Do You Need a Mattress for a Pack n Play

Do You Need a Mattress for a Pack n Play?

Pack n Play cribs are something many parents call essential for their parents. It’s an ideal tool for parents to let their baby or toddlers play while parents are busy working or cooking at home. It’s also a good thing to keep your eye on the baby while you’re taking a breather by watching TV. Certainly, the best part of these portable cribs is that you can take them anywhere you want. However, how comfortable are Pack n Play cribs, and should they use a mattress?

This is one question that bothers a lot of parents. These cribs are used by both babies and toddlers, and although they spend the majority of the time in these cribs playing and making the best out of their time, now and then, they may fall asleep carefree about the world that surrounds them.

A lot of parents are concerned about this, because although there’s a firm, yet comfortable space on the bottom of the crib, it doesn’t feel as comfortable as the regular crib.

Additionally, being so close to the floor, and less thick than a baby crib, a lot of parents are worried that their baby is feeling cold and uncomfortable.

That being said, do you need a mattress for a pack n play? We’ll answer this recurring question in this article. We’ll also help you find the best option for your baby so that they can both enjoy the playtime and take a nap if they feel exhausted after their playtime. Read on!

Can You Use a Mattress for a Pack n Play?

Every parent wants their baby or toddler to feel infinitely comfortable whether they’re in their crib, or a pack n play. That’s why this is a frequent question that parents have put their baby down to sleep, for a good reason. The answer is yes, there are special mattresses and toppers suitable for this crib.

Pack n play cribs come with no actual mattress. Instead, they have a flat area where the baby lays. As mentioned earlier, pack n play is a great option for parents who don’t know what they want to use the pack n play for.

More importantly, if the baby decides to take a nap after they’re done playing, a mattress or a mattress topper will feel more convenient for them, than if they slept on a thin topper on the bottom.

However, whether you can use a mattress for Pack n Play depends on various things. The first thing is how old your baby and toddler are, as well as how big is the Pack n Play. Additionally, using a mattress that is not suitable for Pack n Play should be avoidable as it can lead to suffocation, as well as other hazards in children.

Some brands explicitly advise parents to avoid using extra mattresses on their Pack n Play, even if they are suitable for such kinds of cribs. One of such brands is Graco, which states that using extra mattresses represents a health and safety hazard.

The company stated that using a mattress or a topper that is not suitable for their Playard could lead to the child’s head getting stuck in the mattress which can result in suffocation.

A lot of parents wonder whether a Pack n Play crib even comes with a separate mattress, and get disappointed when they find out that it doesn’t. More importantly, they can’t decide whether they should get a mattress topper or an actual mattress that can fit in.

That depends on whether the baby has a habit of diving into a nap after their playtime or they use it just for playtime and don’t fall asleep in the Pack n Play. Additionally, the design of the crib also plays a role. If the padding is thick and breathable, then you should only get a pad or a mattress topper.

Alternatively, if you feel like the space for sitting doesn’t feel comfortable enough on the baby, and you think that they’d feel cold falling asleep, you should consider getting a mattress. For a baby, it’s important that when they lay they feel the cushiony and comfortable fluffy surface of a pad or a mattress.

If the padding won’t feel enough balanced and supportive, your baby might be feeling uncomfortable as they’re trying to nap because the supportive bars could be touching up against them as they lay.

In those cases, using a topper or a mattress is completely recommended, as long as you take care of the size in a way that won’t damage your little one or pose a danger or safety hazard.

Another reason why parents want to get a mattress for their baby’s Pack n Play is that they are afraid of SIDS and they want to keep an eye on their little one as they sleep, to prevent them from sleeping on side and stomach, and Pack n Play is ideal for that.

That way your little one can rest and nap after a vigorous playtime while you’re taking care of your daily activities but also keeping your eye on them. Also, remember not to use your crib’s mattress on your Pack n Play unless they’re almost the same size. If it’s smaller, it could leave gaps that could be potentially harmful to your toddler.

Tips And Tricks on Buying a Mattress for a Pack N Play

Above you learned that using a mattress for Pack N Play is useful as long as there is not enough support for the baby, and as long as the mattress is suitable and recommended for Pack N Play cribs, as otherwise, they can cause suffocation. But, how to find the ideal mattress? Read below!


The average size of a mattress intended for Pack n Play is 38 x 24-inches. It’s worth noting that there are also different styles for mattresses. While some may have sharp edges, other ones could have round edges that would fit those of a crib.

What’s important about the sizes is that there’s no space left behind that could pose the risk for your little one. Always ensure to get compatible measurements when you’re ordering a mattress for your little one. Otherwise, they could get injured, stuck, or end up suffocating if their head gets stuck between the mattresses.


For an adult, a thick mattress means that there’s more support, especially for those sleepers who are heavier and need to stay on top of their mattresses. But a thick mattress for a baby, especially that sleeping in Pack n Play, taking a very thick mattress could be dangerous.

Babies are small, and lightweight, which means that they don’t need a mattress that is too thick. With added dimensions, the mattress could slip out of its position causing the gaps to appear on the mattress. That’s where we get back to worrying about the safety hazards like being stuck between the gaps.

Consult the customer service of the seller to see what mattress thickness level would be ideal for the crib you own. Additionally, you shouldn’t use two mattresses at the same time, as it could pose an additional risk to creating gaps. A regularly sized mattress should be more than enough to ensure your little one’s comfort, regardless of whether they are sleeping or playing.


