Pack n play weight limits and other considerations. What to know about height and weight limit before you buy a pack and play.
When kitting out the nursery with all of the equipment required for your parenting journey, one of the items that is heavily contemplated is the ‘Pack n Play’.
Used as a bassinet, a travel crib, and even a play yard for little ones to safely spend time in, a Pack and Play is a versatile product that can be extremely useful for many families.
But even pro parents, who have used different Pack n Play models for years, may not know the weight limits and safety considerations for using one as a safe place for baby to sleep and play.
The recommended maximum weight limit for most Pack n Play models is between 25 – 30 pounds (which kids will usually hit somewhere around 2 to 3 years), but this varies between brands and styles, so be sure to check this when purchasing your own.
As well as a weight limit, there are other considerations you need to consider to ensure the Pack n Play is safe for your little ones, and decide when it’s time to stop using a pack and play.
We’ll discuss all of these considerations in this article, as well as compare some of the top-rated Pack and Play models available.
Pack n Play Weight Limits
Most pack and plays have a baby weight limit that’s right around 30 pounds.
A couple of brands and models have a slightly higher weight limit, in particular some portable baby travel cribs. These ones tend to be ones with a floor-resting mattress (our Baby Bjorn travel pack and play, pictured below in a hotel room in Italy, is one example, as is the Guava Lotus, Phil and Teds Traveller and the AeroMoov Instant).
A lot of the pack n plays also offer attachments and add-ons, which have different weight limits to the main pack and play structure.
For example, many come with an optional infant bassinet attachment that fits on top of the crib for smaller babies. Some also have a changing station attachment that fits on top, too. As your little one grows, you can remove these extras.
While the weight limits for the bassinet/changing table differ, the average is around 15 pounds. You also need to stop using these attachments when your baby can roll over and push themselves up.
For example, the 4moms Breeze Plus has a main playard weight limit of 30 pounds. However, the bassinet weight limit is 18 pounds and the changer weight limit is 25 pounds. As another point of comparison, the Bugaboo Stardust also has a main playard weight limit of 33 pounds, and a bassinet weight limit of 19.8 pounds.
Height and weight limit are important considerations when choosing the right pack and play for your little one. However, they’re not the only consideration!
Assembling your pack and play carefully is essential to ensuring your baby has a safe sleeping space.
Most families don’t use pack and plays every night. If yours is folded down and stored between uses, refresh yourself with the basics to make sure it’s safe!
If it’s been awhile since you last used it, it’s fairly easy to forget how to put it together and use it correctly and safely. Familiarize yourself with the manufacturers’ instructions each time and ensure it’s properly set up.
- If your model has an infant bassinet or changing station attachment, make sure it’s carefully secured to the pack and play, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Only use a Pack n Play for one child at a time, even when using it as a play yard. If you have twins or multiples, you need multiple pack and plays.
- Always retain the manufacturer’s instructions for your pack and play and keep them in the carry bag. This may be useful if a grandparent is using the pack and play for the first time and may not be as familiar with its assembly as you are. Follow manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cleaning, too, otherwise you may damage it.
- Inspect the frame and sides each time for damage, and make sure everything is still in good working order with no signs of damage.
- Don’t try to make the pack and play more plush and comfortable, as you may make it unsafe. As with crib mattresses, pack and play mattresses must be firm and fit properly. That also applies to the sheets – don’t try to use crib sheets, as they’ll be too large.
Baby’s Age and Developmental Stage
In addition to having weight limits, most Pack and Plays on the market also have height limits, just like cribs do.
It’s also worth remembering pack and plays tend to be smaller than a regular full-size crib, with an average size of around 40 x 29 inches, and around 35 inches high.
This means that a longer baby or toddler may outgrow the pack and play more quickly than they would a standard crib.
Some Pack n Plays do not have a weight limit but instead will give a usage restriction related to when your child reaches a certain developmental milestone. These include milestones such as ‘pushing themselves up on their hands’ or ‘standing up’.
Pack and Play’s Age and Condition
When using a pack and play for your little one make sure that it is safe and fit for use. Often a pack and play model can be passed through generations and you may use an older model.
