Are Mattress Pads Safe for Pack and Plays

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A pack and play is one of those life savers for many parents. But sometimes they are not used 100% because there are some issues you may not know about. In this article we answer the main questions about pack and plays and their mattresses and how to use them as useful tools for your baby's care.

Does a Pack N Play ever Need a Mattress Pad?

Some parents put their baby in a pack 'n play in their room, to be as safe as possible from SIDS. But the pack 'n play mattress is basically made of wood underneath and they want a more comfortable mattress for their little one. What we recommend is only to use the hard mattress of the playard because it leaves no gaps in the corners or edges. These gaps can cause entrapment and suffocation.

Yet, if you plan to use one, make sure there are no gaps on the sides. The mattress has to be firm, but it's better than wood. Roll up a sheet and make sure everything is flat and fit tightly.

Do Pack N Plays Come With a Mattress Pad?

No, just the firm pad that comes with the pack and play. It doesn't matter what brand the pack and play is, it happens on Graco and other brands.

I recommend a pack and play mattress pad if you want your baby to have a bed to sleep on for the long term.  The pad the playpen comes with is safe, but not comfortable at all. In fact, if you press a little bit you can feel the support bars.

Will a Crib Mattress Pad Fit in a Pack N Play?

As I told you in the answer above, there are specific mattresses for a pack and play. Crib mattresses don't have the standard size of a pack and play and so cannot be fitted into it. They are bigger and in general, when using a baby bed, the rule of thumb is that the mattress should fit perfectly, it is the safest thing for your baby. That said, don't worry because it's easy to get very good mattresses on the market with the exact dimensions of the pack and play, especially for the Graco brand.

How Do You Clean a Pack N Play Mattress Pad?

Here we offer three different ways to keep your playpen mattress completely clean:

  • The first is to clean it with a baby wipe, it could remove stains. However, if you want to do a deep cleaning, you can soak it in a tub full of hot water with laundry soap, vinegar, and baking soda.
  • Maybe you couldn't get the smell of vinegar out and it drives you crazy. In this case, we recommend Oxi clean baby stain stainover spray or powder with no perfume. Simply fill your bathtub and soak the mattress if necessary. This option removes 99% of stains.
  • The last option is quite simple. Just buy crib sheets for the baby playpen mattress and wash them whenever you need to.

What Age Can You Put a Baby in a Playpen?

The ideal age to use a playpen is six to eight months. At this age, most babies can sit, reach, and grab nearby toys. They are generally accepting, so you can leave them in the playpen (always staying close, of course) for a short period of time without the infant making too much fuss.

Babies this age also love new toys, so be sure to put something in the playpen with them. Don't try to tie toys to the sides or top of a playpen, such as ropes or chains that can present a suffocation hazard to babies.

When your child is eight to ten months old, he or she will probably be crawling and even standing up. For this reason, he may be tired of being in the playpen. He'll want to explore a larger area and might even stand in the playpen and cry if you don't take him out. Keep her happy in the playpen by providing new toys she hadn't seen before.

You may well start to stop using the pack n play once your baby can walk. He will likely protest loudly once he can walk if you try to confine him to a small space.

Where Should Newborns Sleep?

Have you decided where your new bundle of joy will sleep when she comes home? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping your infant in the same room where you sleep (but not in the same bed) to greatly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), so a full-sized crib likely won't be your baby's first sleeping place.

Are Playards Safe?

Pediatricians generally consider play yards, such as the Graco Pack 'n Play, a safe every-night sleep environment for babies. Play yards are subject to new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards approved in 2012 and therefore might be the safest choice. Most play yards feature breathable mesh sides and come with a thin, firm mattress that meets guidelines for preventing SIDS. Remember to use only a fitted sheet designed for use with your play yard. While you may choose a play yard with a removable "napper" or bassinet feature, keep in mind that babies quickly outgrow the napper (usually at 15 pounds or when they begin to roll over), and some nappers have an incline, rather than the level sleep environment recommended for SIDS prevention.

What to avoid:

  • Used play yards that seem worn or unsteady. A new play yard made in 2013 or later should be up to the latest federal standards.
  • Purchasing a thick, soft mattress in place of the one that comes with the play yard. Pediatricians say that babies do fine sleeping on a firm surface (until they develop a preference for a softer surface — so avoid introducing it). If you do choose to buy a different mattress, be sure it is firm and fits your play yard without any gaps.
  • Mobiles or dangling toys that aren't well attached or that your baby can reach, as these pose a suffocation hazard

10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can Toddler Sleep in Pack N Play?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this is the safest position for babies to sleep in, babies should sleep in a crib or Pack 'n Play. An unsafe sleep environment for babies means: Sleeping in a bed or crib with others (adults and siblings)

2. Can You Use a Pack N Play as a Crib?

Most Pack 'n Plays have a bassinet attachment in the top, so it can be used as a sleeper from the earliest days. With the bassinet, the baby is higher up so they are easier to reach. As your baby grows, you can use the lower portion of the Pack 'n Play as a travel crib.

3. How Many Pounds Does a Pack N Play Hold?

The average Pack N Play use to have 25 pounds as maximum weight recommended to hold.

4. Can You Fly With a Pack N Play?

We don't consider pack 'n' plays, collapsible cribs and similar products transportation devices. Therefore, you won't be able to check these items at the gate. Customers who bring these items to the airport will need to check them as part of their checked bag allowance before going through security.

5. Is a Crib Bigger Than a Pack N Play?

As far as size and weight go: Pack 'n plays are usually a few inches shorter in length than standard cribs. A common size is 28″ wide by 40″ long. They're often about as tall as they are wide, somewhere around 28-30 inches.

6. Should I Get a Bassinet or Pack N Play?

A bassinet will save your life when you first bring baby home and need to keep a close eye on him. Bassinets that rock or vibrate are especially helpful for tough sleepers. A pack 'n play will better serve you as baby grows and you need a playpen, changing station, and more rolled into one.

7. When Should I Stop Using a Bassinet?

Typically, a baby should stop sleeping in a bassinet somewhere in the four- to six-month range. The reason for this is that bassinets cannot hold too much weight, and they become a safety hazard as soon as your child can roll over, sit up, or move around on their own.

8. Do Pack N Plays Need Sheets?

So do I need sheets for a pack n play? Of course, you do. Pack n play mattresses are not washable like sheets. Therefore, spreading well-fitting sheets helps to protect the mattress from spit-up and diaper leaks.

9. Why Does Sleeping in The Same Room as Baby Reduce SIDS?

Goodstein said, when babies sleep in the same room as their parents, the background sounds or stirrings prevent very deep sleep and that helps keeps the babies safe. Room sharing also makes breast-feeding easier, which is protective against SIDS.

10. Are There Signs of SIDS?

SIDS has no symptoms or warning signs. Babies who die of SIDS seem healthy before being put to bed. They show no signs of struggle and are often found in the same position as when they were placed in the bed. You can simply prevent SIDS by following the instructions above.

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