Can Newborns Sleep in a Pack and Play? Key Safety Guidelines

“Parents of newborns frequently prioritize sleep safety, but it can be difficult to find affordable surfaces that meet this criteria. One money-saving tip from experienced parents is to use Pack ‘n Plays as a suitable alternative to a bassinet or crib.”

Can newborns sleep in a Pack and Play? Yes, newborn babies can sleep in a Pack ‘n Play safely. As with all infant sleep spaces, it’s vital to abide by the most recent safe sleep practices. In addition, the Pack ‘n Play should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, checked for recalls, and evaluated for condition.

Keep reading to learn more about how to safely allow your child to sleep in a Pack ‘n Play.

Pack ‘n Play For Sleeping

If you’re going to use a Pack ‘n Play for sleeping, you need to make sure you have all the right information. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the most common questions.

Are Pack ‘n Plays Safe for Sleep?

Pack ‘n Plays are safe for sleep so long as all manufacturer instructions and sleep-safety recommendations are followed.

Are Pack ‘n Plays Safe for Overnight Sleep?

Yes, they are safe for overnight sleep. Most often, if a surface is safe for naps, it will also be safe for overnight sleep. Just remember to keep the space clear of excess objects.

In addition, it’s best to keep all four sides pulled up and allow for space between the Pack ‘n Play and the wall. 

Is It Safe for Baby To Sleep in a Pack ‘n Play Every Night? 

Yes, your baby can sleep in the Pack ‘n Play every night. There are no restrictions in place from manufacturers or authoritative bodies like the Center for Disease Control or the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Can Baby Sleep in a Pack ‘n Play Bassinet?

Yes, so long as the bassinet has a flat sleep surface and breathable mesh siding, it is safe.

You should check the manufacturer’s instructions and product label prior to allowing your child to sleep in any accessory that’s not specifically labeled for sleep.

Can Baby Suffocate in a Pack ‘n Play? 

Yes, a baby can suffocate in a Pack ‘n Play if improperly used. If there are blankets, pillows, toys, or other objects cluttering the space, it dramatically increases the risk of SIDS.

Laying your child on their back in the middle of the play yard while swaddled or in a sleep sack is the safest place for them. 

Pack ‘n Play vs. Bassinet

Ultimately, where you allow your baby to sleep is up to you. If you’re struggling to choose between a Pack ‘n Play and a bassinet, it’s best to understand the pros and cons of each. 

Pack ‘n Plays offer more versatility in their use and more mobility overall. You can also use a Pack ‘n Play for longer than you can use a bassinet due to the age and weight limits on each.

Bassinets, while more expensive, are smaller and built sturdier than most Pack ‘n Plays. 

Pack ‘n Play vs. Crib

Cribs are the seemingly superior baby sleep surface, but that may not be the case for your family. There are many reasons why you may want to choose a Pack ‘n Play over a traditional crib. 

Cribs are more decorative and heavy duty. Some are even built to grow with your child and turn into toddler beds. However, they’re far more expensive and larger than Pack ‘n Plays. They’re also not easily moved.

How To Know if Your Pack ‘n Play Is Safe for Sleeping

There are several different styles of Pack ‘n Plays and a world of brands with similar products. The best way to know if your Pack ‘n Play or travel yard is safe for sleeping is by checking the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Since many companies are terrified of being sued, they aren’t shy about informing you of proper use on the packaging or instruction manual. If you can’t find a definitive answer, try the brand’s website.

However, even if the Pack ‘n Play is categorized as safe for sleep, there are a few other things you will want to check.

Manufacture Date

The manufacture date tells you how old the Pack ‘n Play is. This is less important when buying new from the store, but it is vital when buying secondhand or using one you already have.

Pack ‘n Plays don’t have an expiration date, but the older they are, the more likely their components will break or malfunction.

Overall Condition

If your Pack ‘n Play is falling apart, you obviously don’t want to put your newborn to sleep in it.

However, checking the overall condition of a Pack ‘n Play is important even when it’s new. It could have been damaged in production, in transit, or just taking it out of the packaging.

Weight and Age Limit for the Pack ‘n Play

The weight limit on travel yards like the Pack ‘n Play varies between brands and styles. However, they’re typically capped at 25-30 pounds.

