Playpen Vs. Playard Vs. Pack 'n Play: What is the Difference?

Playpen Vs. Playard Vs. Pack 'n Play: What is the Difference?

Before you buy any playard, thinking it's the same thing as the Pack 'n Play, check out this guide where I listed all the differences between playpen types.

Difference between a playpen, playard, and Pack 'n Play

Parents are using different names when they talk about a playpen. However, the playpen is the name used to designate an enclosed area when your baby can play safely. It could look like a free-standing baby gate or a portable crib. Therefore, not every playpen has a floor mat. On the other hand, most playards comes with a mattress and can be used for sleeping. The most popular brand name of playard is the Pack 'n Play by Graco. Besides, I have noticed even more subtility between playpen and portable kid's bed. Let's take a look at it!

What is a playpen, playard, or pack n play?

Many parents, like my self, are asking about the difference between a playpen, playard, or pack 'n play. When I start researching for this article, I had the same question, and I was surprised to find out that those 3 names were mainly used to describe the same thing. Even the big stores like Amazon, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, and Babies 'R Us are using all 3 names as synonyms. So don't worry if you are a little bit confused, you are not the only one.

Playpen, playard, or pack 'n play are names used to describe a small enclosure where babies and young children can play safely. This portable baby fence can be made of plastic or wood, while some other models have a metal frame with mesh walls.

This restricted area creates a safe space where your baby can have independent playtime without constant supervision. This allows you to cook, do chores, or simply take a short break. Nevertheless, children should never be unattended for an extended period of time.

While some playpens or play yards are mostly "free-standing" baby bates place directly on the floor, you have playards that can be used as portable kid's beds. In both cases, the walls on each side are high enough so your child can't climb out.

Playards are lightweight, foldable, easy to assemble, and come with a mattress. You even have 3-in1 playards that have a built-in bassinet, napper, and changing station.

The most popular playard is the Pack 'n Play from Graco. Just like Kodak, Kleenex, or Q-Tip, the brand Pack 'N Play has become so mainstream, that many parents are using it to describe a playard. The Pack 'n Play is a useful and versatile piece of furniture for parents with a newborn.

The bottom line is; playpen is the name of the category, which regroups the free-standing baby gates and the playards. While Pack 'n Play is a famous brand of modern playards.

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What is difference between a playpen vs a playard?

The word "playpen" appears around 1902 in the Oxford English Dictionary. It describes a simple piece of furniture that provides a safe space for your baby to be placed while you are occupied.

Last century, playpens were made of vertical wood bars, but today, the structure can be made of plastic, metal, and mesh. Playards usually come with a soft mattress, but it's not the case with every playpen. This is why many parents are adding a floor mat inside the playpen area.

Today, playards, like the Pack 'n play, are more modern and comes with all the bells and whistles. These extra features include a removable bassinet, changing station, storage, shelves, mobiles, storages, night lights, and more.

However, the more significant evolution is the collapse and fold features, which allow parents to store and transport the playard easily.

Also, the main difference is the cost, as the playards are usually more expensive than a basic playpen.

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What is the main difference between a crib vs playard?

The main difference between a crib and a playard is portability and durability. Playards are made of lightweight materials, such as plastic and mesh, built on a foldable metal frame. On the other hand, a crib is usually made of wood, and once it's set up in a room, you can take it out the door frame without disassembling the whole bed.

The modern playard you can find at the store is really similar to a standard crib. Therefore, many parents are wondering if the playard is an acceptable sleeping option for their baby.

The short answer is yes, a playard can be used for sleeping, but it's not as comfortable as a crib.

Cribs usually required a mattress, which is 5 times thicker than a playard mattress. As your child grows, the thin mattress of the playard may become insufficient, and you'll need an upgrade.

Besides sleeping, both cribs and playards can be used as a safe place for your baby to play.

In my experience, having both is ideal, but if you must choose between a crib and a playard consider the following:

  • Both can be used to play and sleep (night or naps)
  • Playard take less space in the room
  • Playard can be easily folded and store away to free up space
  • Playard might require an extra mattress to be more comfortable
  • Cribs are more durable because they stay in the room
  • Cribs are usually more stylish than playard
It doesn't matter if you use a playpen, playard or pack n play, I'm sure the pack n play mattress pad is essential for your baby's comfort and safety and cleaning convenience. After all, you need a good cover to protect your mattress.If you want to know more, please click here:
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