Portable pack ‘n play cribs or playards can be a lifesaver when traveling with your baby. They’re also handy as playpens if you’re doing chores and want your baby to be safe but near enough to keep an eye on. You can even change your baby’s diaper in them. Pack’ n play cribs have padded bases, but are these comfortable enough for a baby to play and sleep on? Are they safe? Should you get a mattress for a pack ‘n play?
The best pack ‘n play mattresses keep babies safe and comfortable. They are made of thick, firm, breathable foam and fit foldable cribs. Mattresses should be hypoallergenic, fire-resistant, waterproof, and health and safety certified. Choose a mattress that is easily portable and washable.
With the wide variety of mattresses available, knowing which one to buy for your baby’s pack ‘n play can be confusing. We’ve got you. Read our parents’ guide with everything you need to know about the best pack and play mattresses.
- 1. Everything You Need To Know About Pack ‘n Play Mattresses
- 2. The Best Pack ‘n Play Mattresses – Complete Reviews
- 3. Our Top Three Picks
- 4. Conclusion
1. Everything You Need To Know About Pack ‘n Play Mattresses
Pack’ n play cribs are fantastic but can sometimes be a little uncomfortable for a tiny human, as they lack padding. Buying a mattress to fit the pack ‘n play is a great idea. It makes the crib ideal for naps and gives your baby a comfortable playmat and changing mat. But are these mattresses safe?
Let’s look at parents’ most common questions about pack’ n play mattresses.
Do Pack ‘n Plays Come With A Mattress?
Most Pack ‘n Plays don’t come with a mattress, so don’t be disappointed when you open the box. These cribs come with a padded base where your baby can sit, play, or nap. However, you can buy mattresses and toppers specifically made for pack ‘n plays.
Does A Pack ‘n Play Or A Playpen Even Need A Mattress?
Whether or not you buy a mattress depends on how old your baby is, how well the pack ‘n play is constructed, and how you want to use the pack ‘n play. For example:
- If you use the pack ‘n play as your baby’s crib, you should buy a mattress for extra comfort and warmth.
- If your baby takes regular naps in the pack ‘n play or spends the night in it, you should get a well-padded mattress. The portability of a pack ‘n play means you can watch your little one to check the sleeping position and avoid SIDS.
- If you travel with your baby or your little one sleeps over at grandma’s house, you’ll want to get a comfortable mattress that’s also portable.
- You should get a mattress if your baby takes naps in the crib after playtime.
- If your baby is six to eight months old and sits and plays but doesn’t sleep in the pack ‘n play, you probably don’t need a mattress.
- You won’t need a mattress if the pack ‘n play has a thick, breathable base.
Will A Crib Mattress Fit In A Pack ‘n Play?
Mattresses made for regular cribs will not fit perfectly in a pack ‘n play as they are usually too big. Putting a poorly fitting mattress into a pack ‘n play is dangerous, as there will be spaces around the mattress where a baby could get stuck. Pack’ n pay manufacturers specifically warn against using the wrong mattresses for safety reasons.
Is There A Mattress For A Pack ‘n Play?
Several brands of mattresses are produced to fit in pack ‘n play cribs. Ensure that you choose one recommended specifically for your pack ‘n play.
What To Look For In A Pack n Play Mattress
With so many excellent options out there, it’s hard to choose the right mattress. These are vital factors to consider:
The standard mattress for a pack ‘n play is 38 x 24 inches. However, measure carefully to buy a mattress that fits your playpen exactly, with no space around the edges. Gaps are not only nooks for lost pacifiers or toys but also a safety and suffocation hazard.
Babies are so light that they don’t need thick mattresses for support when sleeping or playing. A thick, puffy mattress also poses a safety hazard as babies could suffocate or suffer SIDS if sleeping on their stomachs. A single flat, supportive mattress is ideal for newborns, while a softer mattress is better for toddlers.
Because babies cannot regulate their body temperature effectively, their mattresses must be breathable. The most breathable mattresses are made from gel beads, so the baby stays cool and comfortable. Although memory foam mattresses sound comfortable, they are not very breathable. They can leave a baby hot and uncomfortable, leading to disturbed sleep and heat rash.
Check that the mattress is hypoallergenic and contains no toxic or hazardous materials. It should also be flame resistant. Reputable brands will have Certi-PUR certification to confirm these safety features.
One of the pack ‘n play’s advantages is that you can easily fold and transport it. The mattress should also be portable, so ensure it is light enough to carry and simple to fold or roll up.
With diaper leaks, spills, and stains, you’ll want a waterproof mattress. This will keep your baby comfortable and avoid endless cleaning headaches for you. However, the material should not crinkle when the baby sleeps and must be easy to remove and wash.
2. The Best Pack ‘n Play Mattresses – Complete Reviews
These are our top recommended pack and play mattresses. You’ll find our top 3 picks at the end of this section.
Dream On Me Foam Pack ‘n Play Mattress: Best for upgrading to a crib
Marketed as a playmat, this three-inch foam mattress is comfortable and supportive for playing, changing, tummy-time, and sleeping. This mattress is one of the market’s bestsellers because of fantastic features like the vinyl waterproof cover wiping clean. The reinforced waterproof seams prevent any moisture from seeping in.
This easy-to-maintain mattress is made in the USA with 90% foam and 10% vinyl, the perfect combination of comfort and functionality. And don’t worry about safety: the mattress has passed rigorous toxicity and safety tests. Your baby will rest easy in their playpen with this top-quality mattress.
- The product is Greenguard Gold certified. It has passed the highest health and safety testing, including being hypoallergenic and resistant to bed bugs.
- The antibacterial seams prevent mold, mildew, and odor.
