Comprehensive Nuna Sena Aire review covering setup, portability, washability, safety and my personal experience testing it at home
What is the Nuna Sena Aire?
The Nuna Sena Aire is one of the most popular pack and plays from Nuna Baby, a Dutch company known for extremely high quality baby gear, and for being a leader in producing non-toxic baby products.
Nuna Baby has two pack and plays in their product lineup: The Sena Aire and the Cove Aire Go (they also make an alternative version of the Sena Aire that is exclusive to Pottery Barn Kids [the PBK version has different color options], as well as selling the Sena Aire with a changer attachment).
The Sena Aire is Nuna Baby’s largest pack and play. It’s incredibly easy to fold and unfold, and is incredibly unique in terms of how breathable it is, with mesh sides, a mesh floor, and a ventilated and breathable pack and play mattress.
- Easy to fold and unfold
- One of the most breathable pack and plays on the market
- 360-degree visibility
- Excellent choice for hot climates or weather
- Greenguard Gold Certified
- Lightweight compared to traditional pack and plays
- Mattress off the floor for added comfort
- Firm but comfortable mattress
- Mattress cover is machine washable
- Travel bag isn't zipper secured, and fabric is thin
- Unclear if fabrics are Oeko-Tex Certified
- No zip-down side panel
- Less suitable for airline travel and longer trips
Nuna Sena Aire: Testing and Review
I bought my own Nuna Sena Aire for the purpose of writing this review. I bought it myself, with no freebies or discounts from Nuna. Below you’ll find my unsponsored, unbiased thoughts based on this personal experience.
Portability and Ease of Carrying
First, I considered how portable the Sena Aire is. While it’s pretty good for moving around the house and I can see how it would work on a road trip, I probably wouldn’t check this in on an airline for a trip abroad (for that, I’d get a Guava Lotus or BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light).
It comes with a “one hand travel bag” included in the box.
Dimensions of the travel bag are 34″ long by 14.5″ wide by 10″ high. I got those measurements by measuring my actual Sena Aire in its included carry bag – not from official dimensions from the manufacturer (which may differ).
Overall, the travel bag included with the Sena Aire is adequate, but not amazing.
First of all, the fabric it’s made of is fairly lightweight, similar to the 4Moms play yard carry bag (which got ripped to shreds when checked on a short flight to LA).
Secondly, I don’t like that it doesn’t zip up – the top is a drawstring cinch closure, which feels less secure for traveling, especially when compared to something like the Bugaboo Stardust, BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light, or Guava Lotus, which all have substantial carry bags with strong zip closures.
Finally, the way the play yard sits in the bag makes for some uneven and awkward weight distribution, with one end of the unit tipping up or down when carrying it, making it a bit awkward to carry for longer periods, like on a trip.
As a short person (I’m 5 foot), I’d say this is fairly mediocre to carry. It’s not as bad for shorter people as the Bugaboo Stardust (which dragged on the floor for me, but would be great for a taller parent or user), but it’s not as convenient to carry as the BabyBjorn, the Guava Lotus, or even the 4Moms pack and play (the Breeze Plus and Breeze Go).
It’s also worth considering the weight, especially if you plan on using this as a travel crib.
The Nuna Sena Aire weighs 20.8 pounds, without the bassinet. Compare that to other popular travel cribs and lightweight pack and plays, and the Nuna Sena Aire is a fair bit heavier than some of the lightest weight pack and plays on the market, such as the Guava or the BabyBjorn. However, it’s comparable to the 4moms Breeze Go.
- Phil & Teds Traveller: 7.5 pounds
- BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light: 13 pounds
- Guava Lotus Everywhere Crib: 15 pounds
- Bugaboo Stardust: 17.2 pounds
- Nuna Sena Aire: 20.8 pounds
- 4Moms Breeze Go: 23 pounds
- 4Moms Breeze Plus: 28.5 pounds (with bassinet and changer)
Nuna Sena Aire Setup
Theoretically, the Nuna Sena Aire folds easily with one hand. In my experience, however, it’s a bit of clunky to actually do this with one hand, likely due to the skid proof feet on the bottom of the play yard.
To open using two hands, you pull on the narrow edges at either end of the play yard to pull them open.
Then, using one hand, push down on the central pillar (called a “hub”).
With the bassinet attached, you also need to slip your hand through the slit on the bottom of the bassinet to the main play yard floor, and make sure the hub is fully pushed down.
To test how easy it is to set up the Nuna Sena Aire, I timed myself setting it up from start to finish. This included taking it out of the travel bag, setting it up, and placing the mattress correctly.
It took me 1 minute and 34 seconds to setup my Nuna Sena Aire. That includes 19 seconds to get it out of the storage bag, and another 25 seconds to get it unfolded and ready to use. This was on my first try!
Comparing this to other pack and plays and travel cribs I’ve tested, the Nuna Sena Aire performs quite well in terms of speed of set up.
- Bugaboo Stardust: 32 seconds
- BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light: 1 minute and 16 seconds
- Nuna Sena Aire: 1 minute and 34 seconds
- Guava Lotus Everywhere Crib: 1 minute and 40 seconds
- 4Moms Breeze: 3 minutes and 4 seconds
The setup is quite easy, but I love that it also folds easily with one hand. When you’re ready to put it away, you simply grab the central hub and pull up to collapse the whole thing.
