Wondering if you can use your fitted crib sheets or mini crib sheets with your pack and play? Find out everything you need to know about pack and play sheet size to ensure you’re creating a safe sleeping space for your little one.
Do Crib Sheets Fit Pack n Play / Pack and Play Mattresses?
No, crib sheets do not fit pack and plays. Fitted crib sheets, mini crib sheets, and playard sheets are all different sizes, so you cannot use them interchangeably. Never use a fitted crib sheet or mini crib sheet with your pack and play, as it could be dangerous for your baby.
DISCLAIMER – This content is being provided for information purposes only and should not be seen as a recommendation. I am not a medical professional, and none of the content in this blog post or on this website is meant to substitute professional health, safety and medical advice. I’ve rounded up the best research and evidence I could find, but at the end of the day you should consult your paediatrician or family doctor when it comes to questions or concerns about your babies’ sleep environment and safety. Also note, you need to read the user manual for your specific pack and play, as different models have different rules for use, and ensure it is used as intended by the manufacturer.
(Final note: I use pack and play, play yard, and play pen interchangeably in this article. Pack ‘n Play® is a brand-specific term that refers to Graco brand play yards: a Pack ‘n Play®. Using the term Pack ‘n Play® refers to Graco products specifically).
Everything You Need to Know About Pack and Play Sheets
Do Pack and Plays Need Sheets?
No, pack and plays technically don’t need sheets, although it’s better to use them if possible. In a pinch you’re fine to use a pack and play without a sheet.
However, pack and play sheets can make your baby a bit more comfortable, and they can make life easier for parents or caregivers if your baby has an accident, such as a diaper leak.
From a practical standpoint, a pack and play sheet (or – even better – a thin waterproof mattress cover plus a fitted pack and play sheet) provides a barrier against drool, spills, diaper leaks, and spit-up.
Since most pack and play mattresses can only be spot cleaned (the Uppababy Remi is an exception: you can throw the whole mattress in the washing machine!), using a pack and play sheet makes your life easier from a “cleaning up” point of view, and also helps preserve some resale value for your pack n play should you decide to sell once your baby can no longer use it (due to reaching the weight limit, trying to climb out of it, etc).
For your baby, adding properly fitting pack n play sheets may make their sleep more comfortable, and is one of the only safe ways to make a pack and play more comfortable. Some pack and play mattresses aren’t the softest to the touch, so adding a soft cotton or organic cotton pack and play sheet will be nicer on their skin, particularly if your newborn is sleeping in the pack and play.
If you don’t have your own travel crib, and will be borrowing one while staying at a friend’s, family member’s or at a hotel, you also might want to bring some pack and play sheets, as you won’t know what condition it will be in when you arrive.
How Many Pack and Play Sheets Do I Need?
A set of 2 to 3 properly-fitting fitted pack n play sheets is probably fine for most families. Often, pack and play manufacturers sell fitted sheets in a 2-pack, which means you can have one in the linen cupboard or laundry basket, and one on your playard.
Is There a Standard Pack and Play Sheet Size?
No, there’s no standard sheet size for pack and play mattresses, since different pack and play mattresses have different dimensions.
In the United States, pack and plays are federally regulated. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, play yards must meet the following size standards:
“Play yards, much like non-full-size cribs, have an interior length dimension either greater than 55 in. (139.7 cm) or smaller than 49 3⁄4 in. (126.3 cm), or an interior width dimension greater than 30 5⁄8 in. (77.7 cm) or smaller than 25 3⁄8 in. (64.3 cm), or both. Inflatable play yards are not covered by the regulation.”
As you can see, the standards allow for large variation when it comes to pack and play size, both interior length and width. As a result, there’s a large variation when it comes to pack and play mattress size, and therefore sheet size.
Are Pack and Play Sheets the Same Size as Crib Sheets?
No, pack and play sheets and crib sheets are not the same size. It’s not safe to use crib sheets in a pack and play, as crib sheets are too big for pack and play mattresses, and may allow loose fabric to pool near your baby as they sleep.
