Best baby play yards | BabyCenter (2023)

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Best baby play yards | BabyCenter (1)

By Kelly Bailey

|

January 26, 2021

BabyCenter selects products based on the research of our editors and the wisdom of parents in the BabyCenter Community. Learn more about our review process here. We may earn a commission from shopping links.

Best baby play yards | BabyCenter (2)

  • Best play yard overall: Graco Pack 'n Play Travel Dome LX Playard
  • Best play yard for travel: 4moms Breeze Plus
  • Best play yard for outdoors: Summer Pop 'N Play SE Hex Playard
  • Best play yard for twins: Joovy Room² Portable Playard
  • Most affordable play yard: Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe 2 Nursery Center
  • Best baby play yard with bassinet: Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Snuggle Suite LX
  • What is a play yard?
  • What to look for in a play yard
  • Play yard safety notes

View more

A play yard is one of the most versatile baby products you'll buy. From the newborn months on, it's a safe place for sleep, play, and even diaper changes. We analyzed reviews in the BabyCenter Community, plus editors' research and experience, to discover parents' most-recommended play yards, pack 'n plays, and travel cribs on the market. Read on to find out which play yards parents think are the most affordable, the best for travel, and more.

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    Best baby play yards | BabyCenter (6)

    $220

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    This is a feature-packed play yard that your child can use from infancy through toddlerhood. The changing station allows for quick diaper changes, and the portable bassinet (also called a "travel dome") folds compactly and has a carry bag so you can bring it wherever you go. Remove the portable bassinet and changing pad to reveal a full-size bassinet, or a sleep and play space for children weighing up to 30 pounds. Like all Graco Pack 'n Plays, this one folds easily with the push of a button. It has a built-in storage organizer for baby essentials, too.

    Heads up

    Some parents say the initial set up is cumbersome, with lots of little pieces to keep track of.

    Parents say

    "I used the bassinet part of this Pack 'n Play for many months. It was perfect because we didn't have much space, and having the changing table was so helpful."

    Specs

    • 27 by 28.5 by 37 inches
    • Weighs 33.1 pounds
    • For children weighing up to 30 pounds
  • Setting up a play or nap area just about anywhere is easy-breezy with this sleek, modern-looking play yard. The Breeze Plus opens or closes in seconds with a simple push or pull. It comes with a convenient travel bag, so you can grab it and go. (It's attractive enough that you won't mind if it's permanently set up in your living room, though.) It includes a removable bassinet and changer, too.

    Heads up

    Bassinet and play yard sheets, and the diaper storage caddy, are sold separately.

    Parents say

    "I know it's expensive but it's a great investment. Three years later and we still use it as a travel crib!"

    Specs

    • 43 x 30 x 29 inches
    • Weighs 23 pounds
    • For children up to 30 pounds
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    $249

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    The Micralite has an innovative design – the mattress is on the floor, rather than raised – meaning you'll be able to use it as a portable bed and play yard until your child is about 3. (Older kids crawl in through a zippered door, which they're sure to enjoy.) There's a removable, raised bassinet for newborns to 6-month-olds. When your child outgrows the bassinet, you expand the mattress to fit the bottom of the play yard. Mesh sides let air flow in from every angle and make it easy for you to see your child. The Micralite is quick to assemble and easy to pack up, which is especially helpful for sleep-deprived parents.

    Heads up

    When packed up, this model longer than other travel cribs.

    Specs

    • 36.5 by 14.5 by 8.5 inches in bag
    • Weighs 19.75 pounds
    • For children up to 36 months
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    This indoor-outdoor play yard works exactly as its name suggests: Pop it open and your baby can play anywhere. With its canopy, the Pop 'n Play is perfect for your beach vacation, picnic in the park, or playtime in the backyard. This lightweight play yard folds up compactly so it's easy to carry, and sets up or breaks down in seconds. The water-resistant, extra-padded floor keeps babies dry during playtime and comfortable if you use it at night. Featuring 14 square feet of play area, this play yard works well for multiples or kiddos who are close in age. The mesh sides offer visibility and air circulation, so you can keep your eye on your baby at all times.