It takes me about 10 seconds to collapse mine.
Getting it back into the travel bag requires a bit more time and a little bit of wrestling. When I timed myself as a test, it took me 1 minute and 6 seconds to get the frame and mattress back into the carry bag.
Advanced air design™
The Nuna Sena Aire comes with something that Nuna calls advanced air design™, which more or less means it’s got excellent ventilation.
This includes ventilated mesh sides and base of the play yard and bassinet, as well as the ventilated mattress panels.
That’s right: the sides, floor and mattress are all made of mesh to ensure maximum air flow around your baby. This is great in any climate, but particularly desirable in climates with high heat and humidity.
Unlike many travel cribs, the mattress part of the play yard sits off the ground. This is likely slightly more comfortable for your kiddo, keeps them away from drafts along the floor, and is an additional feature to improve ventilation.
The Nuna Sena Aire is the only pack and play or travel crib I’m aware of that offers true, 360 degree ventilation via the mesh sides and base, as well as a mesh mattress.
Ventilated Mesh Mattress
The Sena Aire mattress has ventilated panels and a mesh mattress cover are two of the most unique features of this pack and play.
First of all, they make the mattress more breathable than most pack and play mattresses.
Whereas a number of companies have innovated to make more breathable crib mattresses (see: Organic Dream, Newton, and Naturepedic), there aren’t a lot of companies working on breathable pack and play mattresses. In that regard, Nuna is setting the bar for other companies, and I expect we’ll see more breathable playard mattresses in the future.
The removable panel design also means the mattress is washable. By removing the ventilated panels (they come out completely), you can then throw the fabric part of the mattress (which consists of polyester mesh plus a thin layer of polyurethane foam, as far as I can tell) in the washing machine.
This is super handy and quite unique – since most pack and play mattresses have some sort of cardboard or particle board in them, they can’t be washed in the same way. The removable ventilated panels in the Nuna Aire are a true innovation.
Washability: How to Wash Nuna Sena Aire
In terms of washability, the Sena Aire has a leg up on traditional pack and plays (which are typically spot clean only), but isn’t as washable as leading travel cribs (which typically have fabric units that detach from the frame to be machine washed).
The Sena’s fabric sides and floor don’t detach from the frame to wash, and the mesh fabric is spot clean only.
However, the mattress cover is washer safe. This is another great innovation from Nuna, as most pack and plays lack washer safe mattress covers (leaving you to either by a third-party mattress cover, which the manufacturers don’t recommend, or be left spot cleaning the mattress after every spit up or diaper leak).
While the Nuna website mentions the mattress cover is wash and dryer safe, when I actually look at the care label on my Nuna Sena Aire mattress, it suggests its washer safe, but should be drip dried (hang to dry).
I recommend following the care label on your actual pack and play.
Greenguard Gold Certified with Non Toxic Materials
One of the things I love about Nuna as a brand is how committed the company is to creating safe, non toxic products for kids.
As of 2023, they’ve completely eliminated the use of fire retardants in their car seats: a massive achievement and a win for parents who want to reduce their kids’ exposure to harmful chemicals.
Likewise, the Sena Aire is completely fire retardant free, which offers a lot of peace of mind for parents who want to avoid these chemicals. It also doesn’t contain any PFAS chemicals, which are used by some companies to achieve for water resistance.
Additionally, this play yard is free from PVC (which are a source of phthalates) and is Greenguard Gold certified (meaning it’s not a major source of VOCs) and JPMA certified.
So what is the Sena Aire made of? According to Nuna Baby, the SENA Aire is made up of polyester (the outer material; aka the mesh sides and floor); polyester batting; and polyurethane foam.
Of these materials, I don’t love the use of polyurethane foam, but it’s pretty tough to get around it. Of all the pack and plays on the market, there’s only two that I’m aware of that are PU foam free: the Phil & Teds Traveller and the fairly new-to-market Uppababy Remi pack and play.
Nuna Sena Aire Safety
- Skid proof feet to keep the playard in place and minimize shifting or movement.
- It has a sturdy aluminum frame. When I test how stable it is by pushing the frame from side to side or back and forth, it holds steady against my pushes. I would classify it as extremely stable, and in side by side comparisons, it’s one of the best pack and plays I’ve tested in this regard.
- A GOTS Certified Organic Sheet is included in the box. If you want extras, they also sell their organic cotton sheet separately, so you can have one on the pack and play, and a spare in the cupboard or laundry.
- Previous versions of the Nuna Sena Aire used Oeko-Tex certified fabrics, but it’s unclear if the latest model still has Oeko-Tex certification.
Nuna Sena Aire Bassinet Review
The Nuna Sena Aire comes with bassinet, and you can use it in bassinet mode or play yard mode (without the bassinet).
One great feature about this bassinet is the fact that it folds with the frame. This is similar to the Bugaboo Stardust, that folds with the bassinet and the mattress. It’s quite unique, as most play yards require you to remove the bassinet attachment before folding and storing.
