It is overwhelming for new parents to weigh the pros and cons of various baby products marketed to them and when it comes to baby safety, they are all the more anxious to land at a decision.
One of the most debated subjects for parents is to choose between a portable sleeping option like pack and play and crib for their babies. That being said, pack n play is portable, modern and comes with all the bells and whistles.
Leaving all the extra features like changing station, removable bassinets, night lights, storage, and more aside, it is collapsible and folds feature of pack n play which attracts the parents.
Both crib and pack n play are a safe place for your baby to play and sleep, but the compact size and plenty of other features make pack n play an ideal solution to different needs of different houses.
Let’s dig deeper and compare the specifications to decide the best option for your family.
What’s The Difference Between Pack N Play & Crib
A crib is a classic staple of the baby’s room and has been holding that place for hundreds of years. Cribs are aesthetic and lasting companions of your baby room decor and they come with a hefty price-tag.
Pack n play can be portable and convenient but nothing comes close to a crib when it’s the question of comfort. The mattress used for cribs is usually 5 times thicker than the pack n play mattress.
However, if budget is not a constraint, it is ideal to have both cribs and pack n play in your parent arsenal, but if you have to choose between the two then you have to contrast their specifications and features to select the perfect option for you.
Cribs are a beautiful and meaningful addition to your baby’s nursery, but cribs are bulky and costly. However, cribs are comfortable and durable and some of the cribs are designed in a way that they can be converted into a kids’ bed later.
So, the upfront cost pays on account of its longevity. Standard cribs are around 50 to 59 inches long and the actual interior dimension of the crib is regulated.
However, if you can feel the crunch of space in your house, you can save some room with mini cribs. Mini cribs come in a variety of sizes but are usually between 36 to 40 inches in length.
Also Check: Mini Vs Regular Crib
Apart from that, if you are not a master builder– assembling a crib takes a considerable amount of time and patience.
Pack N Play
Pack n play also known as playards is a great addition to those families who live in small apartments as it solves the problem of lack of space easily and efficiently. They are made up of light-weight materials like plastic and mesh.
These are portable as they are built on a foldable metal frame. This feature makes them portable as each side is collapsible and foldable to be stored in a travel bag.
Not just that, because of their compact design, playards can be stored in the closet, under the bed or in the car trunk.
Pack n play comes with loads of additional features. Almost all playards have large storage pockets on their sides to keep diapers, toys or other baby stuff.
Some playards also have a bassinet feature to raise the mattress inside the frame to act as a bassinet for newborns. The size and specification of the playard are safe and comfortable for babies to sleep and play.
Not just that, some pack n play also comes with a changing station feature. This highly appreciated feature makes sure you have all your baby stuff handy and in one place.
It comes with a removable platform that can be fixed at the top of the playard to act as a changing station.
The big noise about playards doesn’t end here, features like night lights and music can be a blessing– especially for sleep-deprived parents of newborns.
Can Pack and Play Be Used As A Crib?
Pack n play was initially marketed as play yards, but it soon became a product of choice for parents across the world. A pack n play provides a portable yet safe playing and sleeping area to your baby or toddler.
Many parents use pack n play as cribs because they are portable and occupy much less space than standard cribs. Hence, they are ideal for smaller rooms or shared bedrooms.
Not just that, playards are extremely helpful to put your child right in front of your eyes while you finish those important household chores. Their light-weight material makes it easy to move them around the house or to travel.
Most pack n play mattresses have a thickness of 1 to 3 inches. Sometimes, the thin mattress of pack n play cannot provide the crib-like comfort to your baby. In that case, you can upgrade your pack n play with a more comfortable mattress that fits your playard firmly.
How long can a baby sleep in a pack and play?
This is one common question in every pack n play user’s mind. The most appropriate answer to this question will take into consideration the age of your baby.
Since there are different types of pack n play available in the market, you have to keep a few things in mind to ensure your baby’s safety:
- You should stop using the bassinet feature of pack n play once your baby reaches the weight limit of 6 kgs.
