about this that you can use it much longer than a travel bassinet. The pack and play can grow with your baby. However, the pad is a bit on the thin side. The bassinet is a little on the shallow side so unsupervised sleeping, especially for big active babies. And the wheels do not have locks.

PROS
  • push-down button fold
  • all-around mesh siding
  • reach-through bassinet
CONS
  • bassinet pad is thin
  • bassinet is shallow; not for big babies
  • no locks on wheels

Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer

Best pack and play for newborn

The Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer has more features than the basic Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard Stratus. Aside from the usual bassinet and playard, this one includes a Newborn Napper station that can be reversed into a diaper changing station. The fabric of the changer can be easily wiped clean. There are storage pockets on the side for easy access while you’re cleaning up your little one’s mess. And the push-button fold makes assembling and disassembling the pack and play hassle-free. However, the changing table is on the low side so tall parents may have a hard time bending over while changing the baby. Also, the play yard is slightly wider than a doorway which can prevent you from moving this one from one room to another without folding it first. And the assembly instructions are poorly written.

PROS
  • reversible changing table/napper
  • wipe-clean fabric
  • push-button fold
CONS
  • may be too wide for a doorway
  • changing table is set too low
  • poorly written instructions

Cosco Funsport Play Yard

Best pack and play for grandparents house

The Costco Funsport Play Yard is a roomy play yard that allows you to leave your little one to sleep or play when you need to do something else. The mesh panels on all sides ensures you can keep an eye on your little one while he’s inside the pack and play. It also helps him feel less isolated from everyone else in the room. It features two wheels on one end for better mobility. It can be folded in less than a minute and stored away in a carry bag. More importantly, the unit is JPMA-certified and meets ASTM safety standards. However, opening and closing this pack and play isn’t as easy as our other picks. It’s not for newborns; it doesn’t come with a bassinet. And there’s a small gap between the mattress and the sides of th play yard. Plus, the pad is a bit on the thin side.

PROS
  • mesh panels on all sides
  • affordable
  • two wheels for better mobility
CONS
  • thin pad
  • not for newborns
  • not easy to assemble and disassemble

Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard

Best pack and play for air travel

The Lotus Travel Crib and Portable Baby Playard is the ultimate in portability in the category of pack and plays. Like all the others, this can be folded and placed into a carry bag. What makes this different is that the carry bag can be worn as a backpack. Set up with this playard takes just 15 seconds. What we love about this playard is the Breathable ClearView Mesh that not only increases airflow and visibility, it features a side with a zippered entrance. This side door makes it an easily accessible play area for your little one. You can even use it as a sleeping area for your baby. And if you need added incentive, this pack and play is GREENGUARD GOLD certified. However, the zipper is noisy which can wake up a sleeping baby when you zip the door back up. The pad doesn’t come with a sheet; it is sold separately. And because this sits is very low on the ground, picking up your baby inside the playard can get painful for those with bad backs.

PROS
  • GREENGUARD GOLD certified
  • Breathable ClearView Mesh
  • backpack portability
CONS
  • no sheet included
  • sits low on the ground
  • zipper can be loud

BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light

Best pack and play for sleeping

The BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light is a 13-pound light pack and play that you can take on trips, both long and short, It’s easy to set up and disassemble. The rigid base ensures that the pack and play stays stable and safe for your child. The mesh fabric is see-through which promotes airflow and allows you to easily supervise your little one. The mattress is very comfortable (thicker and softer than most other pack and play mattresses) and its cover as well as the crib fabric is machine washable. Also, this one is JPMA certified. However, the interior space is a bit on the small side. This model is also very expensive. Also, this crib is fairly deep which can make putting a sleeping baby or toddler inside somewhat difficult.