The bassinet uses a snap and clip system to attach to the main play yard frame. There are 4 snaps (one snap on each of the 4 sides of the top railing), and 4 clips (one on each corner of the top railing.
Overall the bassinet position is actually quite low, especially when compared to some other options, such as the 4Moms Breeze Plus. If a higher bassinet position is important to you, you might want to consider the Nuna Cove Go, or the 4moms Breeze Plus.
Nuna Sena Aire Playard Changer
The Nuna Sena Aire has an optional changer attachment that is only compatible with the Sena Aire (it won’t work with the Sena or the Cove Go). I haven’t personally tried the changer, so can’t comment on how well it works vs similar competing products, such as the 4moms Breeze Plus.
Nuna Sena Aire Vs. Sena, Sena Mini, and Cove
If you’re shopping for a play yard and you’re set on Nuna, you’re probably wondering the difference between Nuna Sena and Aire, the Nuna Sena and Sena Aire vs Nuna Cove, and the Nuna Sena Mini vs Full Size.
Nuna Cove vs Sena and Sena Aire
Both the Nuna Sena Aire and the Cove have been around for a few years. The following information is current as of 2023, and applies to the Nuna Cove Aire Go, not the previous version which was called simply the Cove.
So what are the key differences between Nuna’s Sena Aire vs the Cove Aire Go??
- Weight: The Nuna Sena Aire is lighter than the Cove Go. The Sena Aire weighs 20.8 pounds without the bassinet vs Nuna Cove Go, which weighs 22 pounds without bassinet.
- Size: The Nuna Sena Aire is larger than the Cove Go, and the Cove Go is considerably narrower (5.5″ narrower). The Sena Aire measures 41.3″ long x 30″ wide x 29″ tall when assembled, vs the Nuna Cove Go which measures 40″ long x 24.5″ wide x 30″ tall. The Cove Go’s narrower footprint makes it a great choice for small spaces or as a bedside sleeper. The Cove Go is 1″ taller, meaning it may be slightly more awkward for shorter parents or caregivers to use.
- Bassinet Position: The Cove Go’s bassinet sits about 1″ to 2″ higher than on the Sena Aire. I emailed Nuna Baby, and they said the Cove Aire Go’s bassinet sits about 15″ off the floor, and the Sena Aire’s bassinet sits about 14″ off the floor (although, when I measure my Sena Aire, it’s more like 13″ according to my measurements).
- Weight Limit: Both the Nuna Sena Aire and Cove Go are suitable from birth to 15 pounds (bassinet) or 30 pounds / 35 inches in height, or until they start trying to climb out (play yard). There are no differences in terms of weight limit or when to stop using it with your child.
- Changer Attachment: The Nuna Sena Aire has an optional changer attachment that is suitable from birth to 24 pounds, or until baby can push up on their hands and knees. The Cove Go isn’t compatible with Nuna’s changer attachment.
- Napper: Previous versions of the Cove came with a napper; the Cove Go does not have a napper anymore. The Sena Aire also doesn’t have a napper. Safe sleep guidelines recommend not using a napper for your baby. If they fall asleep in an inclined position, transfer them to a sleep approved flat and firm sleep surface as soon as possible and leave them to sleep there!
Nuna Sena vs Aire
Nuna used to offer both the Sena and the Sena Aire. However, in the United States the company no longer lists the Sena in their product lineup, and only sells the Sena Aire (both the Sena and the Sena Aire are still available in Canada at the time of writing).
Nuna Sena Mini vs Full Size
Nuna used to offer a mini version of the Sena, the Nuna Sena Mini. However, the company discontinued the Sena Mini in 2002.
The old mini was smaller and lighter than the Sena or Sena Aire: 34.5″ long x 24″ wide x 26.4″ high, and weighing 17.6 pounds, vs the Sena Aire which measures 41.3″ long x 30″ wide x 29″ high, and weighs 20.8 pounds.
The new Nuna Cove Go is a suitable replacement for the Nuna Sena Mini, with a similar narrow profile (the Cove Go is 24.5″ wide, vs the Mini which was 24″ wide).
If you’re looking for a narrow pack and play specifically, the Bugaboo Stardust is another great option, measuring 25 inches wide.
Is the Nuna Sena Aire Worth It?
Based on my experience, I think the Nuna Sena Aire is one of the best all round pack and plays on the market, and certainly one of the best I’ve personally tested.
The breathability is second to none, making it a great choice for summer babies or anywhere with a hot and/or humid climate, or with occasional heat waves. It’s also a nice to have to put parents minds to ease when their little ones are sleeping, as it may help prevent babies from getting hot while asleep.
I also appreciate that the mattress is so washable – this gives it a huge leg-up on the 4Moms Breeze, in my opinion.
As a downside, I don’t think I’d choose the Sena Aire as a true travel crib. Road trip to grandma’s house? Sure. But I wouldn’t want to lug it through an airport or check it into the airline as baggage.
Based on my personal experience, the Sena Aire is best suited to using at home, as an everyday play yard, and is convenient to pack into the car when you need something on the go.