While there is no age limit to the Pack ‘n Play, most children reach the weight limit by age 2-3.

It Is Only Used as Directed

Following directions for your child’s sleep space is critical to ensuring their health and reducing the risk of SIDS. Many Pack ‘n Play styles come with different attachments for different uses.

However, not all of these attachments are safe for sleep. Use each piece of the Pack ‘n Play only as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Mattress Is Clean and Fits Properly

A firm and properly fitted mattress is one of the CDC’s recommended safe-sleep guidelines.

Between milk, pee, poo, drool, formula, and spit-up, there are several ways that a Pack ‘n Play can get messy. When a mattress gets dirty, it can grow bacteria and other newborn health hazards. 

Whenever you use a used playpen, even if it was only used for your own child, invest in a new mattress that fits correctly. It’s just not worth the chance of exposing your newborn to bacteria and other pathogens.

A baby wearing only a diaper leaning against the side of his playpen.

Safety Guidelines for Using a Pack ‘n Play for Sleeping

Safety for an infant sleeping in any environment is the same across the board. This remains true with a Pack ‘n Play.

  1. The sleep surface should be flat.
  2. Only a tight-fitted sheet should be used.
  3. No toys, stuffed animals, blankets, or pillows should crowd the space.
  4. Swaddles or sleep slacks are acceptable when used properly.

Best Pack ‘n Play for Sleeping

With so many options in the market, you may be wondering which is best to add to your registry. Here’s a look at the best options in terms of quality, versatility, and affordability.

Graco Pack and Play On the Go Playard

The Graco Pack and Play On the Go Playard is simple and affordable. It’s a versatile design that can be used both as a playard and bassinet.

This design comes with an overhanging toy bar as well to keep the babies entertained.

Graco Pack ‘n Play Close2Baby Bassinet Playard

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Close2Baby Bassinet Playard kicks things up a notch by adding a portable newborn bassinet and diaper-change station. These attachments are in addition to the standard playard and full-size bassinet.

All of that said, there’s a total of five different ways to use this highly efficient playard. While it’s slightly more expensive, the parent reviews highlight its valuable features to be worth the price. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Day2Dream Travel Bassinet Playard

If you’re looking for a luxury playard, the Graco Pack ‘n Play Day2Dream Travel Bassinet Playard is the way to go. This playard goes above and beyond with 7 different uses. 

In addition to the playard, full-size bassinet, changing table, and extra side storage, the newborn portable bassinet is raised above the playard to ensure that the baby is at eye level.

The bassinet can also be removed from the playard altogether and lowered or raised depending on the height you desire. This model is on the pricier side but has raving reviews from parents. 

Graco Pack ‘n Play Dome LX-Playard

The Graco Pack ‘n Play Dome LX-Playard has a portable raised bassinet and five different ways to use it. The key features of this style are the UV-50-protected canopy and soft toys over the bassinet.

This model is a great medium if you’re looking for all of the features without the highest price tag.

Used Pack ‘n Plays

If you’re on a budget, used Pack ‘n Plays are an affordable and accessible alternative.

You can find them listed on social media marketplaces, resale apps such as Poshmark or Mercari, and resale stores like BuyBuy Baby or Once Upon A Child

When shopping second-hand, it’s important to look at the overall condition and manufacturer’s date.

Making sure that all the components are there and work properly will ensure your child’s safety in their Pack ‘n Play. Avoid play yards with missing pieces, loose parts, or broken mechanisms.

Related Questions:

Can a Baby Sleep on a Playmat?

A baby can sleep on a playmat, so long as the mat is in an area safe from adults, children, and animals. In addition, there should be no toys, blankets, or pillows crowding the space. 

Can Babies Sleep on the Floor?

While it’s not highly recommended, it’s also not completely against the rules since the floor provides a flat open sleep surface.

However, there are better alternatives, such as play yards and floor beds. The danger in allowing a baby to sleep on the floor lies in the lack of protection it offers. 

Closing Thoughts

Pack ‘n Plays are safe for sleep when used properly and in accordance with current sleep-safe recommendations. To ensure your child’s safety, the Pack ‘n Play must be examined for proper function prior to use.

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