- If your pack n play does not have a bassinet feature then you should stop using it when your baby reaches the weight limit of 14 kgs (30 pounds) or the age of 2, whichever comes first.
- Every baby grows at his or her pace. Hence, once your baby reaches a height of 35 inches, you should stop placing them in a pack n play.
- Keeping a track of your baby’s milestones is important to know the right time to get your baby out of the pack n play.
Is A Pack N Play Safe For Sleeping?
Yes, as long as your baby is within the recommended age, height, and weight limit mentioned under the specific pack n play, it is absolutely safe for your baby to play and sleep in it.
As already mentioned, the sides of a pack n play are made from breathable and safe mesh, making it a suitable alternative to a crib.
Though they are smaller in size and are lighter than any standard crib, their adherence to rigorous safety standards makes them an ideal substitute to cribs.
Pack n play follows all the safety instructions and procedures to provide a safe environment for your little one. Provided you follow the general safety guidelines to baby sleeping, the breathable mesh and firm mattress of pack n play makes it an ideal sleeping gear for babies and toddlers. Be it a crib or a playard, you must follow the basic safety guidelines like:
- Never let your newborn or infant sleep with extra sheets, blankets or stuffed toys to avoid the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
- Place your baby on his or her back.
- Avoid using bumpers, pillows, soft or lose beddings.
- Share the bedroom with your baby for at least the first 6 months. Room sharing reduces the risk of SIDS by almost 50%.
- Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
- Follow the assembly instructions mentioned for the cribs as well as playards, making sure all the parts are fixed and attached properly.
What can you use instead of a crib?
The number one reason why parents choose playards over cribs is because of their portability and compact size. Moreover, this one piece of furniture holds the capability to solve almost all your parenting needs. Here’s the list of some of the best picks on playards:
Chicco Lullaby Baby Playard
It comes loaded with all the modern playard options like a bassinet, changing station, and newborn lounger. It is easy to install and remove and comes with a quilted mattress with zip and wash, machine washable covers. This bassinet is 19” wide and 27” long and comes with wheels for easy lift and roll.
4moms breeze GO Playard
This pack n play is very easy to set-up and remove, just push down the center to make the legs spread and the playard will pop up. After that, pull a ring in the center to collapse the entire structure. It has a dimension of 43” by 30”.
Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib
This one of its kind playard comes with a zippered side door, making it convenient for you to nurse or cuddle your sleeping baby. This special side door also makes it easy for babies and toddlers to move in and out of their play nest. Also, this playard can be converted into a bassinet with some extra tools.
The mattress of this playard is considered thin and less comfortable by some parents. But this unique playard is lightweight and packs up small to offer an easy travel option. It also comes with a fun and optional sunshade feature to protect your little one from UV rays.
Choosing the right playard for you and your baby is not that difficult. If you just need a portable play space for your baby, a basic and easy to set and remove model will be a perfect fit for you.
However, if you would rather wish to enjoy the comfort of diaper-changing and bassinet features then select a playard that offers these options.
What are the safety points to be considered while selecting the right sleeping gear for my baby?
Pediatricians consider playards like the ones mentioned above, a safe all-night sleeping environment for babies. Not just that, playards are approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards in 2012.
These playards are designed with guidelines to prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, you must consider the following points before selecting the right playard for your baby:
- Don’t use old, unsteady or worn out playards for your baby. A pack n play made in 2013 or later should follow the latest federal standards.
- If you wish to buy a new mattress for the playard, make sure it is firm enough and fits the playard without leaving any gaps.
- Avoid using mobile and dangling toys, especially those that aren’t well attached, as these pose a choking risk.
How long can my baby sleep in a pack n play bassinet?
A bassinet is advised for a minimum of three months, hence most parents consider it a short-term investment for their babies. Playards with a bassinet option are very helpful in these situations.
As soon as your baby begins to perform motor activities like rolling and crawling, bassinets aren’t considered safe for sleeping.