Breathability is an important factor to consider, especially with babies who are not as effective as adults when it comes to in-body temperature regulation. That being said it’s super-important to get a breathable mattress with a decent temperature regulation build.

Usually, mattresses made for Pack n Play are made out of memory foam and hypoallergenic materials. However, reacting to pressure and temperature, memory foam can feel quite hot. With that in mind, it’s important to get a mattress that uses gel beads to ensure a cool and seamless resting experience for your baby or toddler.

Otherwise, the baby could sweat, get disturbed, cry, toss and turn. Additionally, heat could lead to rashes that could feel extremely uncomfortable for your baby. That’s why you should invest in a mattress that is breathable and has good temperature regulation.


For bit older babies and toddlers that play in Pack n Play, it’d be good to get a mattress that has waterproof protection. Babies playing alone and being self-sufficient can come with various accidents, from drooling and bottle spills to diaper accidents that usually spell disasters for the parents who later have to take care of the cleaning process. That’s why investing in a mattress can be a lifesaver.

Not too Soft

If your baby is relatively young and there’s still a risk of developing SIDS, you should avoid getting a mattress or a mattress topper with soft and plush properties. Of course, all parents want their children not to feel the pain sometimes associated with firm mattresses, but sleeping on a soft mattress increases the risk of SIDS.

What we advise is getting a medium-firm mattress that your little one can use to sit, play, stand on and take a nap when they feel like sleeping. Eventually, the mattress will feel softer just in time when your baby is older and not at risk of developing SIDS.

Safety First

When getting a mattress for your baby’s Pack n Play, you must ensure that there are no flammable materials in the construction of the mattress, also known as fire retardants. Since most mattresses for Pack n Play are made out of memory foam, finding such mattresses is inevitable.

But, how to differentiate? You need to make sure that you’re buying from reputable brands, as well as that you’re reading the labels of mattresses. One of the most important certifications that regulate the use of clean materials low on VOCs and fire retardants is Certi-PUR US certification that is the confirmation that the company doesn’t use toxic materials that could potentially cause problems to your child.


Pack n Play shouldn’t be too heavy, as you should be able to seamlessly transfer it from one position to other. Moreover, Pack n Play cribs are suitable for traveling to family, or even some longer-term trips where baby cribs are not available. That’s why the mattress should also be portable and easy to transfer. If the mattress is made out of foam, you should be able to fold or roll it.

Editor’s notes: If you’re often traveling, one of your options should be to use a mattress topper as they’re more portable and easier to transfer and fold. Still, that depends on how comfortable is the pad that the Pack n Play comes with.

It’s Hypoallergenic

Although a study from 2014 found that babies exposed to dust and germs are less likely to develop allergies and asthma, we’re all different. That being said, you want to ensure that your child is not exposed to potential allergens that could cause problems as the baby is growing up.

Most memory foam Pack n Play mattress options are labeled as hypoallergenic, but we still recommend checking with your seller if you’re shopping online, as well as reading the label and doing research on your own.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress for a Pack n Play

We compiled a list of questions that are being frequently asked when parents are shopping for a mattress for Pack n Play. These should make your shopping experience significantly easier.

Can You Use a Mattress From Your Crib for Pack n Play?

That depends on two things – the size and how portable that mattress feels. The size matters because the mattress should be in the dimension range of mattresses that are compatible with Pack n Play. Otherwise, you risk that the mattress doesn’t fit in completely, which can pose risk for the suffocation of your baby.

The good news is that Pack n Play mattresses are not crazy expensive, and you can likely cash one in the sub-$150 range. Additionally, if you feel like mattresses are not cheap enough, you can always invest in a mattress topper, as they’re more abundant on the market.

Can I Use Innerspring Mattress for Pack n Play?

An innerspring mattress is the second option among mattresses for Pack n Play, but they’re not every parent’s preference, as they may be too firm for the baby and not bouncy enough. Still, it’s better to invest in a good innerspring mattress than a soft and plush memory foam that can pose the risk for your baby.

What Is The Appropriate Age to Put Baby in Playpen?

Most parents consider six to eight months old babies to be suitable to play in the Pack n Play. Additionally, this is the age where they know how to sit, and more often than not, some can even crawl. If your baby is younger, you should consider your options with the pediatrician that looks at the baby.

What Are Some Good Pack n Play Mattresses?

There are several good Pack n Play mattresses that you should consider. Depending on your budget and needs here are the best options we found:

  • Dream On Me, 3 Inch Foam Pack and Play Mattress – This is one of the best mattresses on the market as it gives the right level of balance, support, and comfort for babies that will feel cozy and snuggled up whether they’re playing or taking a nap. It’s also Greenguard Gold tested and certified.
  • Public Pack and Play Mattress – Papablic mattress is made of comfy materials that ensure vital support for a baby’s healthy night rest. It also comes with a waterproof cover that you can machine-wash. It also has a dual design and it’s extremely breathable.
  • Milliard Tri-Fold Pack N’ Play Mattress – If you’re looking for a foldable and adjustable mattress that will seamlessly fit your Pack n Play crib, look no further. It gives a perfect balance between comfort and support thanks to the firm design. It also comes with a washable waterproof cover.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *