Can a baby sleep in a Pack ‘N Play every night? | Is it safe?

Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by Ines

There is a lot of misunderstanding about wheater babies can sleep in a Pack ‘N Play every night or not. Parents are worried if using a Playard as the only sleeping area is comfortable and safe for their infants.

baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play every night

Facts about using Pack ‘N Play every night

We have been asked if Pack ‘N Play is safe for your baby to sleep in every day. The answer is yes, but there are a few rules you have to follow to retain its safety. I will explain more about them below.

What is a Pack ‘N Play?

A quality Pack ‘N Play is a suitable alternative to a crib, though its construction doesn’t have much in common with it. 

A Pack’ N Play has a plastic or metal frame surrounded by mesh or fabric side panels. It is also lighter and more maneuverable than a crib.

Pack’ N Play (also called Playard) is a safe place to sleep and play that your child can use from birth to toddlerhood. It is a portable unit that you can use at home or fold for storage and travel.

Best price: Graco Pack ‘n Play Travel Dome LX Playard
One of the best Pack ‘N Plays for daily use: Graco Pack ‘n Play Travel Dome LX Playard

Pack ‘N Play features

The primary features of all Pack’ N Playa are the same, but they have some differences. 

You can opt for a lightweight Pack’ N Play, such as Guava Family Lotus or Babybjorn travel crib light. However, I don’t recommend these Pack’ N Play for everyday sleep. Their construction is intended for travel, especially with their mattress lying on the floor.

The best Pack ‘N Plays for everyday sleep are models with more robust construction and mattresses raised off the ground.

These models include at least a full-size bassinet to place your newborn’s sleeping area higher and closer to you. But many come with accessories attached to them, such as newborn bassinets, nappers, changing tables, mobiles, toy bars, canopies, etc.

Lightweight Pack ‘N Play

BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light
BabyBjörn Travel Crib Light

→ better for traveling

Traditional Pack ‘N Play

Graco Pack 'N Play On The Go Playard
Graco Pack ‘N Play On The Go

→ suitable for everyday sleep

Nursery Center Playard

Ingenuity Smart and Simple Playard
Ingenuity Smart and Simple Playard

→ suitable for everyday sleep

Best Pack’ N Plays for your baby’s everyday sleep:

Our Top Picks → Best Pack 'n Plays

Can I use a thicker mattress for daily sleep in a Pack ‘N Play?

No, even if your baby sleep in a Pack ‘N Play every night, you should use only a mattress supplied by a Pack’ N Play manufacturer.

All Playards come with an included mattress that fits into a Pack’ N Play bottom and its full-size bassinet.

Playard’s mattress is more of a mattress pad than a traditional crib mattress. Many parents whose babies use it daily express concern that it is too hard and uncomfortable for their baby.

This raises the question of whether they can use an additional mattress or a pillow in the unit. The answer is NO! Any pillows or thicker mattresses create an unsafe sleeping environment by raising the risk of suffocation!

Soft mesh sides do not offer enough resistance, so babies can roll over from a thicker mattress and stay trapped between the Playard’s side and the mattress. Pillows are soft and would allow the infant’s head to sink into the surface, making it harder for the baby to get her nose or mouth away.

The mattress that comes with the unit is just fine. It meets all safety standards and is not too hard for the baby!

Is Pack’ N Play safe for my infant to sleep in it every night?

Yes, Pack’ N Plays are safe for babies to sleep in them every night! They undergo several tests to meet all required safety standards!

More caution is needed when using a second-hand Pack’ N Play, especially those made before 2013. Products made before the new regulations come into force may not meet new safety standards!

In 2008 new mandatory standards for Pack ‘N Plays were issued by the US CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

All Pack ‘N Plays sold in the US must:

  • Surpasses stability test to prevent the Pack ‘N Play from tipping over.
  • There must be latch and lock mechanisms that keep it from folding in on a child when in use.
  • Their attachments (pennies, changing table, cupboard) must have a design that prevents the baby’s head from trap while the accessory is attached to a Playard.
  • All Pack ‘N Plays must have stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and side rail collapse.
  • New rules enquire enhanced floor strength to ensure structural integrity and prevent entrapment.
  • Mattress must firmly attach to the Playard’s floor to prevent entrapment.
  • Playards must comply with the prescribed minimum height.
  • Their side rails must not form a sharp V when folded. This prevents head or neck entrapments.

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