10 Best Pack And Plays | March 2017

We spent 29 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Playpens and playards have come a long way since we were in one. Check out these new safe, comfortable, portable and feature-rich pack and plays that will give your little one a secure place to nap and have fun just about anywhere. Skip to the best pack and play on Amazon.
10 Best Pack And Plays | March 2017


Overall Rank: 8
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 2
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
★★★★
10
Keep your little one happy in the Baby Sweet Wonder, featuring a beautiful eye-catching design that Disney fans will love. It is easy to put together and perfect for everyday use, though it is not as roomy as some other brands.
9
The Graco Totbloc is a roomy 38 square-inch option that can grow with your baby into the toddler years thanks to its larger size. However, it is still relatively portable with an easy-carry bag, one button setup, and matching mattress.
8
The Evenflo BabySuite Deluxe offers style and convenience at a price you can afford. It is built light for home use or travel, and is available in an attractive neutral design, with a convertible play mat that can be used on the floor as a clean play area.
7
Even if you do not have twins, you may wish you had the Graco Vance for Twins. Whenever you are with friends who have babies, the matching bassinets make for adorable photos and, when you are alone, your baby can sleep in one while you use the other as an instant backup.
  • roomy and durable
  • wheels move easily over all surfaces
  • takes up a large amount of space
Brand Graco
Model 1812884
Weight 31.8 pounds
6
At only 15 pounds, the versatile Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite is half the weight of other portable models and is very easy to put up and take down. Babies with digestive issues will nap better thanks to its inclined sleeper, and most parts are machine washable.
  • built-in wipes case
  • nightlight has auto shut off
  • extra comfy quilted mattress
Brand Fisher-Price
Model CBV60
Weight 20.7 pounds
5
The full-size and extremely cute Delta Children is a hassle-free solution that you can take anywhere for baby's sleep or playtime. It features an adorable and colorful jungle animal graphic, a mattress, and a zip-up carrying bag.
  • for babies up to 30 lbs
  • exceeds most safety requirements
  • very sturdy and built to last
Brand Delta Children
Model 26003-241
Weight 35 pounds
4
The Guava Family Lotus is the ultimate travel companion that can go with you anywhere, featuring a zippered door that can easily open for fun playtime or close as a secure crib space. Best of all, the bag is worn in a backpack style for the ultimate ease of movement.
  • no flame retardants or toxins
  • fits as a carry-on in airplanes
  • soft textured fabrics
Brand Guava Family
Model 06079059500070
Weight 14.1 pounds
3
In less than a minute, the Cosco Funsport sets up as a safe play area for little ones. The clever, self-folding model compresses into a travel bag but leaves the wheels intact with a handle on top, so you can move it like wheeled luggage.
  • great for keeping at grandma's house
  • stores in very compact spaces
  • high quality at a low price
Brand Cosco
Model PY363DFK
Weight 21.5 pounds
2
The 4Moms Breeze features a simple one-step operation, with automatic latches for busy parents. Best of all, it is fully equipped with a removable bassinet for infants, and conveniently packs up into a compact travel bag even with its extra-sturdy legs.
  • large roomy play area
  • durable material is easy to clean
  • safe with no sharp corners
Brand 4moms
Model 2000307
Weight 42.8 pounds
1
The best thing about the Graco Pack N Play Stratus is that it's available in three gender neutral color options that are all designed to match modern nursery color schemes. Beyond its styling, it is also highly functional, thanks to its stability and easy setup.
  • foldable without removing bassinet
  • plays 5 songs or 3 soothing sounds
  • comes with a safe and stiff pad
Brand Graco
Model 1927561
Weight 22.9 pounds

Finding The Perfect Pack And Play

It's important to know the basics about pack and plays before you start to consider the specifics, so let's take a moment to cover the fundamentals. A pack and play is, as the name suggests, a unit that is relatively easy to fold up and pack away for storage or for travel; they are not necessarily designed for daily, long term use, even though many are durable enough for such. The word "play" is a bit less accurate, however. Most pack and plays are rather small for any meaningful play, quickly becoming cluttered if toys, stuffed animals, or other items are introduced. And in fact, as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child should have with nothing in their crib for the first 12 months of life at least, introducing items into a pack and play can even be hazardous.

It is more accurate to think of a pack and play as a portable and temporary crib than as a latter day playpen. There are a few exceptions to this rule: certain pack and plays are large enough to accommodate play, notably a few that buck the standard rectangular shape in favor of a square or even a hexagonal design. The drawback is that these units are less suitable for sleeping, usually the primary purpose of a pack and play.

Ultimately, you should choose a pack and play based on how well you think it will allow your child to sleep, not based on its potential for play. If you have a newborn, consider a pack and play that has a bassinet feature. This precludes the need for an additional purchase of a bassinet that is often used for only a few months. The larger bottom area of the pack and play can provide a large enough sleeping area for most children up to and even well past their second birthday, so if you do want to use a pack and play in lieu of a crib, consider investing in a unit that is rugged and durable instead of opting for one that is lighter weight.

The reason many people consider a smaller, lighter pack and play is that they need to provide a safe spot for a child only on limited occasions. A pack and play is a great choice for the home of the grandparent or other relative who expects to see a youngster too infrequently to merit the purchase of an actual crib but often enough that a dedicated safe spot is needed. In these circumstances, if a pack and play is to be used only when a child is actually sleeping, there's no reason not to opt for one of the more affordable options. Even though some of the units at the lower price points can occasionally be frustrating to set up or take down, the fact that their use is infrequent should mitigate this annoyance.

Making The Most Of Your Pack And Play

At first, most pack and plays seem rather confusing and even a bit daunting for the parent or caregiver who has to set them up (or take them down). The first few times you try out a pack and play should occur well before you ever actually need the unit to provide a safe spot for a child. Practice "deploying" and breaking down your pack and play a few times and you will likely get the hang of it. People can set up most pack and plays in seconds once they learn the proper method.

Once you know how your pack and play works, it's time to make sure you have all the right accessories and that you know a few "hacks." At the bare minimum, you should own two sets of sheets for a pack and play. That way, when one is (almost invariably) soiled, you can swap out a clean sheet and keep your child comfortable while laundering the sullied linens. In a pinch, however you can wrap a twin sheet around a pack and play's pad, as the child's weight will hold the pad down and prevent it from coming loose. Just make sure the ends of the sheet are fully underneath the pad.

And while it is not safe to have toys inside a pack and play, you can use a mobile above the unit or attach toys, stuffed animals, or other trinkets to the exterior of the pack and play provided they can't be pulled inside. These can help amuse and soothe a child as he or she rests.

A Brief History Of The Pack And Play

Before the year 1987, you would not have heard the term "pack and play." That's because that is the year in which the baby and child product company Graco first released a unit called a pack and play. Soon enough, the name was adopted by brands all over the globe.

Today, it is in fact much more common to hear mention of a pack and play than of a playpen, even though playpens have been around for generations, with their first noted mention in a dictionary dating from 1902 and with patents for various playpen refinements common throughout the 20th Century.

Playpens were lauded throughout much of the 1900s as a safe place for a child to be placed while the parent worked or took care of other duties, but by the 1970s, the approach to parenting had shifted sufficiently that these units were seen more as confining than welcoming.

Thus the pack and play is designed more for sleep than for confined play, though it can serve both purposes as needed.



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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information

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