How Long Can a Baby Sleep in a Pack 'N Play? The Answer You Need!

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
February 28, 2023
Graco Pack 'n Play Element Playard Bassinet, Darcie

If you have a baby, you've probably seen all sorts of things that help with raising him or her. One of these might be a portable crib, or Pack 'N Play. You might find yourself asking the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?"

It's all about safety, of course. A Pack 'N Play may be very convenient, but you want to make sure you aren't compromising your child's well-being.

So how long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play? This is definitely a good thing for any new parent to know.

What Is a Pack 'N Play?

Basically, a Pack 'N Play is a portable crib. It functions as a small play area for your baby. Typically, these are covered on every one of the four sides by a mesh material.

These portable cribs are made out of hard and sturdy material that is strong enough to hold a baby within. Also, a transparent material makes up the sides. This allows air to pass easily to and from the interior of the crib, and it also makes it easy for the caregivers to watch the baby at all times.

Babies can sleep in a Pack 'N Play. They can also use them as play areas if they're old enough to sit up on their own. Some come with bassinet attachments, and you can use them as diaper changing stations.

How Long Can a Baby Sleep in a Pack 'N Play?

Graco Pack 'n Play Playard with Reversible Napper & Change
Image source: amazon

After learning a little more about the Pack 'N Play, you might still want to know, how long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play? Every Pack 'N Play is different, but there are certain guidelines you should follow.

If the portable crib has an attached bassinet, you should stop using the bassinet once your baby gets to about 13 to 14 pounds. If you keep your baby in the bassinet after he or she becomes heavier than this, the baby could be too much for the bassinet to support. This could end up being really dangerous.

With a regular Pack 'N Play, you should stop putting your baby in it once he or she gets to about 30 pounds.

However, it's not all about weight. Sometimes, babies don't gain weight when they get older, but they do get taller. Once your baby is approximately 35 inches tall, you should stop putting him or her in the Pack 'N Play.

So should you consider height or weight first when thinking about the answer to the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?" Really, it should be whichever milestone your baby reaches first. When it comes to your baby, it's always safety first.

Other safety considerations

There are other safety considerations that you need to keep in mind if your baby is going to be sleeping in a Pack 'N Play, in addition to the answer to the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?" If you're going to be using one of these portable cribs for this purpose, you need to keep a few things in mind whenever your baby is in it.

No extra bedding

If your baby is going to be sleeping in it, you need to not put any other items in it. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has assessed that soft bedding is a potential factor in babies' deaths in these sorts of portable cribs.

Since 1988, the CPSC has received more than 200 reports of babies who died while in these playpens. In almost half of these cases, there was either soft bedding or extra mattresses within the playpens. The babies would die of SIDS or suffocation.

Suffocation is also possible when you leave one side of the playpen folded down. This creates mesh pockets, which can be a suffocation hazard to a young child.

If your baby is under 12 months in age, put the baby to sleep on his or her back in the Pack 'N Play with no soft bedding. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the safest position for babies to sleep in is on their backs.

By soft bedding, we mean pillows, sheepskins, quilts, or toys that resemble pillows. Also, only use the padding and mattresses that are provided by the manufacturer.

Babies should always be sleeping alone. If you have another child, don't put him or her in there with your baby. You also shouldn't be putting blankets, toys, or bumper pads in there.

You can use a pacifier while you're putting your baby down for a nap. However, make sure that you remember to take it out once the baby's asleep. The baby should not have the pacifier in his or her mouth when he or she is actually sleeping in the Pack 'N Play.

Strangulation is possible

You need to pay attention to the structure of the Pack 'N Play if you're going to be putting your baby into it.

If it has protruding components, such as rivets, it can snag your baby's clothing and strangle him or her. If you put it too close to a window, your baby could end up being strangled on blind cords or drapery. Older models often have large mesh, which catches buttons on babies' clothing and can result in strangulation as well.

If you have a mesh-sided Pack 'N Play, make sure that the holes are less than 1/4 inch in size, with no tears or loose threads.

Avoid entrapment!

It's also possible that a Pack 'N Play could collapse on your baby. Some have side rails that collapse and entrap the babies between them. The older models have hardware that doesn't always pull out properly and can result in collapses and entrapment hazards.

Sometimes, well-meaning parents will modify a Pack 'N Play in order to keep the baby inside. They can put larger mattresses, plywood, or some other material on top. This can backfire and create an entrapment hazard.

You also want to make sure that your Pack 'N Play is in good shape if you're going to be putting your baby into it for a nap. If it's broken or damaged, it could have openings that could entrap your baby.

Sleeping Like a Baby...

A Pack 'N Play can be a great tool for you and your baby. However, you need to make sure to use it properly. This is why it makes sense to know the answer to the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?"

What you also need to remember is that it's not just the answer to this question you need to keep in mind. You also need to keep several other safety considerations in mind when it comes to how your baby's sleeping.

When it comes to your baby, you can't be too careful. If you've invested in a Pack 'N Play, you definitely need to know the answer to the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?" Being conscious of this kind of information could end up saving your baby's life.

What do you think of our answer to the question, "How long can a baby sleep in a Pack 'N Play?" Let us know in the comments section!

Featured image source: amazon

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