Best Pack and Play Reviews – A Buying Guide on Play Yards for Babies
If you are expecting a baby, you surely want to obtain all that is necessary for their healthy development and comfort in advance. A playing yard or a so-called pack and play will be among the most essential items of your buying list. It’s an advanced variant of a playpen that provides babies with a safe and cozy space for their proper development, first steps in exploring the surrounding world, games and rest.
Today the market offers many differently featured play yards, so getting a perfect pack and play may turn into a real quest. However, after taking a look at the best products available and considering the main qualities you should pay your attention to, you will easily cope with this task.
Reviews of the Top 5 Pack and Play Playard Models Available
Some existing models tend to be more popular today. The main reason is that they combine many useful qualities in a single model and, thus, a lot of problems can be solved by buying just one item.
The most original and convenient feature of this model is a reversible all-in-one napper and changer. The napper side is covered with an extremely soft fabric that cuddles a baby and the changer side has a plastic mess-resistant surface that can be cleaned without any problem. Both sides are switched easily thanks to the special attachment. The only flaw of this model is its bulkiness that makes it more appropriate for a home use and not for travel purposes.
This universal pack and play will be the best choice for active babies, who need to be calmed down when the sleeping time comes. Its rocking seat has a built-in vibration mechanism (both available for a seat and a bassinet) that gently lulls the baby and sets them in a serene mood. The seat is removable and equipped with convenient handles making it possible for you to move with your little one around the flat without moving the whole set. High-quality materials are very pleasant for the baby’s skin and, in addition, machine washable, which makes it very easy to keep the play yard clean.
The design of this luxurious model boasts the most delicate velour fabric of the newborn napper that will pamper the skin of your baby. For those who are worried about weak changing tables, this pack and play is equipped with a bigger one that is comfortable and safe for the babies up to 30 lbs. A spacious storage hamper is easily clipped to the side of the play yard, making it convenient to keep the baby’s clothes, toys, extra diapers and other necessary items at hand.
If you are looking for a play yard that can be easily taken with you for a travel, this model will be one of the best possible decisions. Its plastic carcass is set apart and assembled without a problem thanks to a special push button fold mechanism. Folding feet and wheels make it even more compact. An arched toy bar with three bright and soft toys will amuse your little one and help them develop the important grasping skills.
The outstanding design helps this movable model combine all the standard features of a common pack and play while being about half the weight of other play yards. Despite its lightness, the model has a very sturdy construction, so it’s completely safe from occasional overturns. The removable sleeper with the head support is machine washable saving your time and effort significantly. Original changing station with built-in wipes container makes the diaper changes an easy task. When it’s not used, you can easy transform it into a portable clutch.
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What Is a Pack and Play and How to Use It?
Comparing to a traditional playpen pack and play has numerous advantages. First of all, it’s lighter and easy-folding, which makes it portable and appropriate both for home use and for constant travelling. While at home, you can easily move it around the flat, keeping a watchful eye on your child even when you are occupied with some domestic work.
Secondly, a play yard usually has a rectangular shape and is designed smaller than an average playpen, being suitable even for small flats.
Finally, one of the most important differences between playpen and play yard is that the latter doesn’t only create a safe place for baby’s games or sleep, but also has additional options like a changing table, storage space for clothes and diapers, and a set of toys, music and lights for early learning. That’s why more and more parents today become attracted by the universality of this product and prefer it to playpens, providing their babies with a perfect and secure place for the earliest age of development.
Choosing the Right Type of Pack and Play
Generally, all types of pack and play models present on the market can be divided into two large categories: standard ones and deluxe ones. It’s important to understand that the model’s category is determined only by a number of additional features it has, but doesn’t mean any significant difference in the materials’ quality or a level of security. All reliable brands’ models meet the highest quality and safety standards, no matter whether they are equipped only with the basic options or have some deluxe ones.
Basic set of pack and play’s options usually includes a bassinet, a changing table and a storage space. These models are folded easily and featured with a special bag to pack them in. Their prices are more friendly and usually don’t reach more than $100-level.
Deluxe models boast many additional properties that often make them heavier and a little more bulky. They can have twin bassinets, a massage seat, a luxury toy bar and a panel with sounds of nature and lights that stimulates early development of a baby. Their storage hampers are larger and sometimes can be clipped off and kept separately from the play yard.
Important Features to Consider
Some features of a pack and play can be chosen only depending on your personal taste and requirements, but there are some important points to consider that can significantly raise the effectiveness of a play yard and make its use a complete pleasure both for you and your baby.
