A Guide to Buying a Pack-N-Play Mattress
Since the baby products giant Graco came out with their “Pack-n-Play” portable play yard in 1987, they’ve added more and more options to their revolutionary design. There is the classic design, which serves both as a playpen and a crib. They also make a version that includes a bassinet-type infant bed, which you can convert to the classic playpen/crib version when your baby gets older. And they have a version that also includes a seat and diaper changer. But, whichever version you choose, they all require the Pack-n-Play mattress.
There are other manufacturers that make Pack-n-Play mattresses. Just like the Pack-N-Play itself, they designed the mattress with portability in mind. There are foldable mattresses, as well as mattresses made of a single piece. There are two-sided mattresses, to provide support for your baby’s back when sleeping, and a soft side when they’re older. And you’ll see that there is a wealth of designs and materials!
We’ll go through some of the options, and help you decide if you want a replacement Pack-n-Play mattress, or to just supplement what you already have.
Types of Pack N Play Mattress
You’ll see that Pack-n-Play mattresses come in a few types:
Tri-fold mattress: The Pack-n-Play is known for its convenience in allowing you to fold the whole thing up and pack it away. So, it’s no surprise that there are folding mattresses that share the same features. Papablic’s tri-fold mattress consists of three sections that you can conveniently fold away and carry along with you. It’s the standard 38” long x 26” wide when unfolded, but collapses down into a 13” x 26” cushion.
Papablic Trifold Pack and Play Mattress
Single-piece mattresses: There are also single-piece mattresses that fit snugly into the Pack-N-Play playpen. An example is the Papablic Pack-n-Play Mattress. It has a firm side to support your baby’s spine and a softer side which is already more appropriate for toddlers.
Papablic Pack-n-Play Dual-Sided Mattress
Mattress toppers: There are products such as the Milliard Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which you place on top of the existing Pack-n-Play mattress for added comfort. This product is 2” thick and can be rolled up into a cylinder and carried around. The portability is a big advantage.
Milliard Memory Foam Mattress Topper
What reviewers say
People who bought these Pack-N-Play mattresses pointed out a few things about their purchase:
Firm side safer for infants: If you buy a dual-sided mattress, the firmer side is preferable for infants. If your baby sleeps on their tummy, you don’t have to be concerned about them not breathing properly by sinking too deep into the mattress.
Waterproof cover: You’ll want to purchase a mattress that comes with a waterproof cover, or perhaps purchase a mattress protector separately. Babies may spit up or have other accidents, so you have to be prepared for the worst. A waterproof cover will save you the trouble of having to clean the cushion. And memory foam cushions will only get ruined by frequent washing, even if you’re gentle with them.
Sheets: When you put a sheet on the mattress, make sure that it also fits snugly by getting the correct dimensions (26” x 38”). If your child tosses and turns during the night, they might get tangled up in the sheet.
Takes time to assume its shape: Customers noticed that a memory foam mattress will typically come vacuum packed, which compresses it. When you unpack it, you have to allow time (anywhere from 24 to 48 hours) for it to “poof up” with air and get to its true size.
Here are some useful tips, from both customers and baby care experts, about deciding on a particular mattress:
Zippered cover: It’s best to get a product with a zippered cover so that you can remove the cover to wash it, or clean the cushions when necessary. The SpringSpirit Bamboo Waterproof Trifold Mattress has such a design.
Snug fit: It’s best if the mattress fits snugly into the Pack-n-Play. Experts say that you shouldn’t be able to insert two fingers in between the mattress and the walls of the crib. If there is too wide a wide gap, toys, pacifiers, and other goodies may fall in between. And a snug fit ensures that your baby won’t get their fingers stuck inside. Also, there is a risk of suffocation if the gap is too big.
The thickness of the mattress: It goes without saying that a thicker mattress will provide more support. Also, you have the option of taking the mattress out of the Pack-n-Play and letting your toddler sit or play on it, instead of on a hard, cold floor. The Vibe Bear Premium Foam Pack-n-Play Mattress comes in 3-inch and 4-inch thick versions, while most competitors are only 2 inches thick.
Vibe Bear Premium Foam Pack-n-Play Mattress
We went through some of the offerings on the Best Reviews Guide list of the best Pack-n-Play mattresses. You can see that they’re great inside the crib, and can even be used separately on the floor or carpet for playing. Whether you want something portable when traveling or a permanent mattress for your baby and toddler, these Pack-n-Play mattresses can be a great choice!