    Heads up

    Some parents say that their babies fell into the thin metal bars – which don't have padding – and got hurt.

    Specs

    • 48 x 48 x 26 inches
    • Weighs 13.9 pounds
    • For children up to 24 months or 35 inches tall
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    (Video) Top 5 Best Baby Playpens 2022 | Baby Play Yard

    $170

    The Joovy Room² ("room squared") is the largest indoor-only play yard on our list, with 10 square feet of space. It manages to be basic yet attractive, with a clean, modern design. If you have twins, you can buy the additional Twin Nursery Center, which includes two bassinets and changing tables. The Room2 is travel friendly, with a compact fold and carrying case included. The mattress is cushy and comes with one cotton fitted sheet.

    Heads up

    Because of its large size, if you want extra sheets, you'll have to order ones specifically for the Joovy Room2. Also, some parents say that sometimes the mattress doesn't lie flat and causes a lump to form down the middle.

    Parents say

    "I have the Joovy Room² and my little one loves it! He hated other play yards because of how cramped he was. I highly recommend!"

    Specs

    • 39.75 x 39.75 x 31 inches
    • Weighs 29.6 pounds
    • For children up to 35 inches tall
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  • Baby Trend makes several play yards that have the features of more expensive brands for less money. The Lil Snooze features a removable bassinet, full-size bassinet, and flip-away changing table, plus plenty of storage for baby supplies. It has wheels for easy portability, an easy folding mechanism, and comes with a tote bag for travel or storage.

    Heads up

    The pad in the bassinet isn't machine washable, and some parents say it's difficult to clean if your baby spits up or has a diaper blowout.

    Specs

    • 28 by 35.4 by 41.3 inches
    • JPMA certified
    • Can be used for children weighing up to 30 pounds
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    (Video) 10 Best Baby Playpens 2020

    TheGraco Pack 'n Play Playard Snuggle Suite LX distinguishes itself by basically being a do-it-all nursery center for the first few months of your baby's life, then a reliable play yard for quite a while longer. The portable infant seat that tops the play yard doubles as a bouncer that you can take off and use anywhere in the house, while the roomy changing station allows you to securely change your baby at waist height until she's a mighty 30 pounds. Underneath, the infant bassinet gives your baby a comfy place for sleep, with music and nature sounds for soothing, and a "look light" on the play yard for middle-of-the-night check-ins.

    Heads up

    Despite the "pack" in the name, this play yard is pretty heavy and cumbersome for travel.

    Parents say

    "We went on what we called our 3 week baby tour to visit my husbands family up and down California. Staying with people who didn’t have a baby, it was nice to have the changing table accessories."

    "I used the bassinet part of my Pack 'n Play for months! It was great becausewe didn't have much space and it had the changing table too."

    Specs

    • 28.5 by40 by33.3 inches
    • Weighs 34.5pounds
    • For children weighing up to 30 pounds
  • A good play yard will serve you and your child well for years. It's a safe, easily portable place for your baby or toddler to sleep and play when you're home or traveling. Baby play yards can be bare-bones or fancy, with mobiles, lights and music, vibration, and built-in storage for baby supplies. The best baby play yards are versatile, sturdy, and easy to fold.

    In the newborn months, a play yard with a removable changing table and bassinet is helpful to have in your bedroom or living room. And once your little one becomes mobile, you'll appreciate a safe place to park her while you make dinner, get ready for work, or take a phone call.

    You may be wondering whether older babies can sleep in a play yard at night instead of a crib. It's perfectly safe and fine for short stints, but you'll probably want a crib for ongoing use. Play yard mattresses aren't as supportive and comfy as crib mattresses, and play yards are usually only safe for children weighing up to 30 pounds.

    Figuring out how you'll use your play yard will help you narrow your search. If you're short on space, a play yard that is a bassinet, changing table, and play area in one may be your best bet. If your family travels a lot, choose a play yard that's lightweight and folds up compactly. Having a familiar sleeping spot at a hotel or at Grandma's will help your little one feel comfortable. Also, a play yard is great for containing an adventurous toddler at the beach or while visiting a relative whose house isn't childproofed.