A bassinet is a kind of removable cradle attached to a frame of a pack and play, where your little one can comfortably sleep. It’s suitable for newborns and infants and while choosing it mind the maximum weight it’s suitable for. The best bassinets can carry about up to 15 lbs. After your baby becomes a toddler, he or she can be transferred to a lower part of the play yard and sleep on the mattress, while bassinet has to be removed completely.
Changing table should be strong and wide enough to change the diapers safely. Check if the material is mess-resistant and easy-wiped. Most changing tables are suitable for babies up to 4 months, so make sure to quit using it after your child exceeds the appropriate age.
Many latest surveys prove that early learning is extremely helpful for healthier development of a baby. That’s why it’s great if a pack and play is equipped with toy bars, lights and sound panel which create a friendly environment for learning new skills and keep your child amused throughout the day.
The canopy is a kind of a tent that protects your baby from the heat of the sun or insects’ intrusion, while you are walking in the park or enjoying a nice day at the beach. It can be especially helpful if you are living in a hot climate or going on a trip to warm countries in the summer.
It’s very convenient to keep at hand all the necessary stuff like additional diapers, wipes, baby’s clothes etc. The best pack and play must surely have a spacious storage place to keep all these things. Check if it is designed safely to prevent baby from picking some items out of it or a possibility of the things to fallout occasionally.
Basically, play yards have either wheels or casters. The first option makes it very easy and convenient to move the whole thing around the flat. However, the casters make the play yard less bulky while folded and prepared for taking along when traveling. That’s why you should choose a variant that is better for your family’s lifestyle.
First of all, a good pack and play has mesh sides that allow you constantly watching your child and make sure that they are safe and happy. Also consider the softness of the material as it must be mild and gentle enough for the delicate baby’s skin. The best option is the machine washable fabric of a bassinet or a seat. In any case, the material must be easy-cleaned for obvious reasons.
If you plan to move your baby around in a play yard a lot, choose the model compact and light enough for packing it into a travelling bag. However easy-folding model should stay sturdy and safe while assembled, without any risks of falling apart unexpectedly.
Main Benefits of Pack and Play
Safe Sleeping Space
A pack and play provides the best sleeping place for your baby from newborn to toddler age. It’s completely safe and extremely cozy both for the baby and for you. Some models have a built-in vibration mechanism in the bassinets to enhance a calming effect. In addition, it saves your money and living space allowing you to avoid the necessity of buying both a cradle and a toddler bed that are not as safe as play yards.
Perfect for Travel
Travelling families having or expecting babies will surely find this item essential. Due to its lightness comparing to a playpen or a cradle, its compactness and a smart design that allows folding and carrying it easily, it can be taken anywhere, providing a baby with the highest comfort he or she may need. Some models are specially designed for travel, boasting extra-lightness and other crucial qualities.
Early Learning Aids
Beautiful bars with hanging soft toys, colored lights and an electronic panel producing pleasant sounds surround your baby with an environment rich of impressions that help him or her make their first steps in understanding this world and develop the skills crucial for their health.
Perfect Changing Station
A pack and play makes it safe and easy to perform the diaper change without worrying or even waking up your baby. A changing table has a special surface which is cleaned instantly and eliminates mess problems completely.
- Mind the weight of your baby.To have an opportunity of using your play yard longer, make sure that your baby is well below the average limit of weight and age.
- Check if the frame is strong enough.As your pack and play might be reassembled many times, you should pick the one with a frame durable and safe enough for this purpose.
- Look at the fabric condition.Check if the fabric is smooth and doesn’t have any loose threads or other defects.
- Mind if the item meets safety standards.All materials should be hypoallergenic, free from any harmful chemicals and meet the highest safety standards used for baby’s products.
- Follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines strictly.You yourself also participate significantly in maintaining the secure surrounding for your child. So it’s better to study all the safety guidelines provided by a manufacturer in advance and make sure to adhere to them in order to avoid dangerous accidents.
To Sum It Up
As you can see, there are many things to keep in mind while choosing the best pack and play for your baby. Of course, the best way is to select several suitable items via the Internet and then look for them in the local stores. Thus you will be able to check the safety and quality in the most thorough way.
As for the best price, it depends on a situation. There are many beautiful and high-quality play yards with a basic set of options that have an average price yet provide your baby with a proper level of security and comfort. However, if you have extra money and strive to choose for your precious one a really ideal item from all sides, don’t hesitate to do it.