How Long Can A Baby Sleep In Pack 'N Play And Is It Safe?

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How long can a baby sleep in a pack ‘n play while meeting all the suggested safety precautions? This question is sure to emerge in the minds of many parents.

A pack ‘n play is a play yard with bumper pads that can be conveniently folded and packed. Its compact size makes it easy to carry it while moving or traveling. Furthermore, it is a multipurpose piece of furniture that can be used for solitary play, as a bassinet, or as a diaper changing station.

Read this post to learn about the safety tips to follow while your baby sleeps or plays in a pack ‘n play.

Is It Safe For A Newborn To Sleep In A Pack And Play?

Yes, it is safe for your newborn to sleep in a pack and play since they are made with adherence to safety guidelines set by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) (1). Several pack and plays even come with a provision to insert a mattress to make the sleep surface comfortable for the little one.

You must ensure you pick a pack and play that meets the CPSIA standards. You may check the manufacturer’s website or contact them directly if you do not find any disclosures on the product packaging. Parents must note that pack and plays are safe sleep surfaces only for children up to 35 inches tall or 30 pounds in weight (2)

Which Pack And Play Attachments Are Safe For Infant Sleep?

Most pack and plays come with attachments such as a changing station, a detachable bassinet, and a play area at the bottom. The bottom play area can be used for putting your baby for nighttime sleep. You may purchase a suitable mattress that snugly fits into the play area. Choose a mattress recommended or sold by the manufacturer of the pack and play.

Some pack and plays come with full-sized bassinets, which fit on top of the pack and play’s frame. These come with integrated padding to make it comfortable for the baby to sleep. However, do not place the baby in the full-sized bassinet once they begin to roll. Place them in the bottom play area since it is safer due to the tall mesh walls, which prevent the baby from rolling out. Never place a baby to sleep on the changing station or in a half-sized/compact bassinet.

When Should A Baby Stop Sleeping In A Pack And Play?

Safety guidelines suggest that you stop placing your baby for sleep in a pack and play once they are more than 35 inches in height or weigh more than 30 pounds, whichever earlier, since each baby has a different growth rate (2). These guidelines apply regardless of your baby’s age and gender.

How To Make Pack And Play A Safe Sleep Environment? 

You can ensure your baby’s safety in a pack and play by keeping the following safe sleep guidelines in mind (3).

  • Always put your baby to sleep on his/her back as it is the safest position for them to sleep.

  • Use a tight-fitting and firm mattress at the base or bottom play area of the pack and play. It ensures there are no loose gaps between the mattress and the mesh walls.

  • Place the pack and play in your room. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, room sharing could reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 50% (4). Room sharing also makes nighttime feeding and changing diapers easier.

  • Do not keep any loose bedding or pillows in or near the sleeping area with intentions to keep your baby warm, as it increases the risk of suffocation.

  • Ensure that the pack and play is properly set on a firm surface and the sides are locked tightly before putting your baby into it.

  • Do not add any extra bedding except the mattress provided or recommended by the manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can my baby suffocate in a pack and play?

Yes, babies can suffocate in a pack and play if safety guidelines are not followed. If there are extra pillows or loose bedding in or around the sleeping area of the pack and play, then the chances of suffocation increase greatly.

2. Can the baby sleep in a pack and play without a mattress?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to put your baby to sleep on the thin pad that comes with the pack n play. You do not need to buy a mattress for your pack n play in order to use it for sleep. If you wish to make the surface more comfortable for your baby, you can add a mattress that has been manufactured for pack n plays. Just make sure it is firm and fits tightly inside the pack n play without leaving any gaps.

Getting a pack and play for your newborn baby can be a good investment for new mothers as it can be used as a bassinet, a changing station, and a play area as well. You may also use it as a sleeping area until your baby is old enough to transition to a toddler bed. Do remember to follow the safety guidelines to ensure your baby has a safe and sound sleep.

Infographic: Ways To Ensure Your Baby Sleeps Safely In A Pack And Play

It is vital your baby gets sound sleep in a safe environment. We have prepared this infographic containing some important tips and guidelines to help you make the surroundings safe for your baby while they sleep. Read on, and do not forget to save it for future reference.

ways to ensure your baby sleeps safely in a pack and play [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Pack ’N Play or pack and play is a type of play yard for babies to sleep and play.
  • Pack ’N Plays conform to the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and are safe for babies.
  • Most of them come with a changing station, detachable bassinet, and play area. Ensure to choose a mattress that fits in the play area.
  • You may stop placing your baby in a pack and play once they are 35 inches tall or more than 30 pounds.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Sanjana Bhattacharjee

Sanjana did her post graduation in Applied Microbiology from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. Her interest in science and health, combined with her passion to write made her convert from a scientist to a writer. She believes her role at MomJunction combines the best of both worlds as she writes health-based content based on scientific evidence. Sanjana is trained in classical... more

Emily Lau

Emily Lau is a certified infant and pediatric sleep consultant who helps little ones and their families get the sleep they need. She holds her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and is a certified teacher in general education and special education. After many years of working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers as a professional nanny, Emily chose to combine... more