  • Here are some features to consider when choosing a play yard:

    Removable bassinet and diaper changer: These can be very useful, especially if you don't want to buy a separate changing table and bassinet, if you'd like a second sleeping and changing area in your home, or if you plan to travel with your newborn.

    Bonus features: Extras include a mobile, vibrating movement, a nightlight, a built-in sound machine, and a detachable bouncy seat.

    Wheels: If you're likely to move your play yard from room to room or around a room, look for one with lockable wheels.

    Easy folding mechanism: Choose a play yard that's easy to put up and take down, and that folds compactly, especially if you'll take it on the go. (A carrying bag is helpful, too!)

    Storage pockets, bags, or shelves: Some play yards have built-in storage for wipes, diapers, blankets, and extra clothes.

    Safety seal: Look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA) certification seal on the product's packaging. It ensures that the play yard was independently tested for quality and safety.

      • If you're using a secondhand play yard, do a quick search of product recalls from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and also double-check that all the parts are in good shape.
      • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for assembly. Never put your baby in a play yard until it's completely assembled and locked. Then test that the rails and floor are locked in position by giving it a few firm shakes.
      • Follow the manufacturer's recommended weight and age limits for the play yard and (if included) the play yard's bassinet and changing table.
      • When putting your child to sleep in a play yard, use the same safe-sleeping guidelines you would in any situation. Put your baby to sleep on her back, and don't put loose blankets, pillows, or other soft bedding in the play yard. If you use a sheet, make sure it's made for a play yard mattress and is tight-fitting.

    Kelly Bailey

    KellyBailey is a busy Momma to three under-3 girls, including a set of twins.

    FAQs

    Are play yards good for babies? ›

    You can use a playard starting from the very first days after your baby is born. Many parents choose to wait until their child is a little older (i.e. rolling around or crawling), but it really is just a safe place to put your little one.

    At what age do babies need playpen? ›

    From what age can my baby use a playpen? A playpen comes into its own when your child is just beginning to crawl at about six months or seven months. However, it's a good idea to buy a playpen before your baby's moving around too much, so she can get used to it. .

    What is the difference between playpen and play yard? ›

    Both can be used to play and sleep (night or naps) Playard take less space in the room. Playard can be easily folded and store away to free up space. Playard might require an extra mattress to be more comfortable.

    Can I use a playpen instead of a crib? ›

    Parents and caretakers use playpens today as places for infants and toddlers to both play and sleep. Playpens are often used by parents and caregivers as substitutes for full-sized cribs when babies nap. Over the years, playpens, portable cribs, and play yards have evolved into virtually identical products.

    Is it OK to leave baby in playpen? ›

    Four to six months

    Newborns should not be kept in a playpen. They need a lot of stimulation from adults, but the distance from a newborn lying in a playpen to an adult's face is much too large to provide stimulation. Not only that, but newborns cannot move enough to entertain themselves in a playpen.

    Should I buy a play yard? ›

    With a play yard, there is no reason to fret because it's an incredibly safe space. Not only that, it's highly practical because a quality yard is easy to set up and take down. Hence, moms can set it up in the kitchen, the living room or even the bathroom depending on their needs.

    Are play yards Safe? ›

    Most parents depend on playpens (sometimes called play yards) as a safe place to put a baby when Mom or Dad isn't available to watch him every moment. Yet playpens, too, can be dangerous under certain circumstances. To prevent mishaps: Never leave the side of a mesh playpen lowered.

    Are playpens Montessori? ›

    If you visit a Montessori Infant classroom, you will find that there are no “containers.” That is, there are no cribs, playpens, pack n plays, bouncers, walkers, or anything that you would put a child IN. This is because Maria Montessori studied the value of freedom of movement in the development of the young child.

    Are wooden playpens safe? ›

    The wooden playpen can break, split and/or crack at points where screws and other hardware are located. Small, broken wood pieces and hardware from the playpen can pose a risk of choking and laceration hazards to children. In addition, an unstable playpen can fall over onto a child, posing an entrapment hazard.

    Is playpen one word? ›

    Playpen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/playpen.

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