We get a lot of questions about this topic. The most frequently asked questions are as follows: “Can I put a crib mattress in a Pack ‘N Play?”, “Is extra padding in a Playard safe?” and “What are the best Playard mattresses?” I will answer all of them below.
Pack ‘N Play mattresses 101
Many parents express concern that the Pack ‘N Play mattress is too hard and uncomfortable for their babies. They are looking for a thicker and softer crib mattress. Or they want to use extra cushioning, such as blankets or a large pillow to put it on top of the Pack ‘N Play mattress pad.
Crib mattress in a Pack ‘N Play
Using a crib mattress in a Pack ‘N Play that is in use every night is a tempting solution. But is it safe for the baby, and can you put it in a Pack ‘N Play? NO and NO!
No, you can not put a crib mattress in a Pack ‘n Play! You can only use the one included in Pack ‘n Play by the manufacturer.
A Playard mattress is definitely not like mattresses we know, yet it is the safest option for a Pack ‘N Play. Playards mattresses are not as soft, but on the other hand, many are also surprised by the firmness of traditional baby crib mattresses.
Any mattress used for a baby must be firm to be safe! Only a firm mattress contributes to a proper baby’s bone and muscle development. And most of all, it prevents SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom).
The best mattress for your Pack ‘N Play is the one that comes with it. The supplied mattress fits perfectly and is made specifically for the individual model.
In 2013 US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued new mandatory standards for Pack ‘N Plays. One of the requirements refers to the sturdy attachment on the Playard floor to prevent entrapment. Only the manufacturer’s mattress fastening straps fit the hooks or holes of their Pack ‘N Play perfectly!
What about a thicker Pack ‘N Play mattress?
A specific Pack ‘N Play construction does not allow the use of a thicker mattress. A thicker mattress would compromise the baby’s safety!
Pack ‘N Play has soft mesh sides, meaning that they offer no resistance and bend easily. If a baby rolls over from a thicker mattress, she can become entrapped between the mattress and the Playard’s side. That can lead to injuries and, even worse, to suffocation!
Is extra padding in a Playard safe? | Can I pad a Pack ‘N Play to be softer for my baby?
Many parents think the Pack ‘N Play mattress is uncomfortable for the baby. One of their “solutions” is using extra padding in the unit.
We get many questions if they can use extra cushioning, such as blankets or a large pillow to put it on top of the Pack ‘N Play’s mattress pad.
Answer: You should NEVER put extra padding, pillows, or other soft materials in the bottom of a Pack ‘N Play to soften them.
That is especially dangerous for newborns and young babies and applies to all baby sleep products! You should never use pillows, blankets, plush toys, etc., in a crib, Pack ‘N Play, bassinet, nappers, or side sleepers.
An infant’s head and body can sink into the surface, making it harder for the baby to get her nose or mouth away from the sides of the pillow. That poses the risk of suffocation.
What is the best mattress for a Pack ‘n Play?
The best mattress for a Pack ‘N Play is the one that comes with it! I advise against using any alternative or additional products for newborns and young babies.
However, there shouldn’t be a problem for older babies strong enough to roll back and forth and push up easily. I would say babies somewhere after eight months of age and toddlers can sleep on the alternative Playard mattress, but only if you follow some essential guidelines.
- Use a Playard mattress that is not too thick. A crib mattress is not a safe option as it is too thick.
- Find the right size that fits perfectly into the bottom of your unit. There shouldn’t be an uneven fit or gaps wider than one finger.
- Pick a breathable Pack ‘N Play mattress. Sufficient airflow through the mattress will keep your baby dry and prevents bacteria or mold formation.
Best Pack ‘N Play Mattresses Pads
Hiccapop Pack and Play Mattress Pad:
This dual-sided Pack ‘N Play mattress has a firm side for babies and a soft memory foam side for toddlers.
The Hiccapop Pack ‘N Play mattress pad fits into Playards with interior dimensions 38inches by 26 inches. It has round corners and strong edge support for stability and a snug fit.
Another benefit is its cover, which is water and stain-resistant and can be machine washed and dried. That is very convenient for the unit used for sleep and play.
The Hiccapop Pack and Play mattress pad is advertised as the thickest mattress pad on the market. With 3.25 inches offers more profound and more supportive comfort. But due to the pad’s thickness, I recommend using it in Playards with the piece of fabric at the bottom of the unit. It offers more resistance than Playards sides with mesh to the bottom.
Dream On Me, 3 Inch Foam Pack and Play Mattress:
The Dream On Me Pack and Play mattress has a high value for the price. It is an affordable mattress pad that fits into most Pack ‘n Plays.
This mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified, CPSC tested, and passes all flammability, phthalate, lead, and toxicity tests.
The Dream On Me Pack ‘N Play mattress pad is waterproof. It repels liquids, and you can easily wipe it, but you can not wash it in a washing machine like the Hiccapop Pack ‘N Play mattress pad above.
The dimensions 37.5 by 25.5 inches are half an inch smaller than the Hiccapop. The Hiccapop is also a 0,25-inch thicker. But both are of good quality, so pick the one that fits better into your Pack ‘N Play.
Best portable option:
Milliard Memory Foam Pack ‘N Play Mattress Topper
This is a 2-inch-thick Playard mattress pad made of 100% memory foam. The foam is CertiPUR-US certified and well ventilated for optimal cooling relief.
The Milliard Memory Foam Pack ‘N Play mattress features a hypoallergenic, waterproof cover that’s removable and machine washable, which is great.
I also like its unique Roll-N-Carry feature. Just roll the mattress pad and take it wherever you go.
The topper measures 38 by 26 inches to fit a standard Pack ‘n Play. But do not forget this is a soft mattress pad, which is not intended for infants and babies.
While you should use only a provided Pack ‘N Play mattress for newborns and young babies, you can opt for an extra mattress pad with older children. However, choose the one that fits snugly into your Pack ‘N Play and is not too thick.
Use only mattress pads explicitly made for Playards, and never use a thicker crib mattress, mini crib mattress, or pillows in the unit.