As per the CPSC standards, pack and plays have “an interior length dimension either greater than 55 in. (139.7 cm) or smaller than 49 3⁄4 in. (126.3 cm), or an interior width dimension greater than 30 5⁄8 in. (77.7 cm) or smaller than 25 3⁄8 in. (64.3 cm), or both.”
Compare that to full size baby cribs, which are more standardized in terms of size. According to CPSC guidelines, full size cribs have “interior dimensions of 28 ± 5/8 inches (71 ± 1.6 centimeters) in width x 52 3/8 ± 5/8 inches (133 ± 1.6 centimeters) in length.”
Can You Use Mini Crib Sheets on a Pack and Play Mattress?
Mini crib sheets may or may not be of a similar size to pack and play sheets. However, you shouldn’t use mini crib sheets with your pack and play, as they may not fit correctly. Improperly fitting pack and play sheets, crib sheets, and mini crib sheets can be hazardous to your baby, particularly very young babies under 1 year of age.
According to the CPSC, non-full size cribs (which includes mini cribs) must have:
“an interior length dimension that is either greater than 139.7 cm (55 in.) or smaller than 126.3 cm (49 3/4 in.), or, an interior width dimension either greater than 77.7 cm (30 5/8 in.) or smaller than 64.3 cm (25 3/8 in.), or both.”
You might have noticed, those are the same dimensions required of pack and plays:
“Play yards, much like non-full-size cribs, have an interior length dimension either greater than 55 in. (139.7 cm) or smaller than 49 3⁄4 in. (126.3 cm), or an interior width dimension greater than 30 5⁄8 in. (77.7 cm) or smaller than 25 3⁄8 in. (64.3 cm), or both.”
So, while it’s technically possible you’ll find a mini crib sheet that is the same dimensions as your pack and play mattress requires, it’s still not advised to use mini crib sheets on a pack and play.
Additionally, mini crib sheets are likely made for a thicker mini crib mattress, rather than a thin playard mattress.
Are Third Party Pack and Play Sheets Safe?
If you consult the user manual or instruction manual for your pack and play, you’ll likely find the manufacturer advises against using any third party accessories with your playard.
This includes pack n play sheets.
While pack and play mattresses tend to come in a variety of sizes, third party pack and play sheets tend to come in a fairly standard size of 39″ long x 27″wide x 4″ deep, for a mattress measuring around 39″ x 27″ by 1″.
American Baby Company sheets are a popular example of this “one size fits all” style of pack and play sheets. However, when you start to consider the wide variation of pack and play mattress sizes, it’s clear “one size fits all” won’t work in a lot of situations. Take, for example, the Bugaboo Stardust:
For a better fit, there are some third party manufacturers that make sheets for specific pack and plays, ensuring a better fit if you do choose to purchase from a third party brand.
Before purchasing sheets from a third-party brand, be sure to measure your pack and play mattress, including length x width x depth. Knowing exact dimensions of your model of playard mattress will allow you to choose the best size sheet for your pack ‘n play or playard.
For the best fit, and to follow safety recommendations from pack and play manufacturers, order branded sheets that are made specifically for your pack and play (i.e. buy 4moms sheets for a 4moms pack and play). Many companies sell sheets in a bundle, when you purchase the pack and play (for example, the BabyBjorn Travel Crib Light comes with a sheet if you select that option at checkout).
What About Waterproof Pack and Play Sheets?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ publication, Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment, waterproof covers are okay to use, so long as they are thin and tightly fitting:
“If a mattress cover is used to protect against wetness, it should be tightly fitting and thin.”
Final Thoughts: Can I Use Crib Sheets in a Pack and Play?
No, you cannot safely use crib sheets in a pack n play, and shouldn’t try to. Interior measurements of a crib vs pack and play are different, and crib sheets are too large for pack and play mattresses. Loose bedding of any kind is dangerous to babies and against safe sleep guidelines.
Instead, purchase and use pack and play sheets from the manufacturer of your playard, as these will be designed to fit snugly and stay in place. If you choose to purchase play yard sheets from a third party manufacturer, measure your mattress in advance and ensure they’ll fit properly. Before letting your baby sleep in the play yard, ensure the sheets are tightly fitting and secure, with no loose fabric or chance of the sheets coming off the Pack n’ Play mattress while your baby sleeps.