PROS
  • comfortable mattress
  • lightweight
  • machine-washable cover and crib fabric
CONS
  • small interior space
  • sits low on the ground
  • very expensive

Delta Children 36 inch x 36 inch Playard

Best pack and play for 2 year old

The Delta Children 36 inch x 36 inch Playard is a basic, no-frills playard that features cute animal drawings and a comfortable mattress for naps and playtime. Assembly is pretty easy. This pack and play is quite large which means you can have more than one kid playing around with toys inside this model. Most importantly, this pack and play meets or exceeds all ASTM and CPSC Standards, and JPMA Certifications which means it’s safe for your baby to use. However, the playard isn’t as lightweight as the others. The mattress is a bit thin and doesn’t always lay flat. In addition, disassembling the playard and folding it up can be quite difficult.

PROS
  • JPMA Certified, meets all ASTM and CPSC Standards
  • spacious interior
  • cute design
CONS
  • difficult to disassemble
  • heavy
  • thin mattress

Evenflo Portable Babysuite Deluxe Playard

Best pack and play with storage

The Evenflo Portable BabySuite Deluxe is perfect for creating a safe environment for your little one’s playtime and sleeping time. It features a full size bassinet for your newborn, a Rotate-to-Store changing table, and a padded floor mat. The latter can be converted into a Playtime Playmat. An attachable toy bar ensures your little one stays entertained. And a huge storage side basket lets you store necessities for convenient cleaning. However, some parents reported that the storage basket they received were for the wrong side of the playard, making it hard to access. It’s a bit hard to set up and fold down. And the floor pad is not very comfortable for kids to sleep in.

PROS
  • full-size bassinet
  • Rotate-to-Store changing table
  • big storage basket
CONS
  • floor pad is not comfortable
  • hard to set up and fold down

Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard

Best pack and play for small spaces

The Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard is a great option for parents who do not have enough space to spare for all the baby gear their little one needs. This model is a play yard with an inclined sleeper and changing station. The inclined sleeper is removable, enabling you to continue using the play yard as your baby grows bigger. The pad and head support of the inclined sleeper are machine-washable, making clean up pretty easy. The built-in side storage pocket features a portable changing clutch that comes with an easy-clean vinyl changing pad and wipes. And have we mentioned how compact this play yard is? Not only does it provide you with a lot of essential baby gear in one go, it also takes up very little space. However, this could use some wheels to make it easier to move around the house. Also, the pack and play is pretty deep which could hurt your back when you’re picking up your little one from inside it or putting them in. The bottom mattress is also pretty thin which can be uncomfortable for napping babies and toddlers.

PROS
  • portable changing clutch
  • inclined sleeper
  • small footprint
CONS
  • thin bottom mattress
  • interior is a bit too deep
  • no wheels for better mobility

Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet

Best pack and play for twins

If you’ve got twins, it doesn’t mean you gotta have two separate pack and plays in your home. The Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet comes with 2 cozy quilted bassinets for your twins plus a very roomy play yard for when they grow older. The bassinets come with canopies to shield your little ones from bright light. The quilted mattress pad feels comfortable. The sides of the play yard are all made of airy mesh for improved ventilation and easy supervision. And the carry bag makes this model easy to transport whenever you feel like traveling with your babies. Setting it up and folding it for storage isn’t difficult. However, it is a bit heavy and bulkier compared to pack and plays that are built for one kid. It doesn’t come with a side storage pocket. And the middle part tends to sag due to lack of support which causes the babies to roll towards the middle while in their bassinets.

PROS
  • roomy play yard
  • quilted mattress pads
  • easy to set up
CONS
  • lack of support in the middle
  • no storage options
  • heavy and bulky

Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard

The Joovy Room2 Portable Travel Crib is aptly named. At 39″ x 39″, your babies have around 10.5 square feet of space to play around in or nap. This is a pretty simple pack and play with subdued colors and clean lines. The sides are all made out of mesh which gives it excellent ventilation. It comes with two wheels to make it easier for you to move it around the house as well as a 100% cotton fitted sheet and a travel bag. Unlike most other models, this one comes with a 2-year warranty. However, this is heavy which is a minus if you plan on bringing it with you on air travel. Also, the mattress is pretty thin; you can feel the bottom cross brace through it. And putting it up as well as putting it away isn’t as easy compared to other models.