If you do, make sure you thoroughly inspect the playard for signs of wear and tear before allowing your baby inside it to sleep or play. It is important to check the mesh sides are not torn or damaged and that the frame and attachments are secure and sit flush to the crib and don’t cause a hazard for your little one.
Generally speaking, standards and laws related to baby products change over time, and what may have been considered safe for a previous child may not meet safety standards today. For this reason, I tend to purchase new when it comes to products where safety is paramount (cribs, crib mattresses, car seats, high chairs, etc).
Always use the mattress that comes with the particular pack and play you are using.
While many parents have noted their pack and play mattress is notoriously thin, and doesn’t seem overly comfortable for your baby, it’s important to resist the urge to make it “more comfortable” for baby.
Don’t add an additional mattress, soft toys, or crib bumpers to make it softer and cozier as this can be hazardous and increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Overall, your parental instinct will help you know when you hit the limit of safely being able to use a pack and play as a sleeping space and playard for your baby.
If you feel that the pack and play is too small, or that your little one has outgrown it, they probably have.
Follow your gut and find the next sleeping arrangement that suit your child at the age they are. If you’re away from home, a mattress on the floor can be a good solution for older toddlers not yet ready for a tall big kid bed.
Are Pack and Plays worth the Money?
Knowing that a Pack and Play can only be used for your child until they are 30 pounds, or able to pull themselves up, are they worth purchasing?
This honestly depends on how much you’re going to use them, your routines, and the spaces in your home.
If you have a large home, it’s useful to have a safe nap space closer to the family living area. In this case a pack n play could be a worthwhile addition.
If you travel frequently, a portable crib pack and play is a great investment that will save you from the stress of worrying about how your child will sleep safely and play on the go. We travelled a ton with our daughter between 4 months and 18 months, and appreciated that she always had the same bed, no matter what country or space we were in (we used the Phil and Ted’s travel crib and the Baby Bjorn travel crib).
Generally, I think a pack and play is a pretty useful purchase.
One of the top-rated Graco Pack n Plays is only around $70, making it fairly affordable considering how often you may use it!
Top Rated Pack n Plays (with Weight Limits)
As always, I only want to recommend products that I would use with my own daughter, which is why the options below skew towards non toxic and eco friendly pack and plays. With that in mind, here are some of the top-rated pack and plays available right now:
The Guava portable crib is made by a small company that has really rethought the ‘travel’ aspect of a pack and play. It’s easy to move and set up, plus it only weights 13 lbs, making it one of the most lightweight options available.
This portable crib is certified GreenGuard™ Gold. It is the only travel crib with that certification. This means it is free from PVC, arsenic, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, mercury, cadmium, and flame retardants which can be harmful to your baby.
Suitable for babies up to 3 years of age, this pack n play doesn’t have a weight limit as it has a floor resting mattress. Parents also love the fully openable size zipper which allows closeness to your little one for comfort and reassurance, and the hands-free backpack style carrying bag, which makes taking your pack n play on the go a piece of cake!
I would have bought this for travel with my own daughter, but we were living overseas and it wasn’t available. Instead, I used both the Phil and Ted’s and the Baby Bjorn travel cribs, which I think are good alternatives!
For ease of assembly, the 4moms pack and play is a great option. The ‘one push open, one pull close’ allows for easy, one-handed set-up and take-down, making it great for travel or moving around the house.
The weight limits for the 4moms models are:
- Bassinet: For use from newborn up until 18lbs
- Changer: For use from newborn up until 25lbs
- Playard: For use from birth up until 30lbs
The streamlined, airy design with mesh sides provides clear views of your baby as they are sleeping. The durable frame makes it great for parent’s peace of mind too. As with all of the Pack and Play options features it has a carrying bag included too.
4moms do not use flame retardants on any of the Breeze products, and the Breeze is free of PVC, BPA, BPS, Lead, Phthalates, and heavy metals.
