Pack and plays are a staple in many homes with young children. They can be used as a playpen, bassinet, or even a crib. Many parents wonder when to lower pack n play? Is there a specific age? weight? height?
In this blog post, we will answer all of those questions and more! We will also provide tips on how to safely lower the pack and play.
Can you lower Pack N Play?
Yes, you can lower Pack N Play, given it is multi-stage. In fact, it is recommended that you do so once your baby starts to sit up on their own. This usually happens around the six-month mark or when they weigh above 15 pounds.
Let’s look at how many stages a Pack n Play has.
Different stages in a Pack n Play
Most pack and plays have two stages; the bassinet insert at the top, and the playpen at the bottom, but some manufacturers offer 3-stage and 4-stage pack n play bassinets as well (see 3-stage bassinet insert below).
- The highest level is for newborns.
A detachable bassinet that comes with a Pack N Play, otherwise knowns as a rocking bassinet is considered the highest level when attached to the playpen.
- The middle level is for infants that have better head control and can sit up.
- The lowest level is for toddlers and preschoolers who can stand on their feet.
Parents can lower the bassinet according to their newborns’ age, weight, and height.
💡 Some parents dread using the lowest level in a Pack n Play because of the stress it can put on their back. Don’t worry if you’re one of them as I used a hack to cope with that and I’m sharing that later in the post. So, keep reading!
Pack n Play models with multi-stage bassinets
Graco being the pioneer was the first manufacturer to introduce 2-stage and 3-stage pack and play bassinets, but since CPSC detailed recommendations, manufacturers are advised to follow new standards set forth, to avoid risks that lead to SIDS.
Here are some of the most popular models by Graco with a 2-stage and a 3-stage bassinet insert:
- Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
- Graco Pack ‘n Play Element Playard with Bassinet and Changer
- Graco My View 4-in-1 Bassinet
- Graco Pack ‘n Play Day2Dream Travel Playard Bassinet
➡️ Don’t know if your Pack N Play has a multi-stage bassinet insert? Check the bottom of your playpen to find the manufacturer and the model number and head over to ManualsLib to whether you can lower it or not.
How do you know when to lower Pack n Play?
There are a few ways to know when it is time to lower the pack and play.
Your child has reached the weight limit for the bassinet: Most pack and plays have a weight limit of 12-15 pounds for the bassinet at the top. You can check the weight chart here. Once your child reaches this weight, you will need to lower the pack and play to a lower or the lowest position.
Your child has reached the height limit for the bassinet: The height limit for the bassinet is usually around 25-26 inches. Once your child reached the height limit, move them to the lower stage or the bottom of the pack and play.
Your child has reached the recommended age for the bassinet: Playards have an age limit of six months for the bassinet but most babies reach the weight limit by month 4. Once your child reaches the weight or the age limit, you will need to lower the pack and play bassinet or remove it and place them on the bottom.
Your baby is able to push up on their hands and knees: As soon as you see your baby trying to push up on their hands and knees, we recommend moving the bassinet insert lower, or placing them on the bottom. You never know when they hang over the edge and fall. It usually is around the same time they hit the age limit.
Your baby can roll over from front to back and back to front: You can tell your baby is getting too big for the bassinet insert when they start to roll over from front to back and back to front. That’s a sign they can lean over the edge and may topple the Pack n Play as the inertia is too high. It is better to move them to a lower level or the bottom of the playpen.
When your child starts to sit up unsupported: It is time to lower the Pack n Play when your child starts to sit up on their own. Babies spend a significant amount of time practicing their new abilities in bed. You don’t want them to fall from a great height. Nobody wants that!
When your child is starting to crawl or pull themselves up to a standing position: If your child has started crawling or is pulling themselves up to standing, it is time to lower the Pack n Play bassinet. There is a significant risk of falling. This is usually around 8-10 months old.
What is the weight limit for Pack N Play?
The weight limit for Pack N Play is usually around 40 pounds. Once your child reaches this weight, you will need to stop using the pack and play.
