Now that you are holding the most precious gift you have ever received in your arms, it’s time to decide the best play yard or pack n’ play you are going to buy for your baby in order to change her diaper, and let her play in the same place safely.
The best options in the market include a bassinet, a changer and a nap place in order to give babies a place to relax while giving their parents time to run errands during the day. Some are adjustable to last until your child is 3 years old while some brands are only designed to last for a specific time.
With so many options out there, what is the best option for you and your baby’s needs? With that in mind, we have selected the top products on the market to make your shopping experience much easier.
How To Choose A Play Yard – Buying Guide
Choosing the best play yard for your child shouldn’t be one of the hardest decisions that you have to make, however it is an important one as your baby or toddler will spend majority of his time in there.
If you happen to find the right product for your needs as well as your child’s, then you have hit the jackpot!
With these in mind, there are certain qualities we have looked for while compiling the list of the 10 Best Play Yards in 2020 before we have recommended them to you.
Removable bassinet and changer
Let’s face it. Buying many different products for your child can get expensive very quickly. If you will be traveling or making frequent visits to your grandparents, choosing a play yard with a removable bassinet and changer is a great idea. It will save you money as well as making it easier for you to put your baby to sleep and change diapers.
Providing your child with a nice, comfortable place to take a nap like a bassinet that is securely fastened and isn’t easily disengaged by other children is a great benefit.
A changing station on the other hand, will make changing your baby’s diaper a much easier process while preventing you from crawling around on the floor or cleaning up a furniture that got messy. If there are pockets on the side of the product, that would make it easier for you to reach for the baby wipes as soon as you need them.
Play yards are not designed for babies to sleep in, but of course it happens from time to time. So, make sure that you check the quality and the thickness of the mattress during shopping. A thin and poorly made mattress can be uncomfortable for your child. You can of course buy an extra mattress and sheet, but you must make sure that the fit is correct. It is always worthwhile spending a little extra on quality.
The biggest difference between a child’s crib and a play yard is that a play yard comes equipped with wheels as well as swivel casters. If you will be moving your child’s play yard from room to room, this feature might come handy. Just be careful to buy easily lockable wheels in case you happen to be on a sloped surface. If you are using the product at your home, the wheels allows you to put it into a corner ready for the next time you need it. The wheels also come in handy when it comes to storage and you need a lot of space once you have a kid.
Easy folding mechanism
It can be both funny and painful to watch a parent struggle setting up and then taking down their child’s play yard. Considering the fact that you will be repeating this process quite often, be sure to read some reviews from other parents. The better the folding mechanism, the easier it will be. Most of the reviews say that it can be done in less than a minute, but a minute is quite a long time when you have an upset baby. If it has a push button mechanism, you may find it easier to set up. A carry bag is also useful, as you may want to take it with you on a play date or to your relatives’ house. Therefore, a carry bag, which is not too complicated, would be nice.
If there is one thing that all parents will most likely agree on is that babies have a ton of stuff. Play yards with storage will help you organize your staff like diapers, wipes, clothes, blankets or anything else your baby needs. Mothers who didn’t buy a bassinet with a storage clearly regret afterwards, as they have to carry items with them from room to room all the time.
When making your decision among you should definitely choose a play yard that has received a quality and safety certification from the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association. Products owning this certificate are some of the best quality and safest items on the market.
Over the years, some play yards have become portable since manufacturers have discovered that parents would like to take their play yard with them on trips to the grandparents’ house where they can sleep safely or to their home outdoors where their bundle of joy can take a nap comfortably. Therefore, this is an important feature to take into consideration if you are a mother or a dad on the go.
In order to protect babies from excessive sunlight when outdoors, some bassinets come with a detachable canopy. If your choosing of play yard has a feature like this, your baby will sleep like an angel in fresh air and under the shade. When the bassinet is no longer in use or the sun decides to hide, simply remove the canopy. Canopies also come handy when there is wind suddenly. They prevent dust getting into your baby’s eyes, thus preventing possible eye infections.
With several options on the market, many manufacturers have started adding extra features that help babies while they are spending time in their bassinet. Mobiles with suspended toys or a detachable baby gym can be used as a mat on the floor for tummy time. There are also some models with other smoothing music or even outside noises such as a car motor purring to help your baby sleep. Be ready to spend more money if you are looking for extra features.
Basic vs. Deluxe
Like any other product, play yards vary among themselves, too. While basic play yards can be described as a utility play yard, built to be moved from one room to another or packed up and transported in the back of your vehicle, deluxe ones will come with much more interactive and add-on features as well as with bigger sizes. You will be able to carry the basic one in its travel bag with mesh sides for breathability easily. On the other hand, deluxe play yards are designed to be stationary and transporting it may not be easy. We are not even mentioning the price difference.
