Do You Need Sheets for a Pack and Play or Playard?


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While most parents would consider a pack and play or playard to be a necessary buy before their baby arrives, they may wonder whether or not they need sheets for their pack and play. With so much else to worry about, are these necessary?

Sheets for Pack and Plays or playards are completely optional. Purchasing sheets can make the pack and play easier to clean up after spills and general use, but special considerations should be made if you plan on letting your baby sleep with them.

While Pack and Play sheets are not entirely necessary, there are quite a few reasons to use them if you wind up with a set anyway. Come along as we discuss all of the different reasons you may want to think about purchasing a set of sheets for your playard.

Are there sheets for pack and plays and are they necessary?

Many parents wonder whether or not the sheets are really necessary for the pack and play base.

The truth of the matter is that sheets are completely optional for use in a pack and play. There may be some cases where having sheets for your pack and play is convenient, but they are not a necessity.

Pack and Play’s generally have a waterproof, easy-to-clean padded mat that fits directly into the bottom of the playard. The material is extremely easy to clean, and my own babies have never seemed to notice whether or not there was a sheet on the mattress. The purpose of a sheet, as far as I can tell, is to create an easy-to-clean washable surface that protects a mattress from various spills or accidents. However, since a pack and play mattress is made from easy-to-clean materials, a sheet is not really necessary.

One mention-worthy side-note about pack and play sheets is that they also fit perfectly on a mini-crib mattress. If you happen to have a mini crib in your home, then you can share the pack and play sheets on the mattress of the mini-crib if you get in a bind.

However, there are some instances when having sheets for a pack and play might come in handy.

  • Many hotels use pack and plays when you request a crib for the room. In fact, this happened to my family the last time we visited a Disney Resort. The resort did not, however, provide me with proper sheets for the Pack and Play, so I wound up buying some from a nearby Walmart since we didn’t completely trust the cleanliness of their unit.
  • In the event that your baby is in a used pack and play temporarily. For example, at a baby sitter’s house, or in a shared pack and play at church or daycare. Using sheets for the pack and play makes a lot of sense in cases such as these.
  • The pack and play mattress is water-resistant, but it does require time for drying after it has been cleaned. So, this means that having sheets for the pack and play would be beneficial if you find that you have to wipe up spills or messes often. If your child has acid reflux, for example, he/she may benefit from a few sets of pack and play sheets to keep the mess at a minimum.

Are pack and play sheets safe?

Yes, pack and play sheets are no different in fit or form than regular crib sheets. So, while sheets for the pack n play may not be necessary, they are absolutely safe for use just as your crib sheets would be safe for use. Just be absolutely sure that they are close-fitting and there is no chance that they could be pulled off by your baby. This could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

In some cases, like the communal pack and play example mentioned above, having a set of sheets to change can actually be safer than not having the sheets. This is because changing the sheets frequently reduces germs or lice spreading between babies.

What size sheet fits a pack and play?

In general, when you purchase pack n play sheets, they will fit any standard sized pack and play. This is extremely convenient because pack and play sheets can be used on any pack and play that your baby may need to use. Many parents choose to purchase more than one pack and play to leave at grandparents’ homes or at a babysitter’s home.

Pack n play sheets are a standard size of 27 inches by 39 inches.

It is worth mentioning, however, that that Graco also makes a larger pack and play that is made for twins. It comes with a dual bassinet and the standard size sheets will not fit this pack and play. Graco does make sheets that are designed for the larger twin pack and play as well.

Can I just use a blanket in a pack and play?

It is not considered safe-sleep practices to let your infant have a blanket before one year of age. Babies can become tangled in loose fabrics and this can increase the risk of SIDS according to research done by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Blankets are not recommended for sleep until the age of 1 because they are dangerous for the safety of the baby. This is also true of any unsupervised time in the pack and play until the baby turns one-year-old.

The AAP recommends that babies sleep on a firm surface with no loose fabric. This includes blankets, toys, and bedding. Sheets are allowed as long as they fit snugly, only pack and play designed sheets are safe for use in the pack and play.

Can you use a crib sheet for a pack and play?

No, crib sheets are not safe for use in a pack and play.

Regular crib mattresses are much larger than pack and play sheets. According to the AAP, safe sleep recommendations require tight-fitting sheets. Regular-sized crib sheets would be much too large for the standard pack and play sized mattress.

Although pack and play sheets will fit on a mini-crib mattress, you cannot use mini-crib sheets on a pack and play. This is because the pack and play mattress is much thinner than the mini-crib mattress. While the pack and play sheets can be pulled over the mini-crib mattress for a tight fit, the mini-crib sheets are too loose and will not provide a proper fit for the pack and play mattress.

What is a playard sheet and do you need them?

Playard sheets are machine washable sheets that are made for the standard-sized playard for an infant. These are widely considered unnecessary as most playards are actually designed to be easy-to-clean. Babies can sleep and play directly on the material that the base (or mattress) of the playard is made of.

However, many parents choose to register for or purchase a few sets of standard playard sheets, and they can come in handy in many situations. Most standard playards measure 27 inches by 39 inches, so sheets purchased for any standard playard will fit on almost any other model. Additionally, these standard playard sheets will also fit on mini-crib mattresses within the regulations for safe sleeping.

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Josh

I'm the dad in charge of Natural Baby life. With 10 years of parenting experience across three children, I am constantly learning how to raise children more naturally. I'm passionate about doing whatever it takes to raise a happy and healthy baby! Find out more about me here.

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