Pros

Two levels make product useful for both infants and toddlers; durable and easy to clean; easily wheeled around room; mesh sides offer breathability and visibility

Cons

Initial assembly difficult; technically portable, but in practice is not easy to pack up and take with you; too wide to be wheeled through standard doorways

Star Rating

Overview

Pack n Play

After researching many playards, we tested several of the promising ones and this is the one that we liked best and continued to use.  With a high (bassinet) level, low (playpen) level, a reversible napper/changer, and wheels on the base of the playard, Graco's Pack ‘n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer can be used from infancy through toddlerhood for safe sleeping and playing. 

Description & Features

The Pack ‘n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer consists of the collapsible playard frame with mesh on all sides, a removable full-size bassinet that easily and securely clips onto the playard frame, a padded mat that provides cushioning for baby and fits into both the base of the playpen and the removable bassinet, a reversible napper/diaper changer for infants, a removable toy bar with soft padded toys, and a carrying bag. It's a lot for the money, but also a lot of gear, period, meaning it's not quite as portable as one might think based on the name.

All surfaces are wipeable and so are easy to clean. As for the manufacturer's height and weight recommendations, the bassinet level is for babies under 15 pounds and unable to push up on hands and knees, the playard playpen is for children less than 35 inches tall and unable to climb out, the diaper changer is for babies up to 15 pounds, and the napper is for babies under three months old and unable to roll over. The Playard is 40 inches long, 29 inches wide, and 28.5 inches tall (33.5 inches tall at the ends). The combined weight of all components of the Pack 'n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer is 25.3 pounds (the combined weight without the bassinet level and napper/changer is 19.8 pounds). 

Parts

Sheets do not come with the mattress and while they are not absolutely necessary (the sleep/play mat is wipeable), we recommend them. Without a sheet the surface of the playard can be cool to baby's touch, and moisture from baby's mouth may be uncomfortable without a sheet to absorb it. We continue to use the American Baby Company 100% Cotton Value Jersey Knit Fitted Portable/Mini Crib Sheet, which is compatible with the Pack ‘n Play Playard.

The Pack 'n Play Playard is designed to be used without a separate mattress. A padded mat (filled with a sand-like material) is firm while at the same time providing some contoured cushioning for baby. Our daughter never had trouble sleeping with the pad it came with.  Friends have used a Pack 'n Play for co-sleeping with their children in their room. However, for our co-sleeping arrangement, we chose to use another product that was much smaller, more portable, and doubled as our travel crib on vacations: the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light.

The Guru's Tip #1: After-market mattresses such as the Dream on Me Mattress are compatible with the Pack 'n Play Playard if you are looking for extra cushioning for baby.  However, they do not fold and are harder to store, so we recommend first seeing how your baby sleeps with the Pack 'n Play padded mat that comes with the Playard before investing in a separate mattress.

Flip to the next page to get all our in-use impressions!

Next page