Can a baby sleep in the top part of Pack N Play?
Generally, Pack n Play bassinets are suitable for newborn babies. Though some parents do let their babies sleep in the bassinet for extended periods, we do not recommend you do that once your child reaches 12 pounds or 3-4 months of age. You should check your manufacturer’s recommended age, weight, and height limit for your playpen model.
How to Use the Pack N Play Properly for Your Baby?
Here are a few tips on how to use the Pack N Play properly for your baby:
- Use the pack and play on a level surface.
- Do not use the pack and play on a soft surface.
- Avoid placing the Pack N Play near a window or a wall.
- Do not use an after-market mattress that is not recommended for the pack n play model in use.
- Use the pack and play with the sides up and locked.
- Desist leaving your child unattended in the pack and play for extended periods.
How to Safely Lower a Pack N Play?
Step 1: Remove accessories from the top of you playard. They may include a canopy, a mobile (toy) bar, the mattress, and anything else you keep in for you baby.
Step 2: See the images below to identify how the bassinet insert is fixed on the top. Some models use aluminum pipes that go inside the bassinet insert at different levels while others have snap-on clips that attach to the playards frame at the top.
Step 3: Assuming you’re working with a playpen with a bassinet insert and not a detachable bassinet, depending on your pack and play model, remove the bassinet insert from the top.
Pack n Plays with a clip-on bassinet insert only have two stages; top, and bottom. Hence, when you remove the bassinet insert, you can only place your baby at the bottom.
We know it may stress your back if you’re compromised on height, but once you start using the bottom level, your body will adjust in a few days.
💡 If your Pack N play doesn’t offer more than 2-levels, a workaround I used was to add crates at the bottom that are as high as the middle of the playard to keep them low, but at the same time lifted enough to keep my back stress-free. It worked for me but I advise you do this at-your-own-risk.
Step 4: Once the bassinet insert is removed, turn to the sides and remove those aluminum pipes from it. You’ll see a similar pipe holding place sewn at the edge of the bassinet insert. Insert all four pipes in them, one on each side.
Step 5: Place the bassinet insert inside the playpen and make sure it is fixed. Now place the mattress pad inside the bassinet and viola, you have successfully lowered your Pack n Play.
Why is it important to lower the Pack N Play?
It’s important to lower your child’s Pack N’ Play for safety reasons.
When the Pack N’ Play is lowered, it becomes more stable and less likely to tip over. This is important because a tipped-over Pack N’ Play can cause serious injuries to your child.
Lowering your playpen bassinet insert could mean the difference between a happy child and a serious injury.
Parents Also Ask
How do you lift a Pack N Play mattress?
If you’re using the bottom of you playpen, use the same method shared above to lower it.
When should you transition to the crib?
It’s generally recommended that you transition your child to a crib when they are between 4 and 6 months old. This is because they will be more mobile at this age and could potentially hurt themselves in a Pack N’ Play bassinet.
Can a baby sleep in a Pack N Play all the time?
Yes, a baby can sleep in a Pack N Play every night given you are following all the safety measures, such as removing pillows, not using an after-market mattress that is not suitable for the playpen, and not placing it on an uneven or heightened surface.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends safety measures to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
How to properly store a pack n play?
When you’re not using your Pack N Play, it’s important to store it properly. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure that the Pack N Play is completely folded and packed inside the mattress pad that came with it.
2. Store the Pack N Play in a dry, temperature-controlled environment.
3. If possible, store the Pack N Play in a storage bag to protect it from dust and dirt.
Can a baby sleep in pack n play without the mattress?
No, a baby cannot sleep in a Pack N Play without the mattress. The mattress is essential for providing a comfortable and safe sleeping surface for your child. Additionally, the mattress helps to keep the Pack N Play stable and prevents it from tipping over.
Manufacturers usually include a mattress pad with every pack and play, but if you bought a used playpen from eBay, Facebook, or a thrift shop, we recommend using the best mattress for the Pack n Play model you are using.