Play yards come in all different shapes and sizes; therefore you should think where and when you will use them. The size of your living space, or the place you will use it are important factors. Will you use it for play dates so that more than one child can fit in comfortably? Also think about your physical limitations. Some of the play yards may require you to reach inside, so if you have any physical limitations, that could be a strain on your back. Check out the metal frame, too. Is there any way your child can hit her head if she stands up too quickly? Some parents have covered the frame with swimming float tubes, just to be on the safe side.
This is a vital purchase and while you may be asked what you want for your baby shower, we recommend you not to add the play yard to your list unless you are certain of the brand and type. This can be a very personal purchase and you have to consider space, comfort and practicality as well as design and storage.
Make sure that you check the thickness of the mattress, too. You may find that you will want to purchase a better-quality mattress. Also, can the mattress be removed from the frame? This is also very important for cleaning. Another important point is that if the mattress fits snugly into the frame. Any gap can mean a choking hazard incase the baby manages to roll into the empty space and everyone who has a child knows, babies get themselves into the most amazing positions!
If it doesn’t come with its own travel bag, consider if you can find a bag to fit it in. Some of the play yards are not very practical to carry around so if they have a bag or you can purchase a bag as extra, it will come handy when you need it the most.
Check when the play yard was manufactured. Safety rules are always changing, and you want to make sure that your purchase is in line with the up to date safety guidelines and it is always better to be on the safe side. Law does not require a safety sticker from Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association but it is good for the peace of your mind.
The mesh on the sides of the play yards should not be larger than 6 mm. This is to make sure that no small fingers can be trapped in the mesh. If you want to add a sheet, make sure you buy a fitted one.
Babies can move around a lot and can become tangled in a sheet that is not fitted. We recommend you always buy a new play yard. Although secondhand ones can be cheaper, you won’t be aware of the state of the frame and also whether it is in line with the current safety guidelines.
Always read the instructions first. It is important that you understand how to put up and take down the play yard. Practice a few times.
Also, how many babies can go into the pen at the same time is important. Never move a play yard when the baby is in it. Be aware of the manufacturers guidelines when it comes to the size and weight of the baby. If you baby is too heavy don’t use the play yard.
Don’t hang any toys with string from the play yard, as this can be a strangulation hazard. Even if you think it is safe, never leave your baby unattended. You should always have your child in view.
Be careful when placing the play yard inside, make sure it is not near an open fire or any heat source that could damage both the product and cause injury to your baby.
If you are using the changing table feature, make sure that you have the baby strapped in, these straps are there for a reason to make sure that your baby is safe at all times when changing.
Care and Maintenance:
Check out your play yard to make sure that there is no worn stitching, or the frame is still strong. If you use it at the park or the beach, make sure that it is fully cleaned after use. Use soap and tepid water to clean it. Don’t forget to the clean the carry bag as well.
Q: Why You Need A Play Yard?
A: Because it is a safe environment to begin with. As parents, when you need time to take a shower, cook dinner or even relax a bit, a play yard will be your best friend. You can set it up anywhere depending on your needs whether in your own house or at the grandparents’.
Secondly, your baby will sleep in a welcoming, safe, and familiar environment wherever she goes and probably turn out to be a better sleeper.
Q: Are play yards safe to use?
A: The majority of play yards are designed with a baby’s wellbeing and safety in mind. They give room for maneuvering, preventing your baby getting squashed or cooped up. Play mats create a softer ground incase of a fall like a cushion. The plastic frames and door locks on the other hand will prevent your baby from wandering off, creating a safer environment for your baby without much supervision
Q: How To Use A Play Yard?
A: Many parents, who want to keep things clean and tidy, use it as a storage unit if their house lacks space for extra baby staff. Some even fill it with cushions and pillows turning it into a multipurpose atmosphere for playing and sleeping. Last by not least, a play yard will help you handle more than one child collectively as well as reducing your cleaning time afterwards.
Q: The Difference Between Playpen, Play Mat, and Play yard?
A: Resembling a portable crib or a standing gate, playpen has a dedicated playground area for your baby to enjoy himself safely. On the other hand, not every playpen comes with a floor mat.
Some parents prefer play yards like the Pack ‘n play because they have extra features like night-lights, changing station, shelves, and mobiles. They are also extra portable making parents’ work much easier.
Play mats offering different textures, visuals, and sounds are loved by babies between three to six months old who are in the stage of developing hand-eye coordination. Therefore play mats are great for a shorter period of time compared to a playpen and a play yard.
Q: Are Play Yards Safe For Sleep?
A: Most play yards are designed in order to meet the security standards of the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved in 2012. Therefore, they are considered safe for sleep by pediatricians. They also come with breathable mesh sides and feature a firm thin mattress designed by the guidelines for preventing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.)
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Choosing a play yard means much more than choosing a place for your child to play and sleep. The right one has to comfort both you and your precious baby and there is a right play yard for everyone.
We hope we have helped you in the right way with our 10 Best Play Yards in 2020 list.
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