The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib makes sleeping away from home with small children a cinch! This portable playard and crib is super lightweight, easy to carry, set up, and fold away. The soft mattress rests on the floor and provides a snug place for your baby to sleep.
Recommended for children aged 0-3 years, this crib has no upper weight limit. Parents love the aesthetics of this crib and that you can see your baby easily through the mesh sides.
The travel crib fabric is free from harmful substances and approved according to Oeko-Tex Standard.
Again, I’ve used this one personally and it is super easy! The travel case (circled in the photo below) was super handy when we were taking trains around Europe with our baby!
Additional Option – Graco Pack n Play
Of course, we couldn’t do a Pack n Play article without mentioning the Graco Pack n Play. It’s Graco that coined the term of Pack n Play that we are all so familiar with, with others calling them travel cribs or play yards.
This play yard has a higher weight limit than some I’ve seen (up to 20kg, or roughly 44 pounds), and comes with a bassinet and changing station options, as well as hanging toys for your baby to enjoy.
It has the signature Graco push button fold which makes closing your playard quick and hassle free.
Re the non toxic aspect, Graco isn’t super forthcoming, but does say this: “Graco® Pack ‘n Play® playard mattresses do not have a flame retardant coating. Flame retardant treatment is used only in certain product materials in accordance with government regulations.”
Additional Considerations for Buying a Pack and Play
When it comes time to purchase your own Pack and Play, you might want to also consider these additional features (as well as the weight limit) to make the best choice.
The point of a Pack n Play is to serve as a portable crib. You want something that can move from room to room, or even take on vacations, in a way that standard heavy cribs cannot.
Check that the model of Pack and Play that you purchase comes with a carry bag for taking on your travels.
Also check out the folded size, to see how big it is for both travel and storage.
Easy to Assemble
You also want to look at how easy it is to assemble. Some pack and plays have a compact fold system that allows you to pop it up easily.
Others might be a bit more fiddly and may need an extra pair of hands to assemble it. Look at customer reviews from parents who have already made their purchase if this is a consideration for you.
Weight of Pack and Play
When we used to travel with our baby, we brought a lot more luggage than pre-kids travel. So the Pack and Play weight was definitely a consideration.
(The picture below shows the stuff we brought on a 3-month trip to Iceland, Canada, USA, and Mexico)
Once you have an infant that weighs upwards of 15 lbs, your regular luggage, and the Pack and Play to lug around, it can be helpful to have one that isn’t overly heavy when stored in its carry case.
It may also be useful to note the weight of the pack and play fits in with airline restrictions if you are planning on using it for travel.
Non-Toxic and Chemical Free
Until recently, the government required manufacturers to treat pack n plays with chemicals that made them flame retardant. However, research has found flame retardant chemicals are dangerous to a baby’s health, and the CDC recommends parents avoid products that have these chemicals in them.
Products treated with flame retardant chemicals release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Baby’s can absorb these VOCs by inhaling them, or via their skin. Considering a pack n play is somewhere your little one will be spending a lot of time, it’s definitely something I personally try to avoid.
Some Pack n Plays have storage pockets in the sides, some offer a changing station and bassinet attachment for tiny babies.
Think about what you’re going to use your pack and play for and consider if these additional features are a dealbreaker for you. If you live in a smaller apartment, having some of these elements combined can be pretty handy, or you could consider a mini crib.
Final Thoughts on Pack n Play Weight Limit and Use Restrictions
What is the weight limit of a Pack n Play? If you’ve ever wondered, hopefully this article has answered all of your questions. And hopefully it’s helped you decide if a play yard is needed for your family.
For those who travel or have regular sleepovers at grandparent’s houses, I’d definitely say that a Pack n Play is a valuable product, but the longevity of use will depend hugely on your child’s size and development.
If frequent airplane travel is in the plans, consider getting a travel crib that packs up super small, like the Phil and Ted’s crib, or something that has its own carry case, like the Baby Bjorn version.
If you know other parents who may benefit from the helpful information we have shared in this article, feel free to share it with them too! You may also want to check out our other guides on cribs, portable cribs, pack and plays, and mini cribs on our site.