Make sure your old Pack ‘n Play is safe!

Pack ‘n Play is one of the most commonly used pieces of baby gear. Consequently, there are more and more old Pack ‘n Plays that children have already outgrown. But, are old Pack ‘n Plays still safe? Do Pack and Plays expire?

Is using an older Pack ‘n Play safe?

Pack ‘n Play is an incredible multi-purpose place for sleep and play. You can take it on the go or use it at home. It is one of the most helpful pieces of baby gear that parents love and swear by.

If you decide on a Pack ‘n Play, you can choose between numerous models. Some are, indeed, expensive, but you can also get a new, safe, and quality Pack ‘n Play at a very reasonable price, under $100.

However, you may already have a used Pack ‘n Play at home, receive it from a friend whose child has already outgrown it, or plan to save more by purchasing a second-hand model. In any case, you have to make sure the old Pack ‘n Play is still safe to use!

Do Pack ‘n Plays expire?

Many parents wonder if Pack ‘n Play expires as car seats do. The answer is no, Pack ‘n Plays do not expire!

However, although manufacturers do not officially advocate for an expiration date, they strongly recommend following all up-to-date safety requirements.

Safety requirements are improved and updated every few years. The newest Pack ‘n Play safety standard has been adequate since February 28, 2013, and applies to all units manufactured or imported on or after that date.

Consequently, it is better not to use old Pack ‘n Plays, made before February 28, 2013! I don’t think that should be a problem since we’re already in 2023, and your Pack ’n Play probably isn’t that old.

However, the fact that it is made after February 28, 2013, does not guarantee that a used Pack ‘n Play is still safe for your baby! The unit must be in good condition, without missing or broken parts! So, I suggest you perform a proper safety inspection to ensure everything is as it should be!

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How to determine if an older Pack ‘n Play is safe to use?

If you plan to use a used Pack ‘n Play, get it from a reputable consignment shop or someone you know, and verify the Pack ‘n Play meets all safety standards and has all of its pieces.

Steps for a Pack ‘n Play safety inspection at home:

1. How old is a Pack ‘n Play?

As emphasized above, check the manufacture date, especially for really old Pack ‘n Plays. Although using a Pack ‘n Play made before 2013 doesn’t automatically mean it is dangerous, I wouldn’t use it anyway.

Safety standards were not so strict back then, meaning there is a higher chance of safety issues. Furthermore, those Pack ‘n Plays are already quite old.

I don’t think using a 10-years old Pack ‘n Play is worth the risk, especially with so many safe and quality but cheap Pack ‘n Plays available now.

2. CPSC recall list for Pack ‘n Plays

To ensure that your baby sleeps safely and soundly, stay on top of the latest recalls and other safety issues with Pack ‘n Plays.

While most Pack ‘n Plays are problem-free, in rare cases, specific faults that can pose hazardous risks to infants and toddlers occur only later, during mass use.

In such cases, manufacturers issue recalls that notify consumers of potentially serious injuries associated with a particular Pack ‘n Play model.

The latest Pack ‘n Play recalls are available on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) recall list.

3. Detailed inspection of the construction

Pack ‘n Play components can get old, become weak or crack, so your next step is to thoroughly inspect the entire unit.

There shouldn’t be any loose or missing fasteners, loose joints, unstable parts, broken parts, or torn mesh! If you find any of them, your baby shouldn’t use this Pack ‘n Play!

You can check with the manufacturers for suitable replacement parts. But if you don’t find the original, do not use third-party substitute parts. In this case, it is time to think about purchasing the new Pack ‘n Play.

If you have all the parts and didn’t find any flaws, you can assemble the unit. Pack ‘n Play must be strong, sturdy, and offer maximum support. It shouldn’t wobble or move around when your little one is playing inside.

Note: Having a new Pack ‘n Play? You should check it before and after assembly and periodically during use too!

4. Pack ‘n Play mattress

Do not forget to check the mattress pad’s condition. If there are damages or it does not attach to the Playard properly, contact the manufacturer for a replacement.

Only the mattress pad that comes with a particular Pack ‘n Play is certified as safe for that unit. Especially for infants, it is better not to use a third-party mattress pad.

Toddlers, however, may use another mattress pad, but it must still perfectly fit in your Pack ‘n Play.

5. Follow other safe sleep recommendations:

  • Place the Pack ‘n Play away from the windows where the baby could reach curtains or strings.
  • Cables from baby monitors and other devices must be away from the baby’s reach.
  • Until their first birthday, place your baby to sleep on the back. 
  • There shouldn’t be any blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads in a Pack ‘n Play. The baby can roll into any of those items, which could block her airflow.
  • A pack ‘n Play mattress must be firm and flat.
  • There shouldn’t be any loosened mesh sides. They should be up at all times, especially during sleep. 
  • Anything the baby can grab is an entanglement risk. So, get rid of any toys and other Pack ‘n Play accessories from the top edge when the baby can sit upright or crawl.

6. Weight and size restriction

When providing the Pack ‘n Play safety, you must consider how long it is still safe for your child. You have to know when it is time to stop using it!

Most manufacturers state that their Pack ‘n Plays are safe up to a child’s height of 35 inches, the weight of 30 pounds, or until a child can climb out, whichever comes first. That occurs between the second and third year, depending on the child’s growth and motor skills development.

Is it safe to use an old Pack and Play?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can reuse an old Pack and Play for sleeping or playing. But only if it is still stable, it has no broken or missing parts, and meets the newest safety standards.

It is also important to distinguish between an “old” and a “previously used” one, as the Pack ‘n Play that’s two or three years old is technically not “old.”

While “previously used” could simply mean that the unit has been used, but is still well within all safety requirements, can “old” mean outdated safety standards.

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