PROS
  • very roomy; perfect for multiple kids
  • very sturdy
  • 2-year warranty
CONS
  • heavy
  • very thin mattress
  • not easy to set up or put awa

Pack and Play Buying Guide

Whether it’s just a trip to house for a short visit or going on travel adventures with your little one, you’re going to need a portable crib, better known as a pack and play. It’s not just a place for your baby to play, it’s also a safe place for him or her to sleep in and stay out of harm’s way. Of course, not all play yards are the same. Some will be square while others will be rectangular in shape. Some will have a bassinet while others will come with a changing station. Because there are so many choices out there, it can make finding the right pack and play for your baby a hard task. To help you out, we gathered all the necessary information about play yards and put it all in one guide.

What’s a Pack and Play?

Technically, the name Pack ‘n Play® is a brand for a line of Graco’s play yards which are basically just portable playpens like the Graco Pack ‘n Play On The Go Playard Stratus. Today, many parents use the term to refer to portable play yards. These are typically lightweight, easy to set up and disassemble, and comes with a travel bag. A lot of parents use these as a sleep space in a grandparent’s house or for going on vacation. Some will use it as a primary sleeping area for their kids while others will place them around the house as a nap/play area where they can still keep an eye on their little one while doing chores.

How do you plan to use it?

Before you can choose the pack and play for your baby, you have to think about what you are going to be doing with the unit. If you just plan to use it as a space to let your baby rest for a bit just to give you a breather or let you do some chores around the house, then you don’t need many features in your pack and play. A basic one like the Cosco Funsport Play Yard should be sufficient. If you live in a multi-level home, then you might want a pack and play like the Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer which allows you to have a changing table nearby so you don’t have to go up and down the house. Parents who want to travel with babies that need proper support when sleeping will benefit from using a pack and play that features a bassinet or inclined sleeper in addition to the play yard. The Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard features an inclined sleeper that is ideal for little ones who suffer from acid reflux or colic.

How portable is it?

Most, if not all, pack and plays can be folded and come with a travel bag which make them easy to take outside the home. A lot of models are pretty lightweight like the BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light which allow you to check them as baggage or carry on. However, there are some that are pretty heavy like the Delta Children 36 inch x 36 inch Playard and may not be ideal to take with you when traveling.

How convenient is it to use?

Having a baby around isn’t easy and you’ll need all the help you can get. A good pack and play should make life more convenient for you. This includes easily setting up the play yard when you need it and packing it up when you don’t. Convenience also means being able to move it around the house easily if necessary. Some models like the Joovy New Room2 Portable Playard will feature wheels to make moving the play yard around much easier. Having built-in storage helps too like what you see with the Evenflo Portable Babysuite Deluxe Playard.

What is the age and weight of your child?

All pack and plays come with a weight limit. Some will have a high weight limit, allowing you to use the play yard up until he or she is 30 pounds. Bassinets in pack and plays, however, have lower age and weight limits. For example, the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet has bassinets that are for babies under 15 pounds and not yet able to roll over or push up on hands and knees. The play yard, however, can be used by kids of up to 30 pounds and 35 inches tall.

How easy is it to clean?

Babies are inherently messy. They may spit up while in the bassinet. Their diaper may leak. There’s no question why you’re going to be cleaning up after them. What you need to ensure is that it won’t take too much effort on your part. Some models like the Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer has fabric that can be easily wiped clean. Others like the BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light have machine-washable fabric.

How much are you willing to spend?

Pack and plays can cost you as low as $50 or as high as $300. Naturally, the lesser the features, the lower the price. While having the extra features may be nice, if you have a limited budget, you’re going to need to choose a no-frills model like the Cosco Funsport Play Yard. Also, take note that any accessories such as bassinets and changing tables are extras that you won’t be using for more than a few months.

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