What is a Pack and Play Bassinet

When shopping for your nursery a pack and play certainly comes in handy, especially when traveling. Pack and plays are enclosed play yards that can be folded for convenient bundling or to move from room to room.

They are designed specifically to be easy to set up and take down. Models range from a simple basic enclosed nap and play spaces to deluxe styles with extra attachments such as bassinets, toys, changing platforms, storage spaces, and even music options. But exactly what is a pack and play bassinet?

Many of today’s play yards come with a bassinet attachment. These napping space attachments are designed for newborns and infants weighing up to 15 pounds. Because of the limited amount of time, a bassinet attachment may be used, sometimes they also double as a changing insert with a washable surface. Many parents value these bassinet attachments because they prefer having their babies sleep near them for the first few weeks or months of life.

Some models of bassinets cover the entire width and length of their play yards. The advantage to this type of bassinet is that it reduces the chances of your baby falling into the play yard from the bassinet. Babies may, however, still fall outside the play yard itself as they get bigger. Manufacturers recommend that you put away the bassinet once your baby can get up on hands and knees or roll over. This will prevent the potential for falls.

Features of Different Bassinet Attachments on the Market

When you are selecting a play and play with a bassinet feature, Consumer Reports recommends it is better to select one that has an active attachment to the frame rather than one that merely rests on it. Look for bassinets that you have to snap, strap, button or click into place. It should also do so in a way that prevents older children from tampering with or dislodging it.

Read more: Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with a Reversible Napper and Changer.

Different Bassinet Attachments

  • A full-size bassinet that provides comfortable sleeping space for small babies
  • A hinged bassinet that can be flipped up out of the way when the baby is using the play yard
  • A reversible bassinet napper and changer in one piece
  • A bassinet designed to fold with up with its play yard for easy set-up and take-down
  • An easy zip-in bassinet that includes light-blocking side panels
  • A full-sized removable bassinet with a detachable toy bar that holds soft toys
  • A bassinet with a gentle vibration that helps calm your baby
  • A bassinet with a detachable sunshade
  • Bassinets with stable clips covered in fabrics that lock in place to be tamper-proof

Pack and plays with a bassinet provide the advantage of offering your baby a familiar, safe and cozy place to sleep wherever you go. These play yards are small and light enough to be easily moved. Most models weigh around 24 pounds without attachments.

With a bassinet option, they weight about 33 pounds. According to manufacturers’ recommendations, the bassinet feature should not be used after the age of around three months and/or a weight of 15 pounds; when an infant can roll over, get up on hands and knees, pull up or sit up.

All of these manufacturers make models that carry the JPMA-AFG International certification seal. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association certification seal verifies that these brands meet current play yard voluntary safety standards. This certification is not currently legally mandated nor supervised by government agencies. Regardless, it does offer some indication that a product meets some standards for safety.

Prices range from $40 for the most basic models to around $170 for the most premium models. Incidentally, though it is common practice to refer to all brands of these play yards as a ‘pack and play’, Pack and Play® is actually the licensed brand name for the play yards made by Graco. Every play yard on sale is not necessarily a Pack and Play®.

Read more: Graco Pack and Play with Automatic Folding Feet.

Final Notes

Some parents who know what is a pack and play bassinet wonder if it can be substituted for a crib altogether if their budget and space is limited. No matter how comfortable one made be for a nap or in lieu of a crib when traveling, play yard manufacturers are all untied on their recommendation that a full-sized crib is the safest place for baby to sleep.

When babies do sleep in a play yard, they should sleep on their backs and nothing should be in the space with them. Be sure to remove toys, stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows. Always read and follow all the safety precautions listed in the model’s owner’s manual.


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