- The thick foam makes it comfortable enough to use for newborns.
- The vinyl cover can make a slight noise when the baby moves.
- It’s lightweight, but the size makes it bulky to travel with.
Hiccapop Pack and Play Mattress Pad: Best for Traveling
Specifically designed to support a newborn’s delicate spine, this lightweight yet firm mattress also has a plushy soft cover. It’s dual-sided, so you can turn the mattress over for a softer mattress for toddlers. This mattress pad is also easily foldable and has a handy travel case.
The cozy Hiccapop mattress is made of CertiPUR Memory Foam which provides a soft surface for your baby while ensuring safety with its firmness (plus, the rounded corners make it a perfect fit for Graco Pack and Plays). Its resilient jacquard cover is waterproof and tear-resistant, guaranteeing long-lasting use. The flat surface design, without any straps or buckles, makes it a safe option for infants. The Hiccapop has undergone rigorous quality and durability testing and is free from toxic fire retardants.
- The double-sided mattress offers two levels of firmness.
- Lightweight, easily foldable, and convenient for traveling.
- Meets all CertiPUR-US health and safety regulations.
- The waterproof lining is on the inside, so the outer cover does get wet.
- Only one-inch thick, so less padded than other mattresses.
Milliard Memory Foam Pack n Play Mattress: Best for Grandma’s House
This comfortable mattress is made of two-inches memory foam, firmly padded and well-ventilated, ensuring a peaceful nap or playtime for baby. It fits seamlessly into most brands of pack’ n play cribs but can also be used as a separate playmat when traveling.
This Pack and Play mattress is designed to be easily portable and stored. The 65 percent cotton removable cover features a zippered, waterproof design that is machine washable and dryable for added convenience. Setting up the mattress topper is a breeze as it comes vacuum-sealed in a compact box. Simply unroll it and wait up to 48 hours for it to fully decompress.
- The highly portable Roll-N-Carry feature makes transport a breeze.
- Both the mattress and cover are hypoallergic.
- Certified by CertiPUR-US standards.
- The complementary cover is washable but not waterproof.
UBBCARE Pack And Play Mattress
With its ultrasoft plush cover and three inches of memory foam, this is a firm, breathable mattress that even newborns can sleep on. The trifold mattress compacts easily and is ideal for carrying in the car to use for naps, as a changing mat, a bench cushion, or a playmat.
- Comes with a convenient storage and travel bag.
- The mattress is CertiPUR-US certified as non-toxic and non-flammable.
- The removable cover is washable.
- Removing and replacing the water-resistant cover is tricky when you need to wash or change it.
- The chemical smell on opening takes a while to dissipate.
Noiseless Premium Foam Pack And Play Mattress Topper
This sturdy foam mattress has a cute cotton cover printed with baby-friendly designs. Its marketing point is noiselessness, avoiding that telltale crinkle of waterproof playpen pads. The mattress was also carefully designed to safely fit pack ‘n play cribs without dangerous gaps around edges or corners.
- Easy to roll up
- No crinkly sounds when the baby is sleeping.
- Excellent fit in most pack ‘n play cribs.
- You have to purchase a waterproof cover separately.
- Thinner foam than most other mattresses.
Biloban Playard Mattress Topper
There’s a good reason that this bestseller won the 2023 Mom’s Choice Award for Best Playard Mattress. Apart from being foldable and portable, the breathable foam is soft and cozy for baby naps. Because of its anti-slip base and water-resistant surface, you can use the mattress as a playmat and changing mat.
- Made from sustainable and hypoallergenic bamboo.
- Machine-washable covers are easy to remove and replace and don’t shrink when washing.
- Portable case for traveling.
- Only one inch thick, so more of a pad than a permanent mattress.
- Made to fit the Graco pack ‘n play, so doesn’t fit all other brands.
3. Our Top Three Picks
To take the frustration out of choosing from the many options, we’ve selected three pack ‘n play mattresses to suit your family’s lifestyle.
Best Pack and Play Mattress For Traveling
If your family likes traveling or if you’re often visiting and staying over with grandparents and friends, this is the mattress we recommend.
Because the Hiccapop pad is one of the thinner mattresses, it is incredibly lightweight and easy to fold, pack, and store. It’s versatile enough to be used from newborn to toddler age. It can function as a mattress, playmat, cushion, or changing mat.
Hiccapop Pack And Play Mattress PadView on Amazon
Best Pack ‘n Play Mattress For A Crib
With pack ‘n play cribs being so affordable and convenient, many new parents choose them as cribs, where the baby will take naps and sleep at night.
We’ve recommended the Dream On Me mattress because it’s firm yet amazingly comfortable. It’s breathable and hypoallergenic. It also meets the most rigorous health and safety standards regarding toxicity, flammability, and durability. You can rest easy knowing that your baby is safe.
Dream On Me Foam Pack ‘n Play Mattress
Best Pack and Play Mattress For Grandma’s House
One of the more affordable mattresses, the Milliard’s firm memory foam will ensure that the little ones sleep well when having a sleepover or afternoon nap. The mattress fits most foldable cribs – even older ones – and is handy as a playmat and changing mat at homes that aren’t kitted for babies.
The mattress is easy to roll up and store, and the cover is washable if any accidents occur.
Milliard Memory Foam Pack ‘n Play MattressView on Amazon
While pack ‘n play cribs are convenient, they aren’t always comfortable. Adding a mattress will help your baby to play and sleep in comfort. Ensure that the mattress fits snugly into the crib and is made of firm, breathable foam for your baby’s safety. Check that the material is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and fire-retardant. Ideally, the mattress should also be waterproof and portable.