We spent 58 hours researching and testing over 12 different kinds of play yards and found that sturdiness, activities possible, and amount of space were the most important things for consumers who were shopping for a play yard. Superyard Colorplay 8-Panel by North States scored high marks in all categories and is our overall top pick. This free-standing play yard features plastic panels that are lightweight and easy to set up. This play yard can be fully set up and ready to use in literally seconds and works indoors or out. This North States play yard comes with non-slip pads that prevent the unit from sliding around or scratching your floors.
Baby Play Yard Comparison
Summer Infant Portable
|Color||Multi Color||Multi Color||Multi Color||White||Green||Beige||Ivory||Multi Color||Ivory||Gray|
|6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 24||6 – 48||6 – 24||6 – 24|
Baby Play Yard Buying Guide
There are several things you want to look for and take into consideration when it comes to a play yard for your children. They are the perfect way to provide a safe, secure environment for ages 6-24 months of age. While older children may enjoy sitting inside the play yard, most can easily climb over the edge of the play yard and get out on their own. We have listed the important considerations and features you should pay attention to when shopping for a play yard.
Portable – Most play yards come in separate panels that need to be snapped together during set up. With some styles, once the panels have been put together it simply folds up, usually accordion style and can be stored or carried around with a built in handle that they typically have. Other styles require the panels be taken apart each time. If you move the play yard around a lot or travel with it, look for the styles that are super simple to set up and take down to save yourself a lot of frustration and time.
Safety Standards – Always look for a play yard that is BPA-free, contains no chemicals in the manufacturing process and that is sturdy and safe. Many companies put their products through testing for structural integrity and have to meet minimum height requirements, etc. Take your child’s height into consideration when you are shopping around and get one that is high enough for them to stand and hold onto it for stability and not fall over the side. If your child tends to climb, it is imperative that you take this into consideration when you place the child inside the play yard and not leave them out without visual supervision at all times.
Convenience – There are many different types and styles of play yards on the market to choose from. Take your lifestyle into consideration as well as where you will be using the play yard and find one that is convenient for you. Many fold up nicely once they are initially put together and do not require you to snap the panels together every single time it is used. This is ideal so you can take the play yard outdoors and set it up easily.
Activities – Some play yards simply have paneled sides and you place the baby inside the yard with all their favorite toys. Other styles have activities built into the panels to provide more for your baby to do. Activity centers are a lot of fun for your little ones and give extra appeal for your baby since they only get to play with the activities built-in to the play yard when they are inside it.
Style – There are many different styles of play yard on the market. From yards that look like several baby gates connected to elaborate thick plastic play yards that are brightly colored and feature designs that will appeal to children such as animals and other baby-favorite things. If you want to find something that your baby will love playing in, look for something that will engage them visually and provide a fun, safe spot for them to explore and discover.
Age limits – Read the age recommendations for any play yard you are considering. Most of the play yards we have researched typically have an age range of 6-24 months. After the age of two most little ones will simply crawl over the sides making it unsafe to have them inside a play yard. While there are no real weight limits on these kind of play yards, you want to be sure that the style you choose has sturdy, durable sides that your baby can safely pull up on and stand or walk around the inside of the yard holding on without the play yard toppling over.
Easy to clean – Babies are messy even when they are inside a contained area; it is just a fact of life. Make sure that the play yard you choose is easy to wipe down, including any built-in activities that it has on the panels. Most play yards are made of plastic and can even be taken outside and hosed off. If your play yard has thick sides that have hollow centers be very careful hosing it down because water can get inside the hollow panels even when it appears to have no cracks or holes and bacteria can build up inside the panel that has water inside it.
Budget – There are many different price points available when it comes to these convenient and useful play yards. The super simple designs can be less expensive than the elaborate ones that feature designs, colors, and activities. Take your specific needs into account when deciding what your budget it. If you’re looking for something more elaborate you can expect that it will be in the mid-to upper price points. The main goal is to choose a play yard that will meet all your needs while staying inside your budget but you should try to set a budget that will give you some room to consider the types of play yards you want and not just get one because of the cost.
Important Play Yard Safety Factors
Once you have chosen a play yard there are several things to pay attention to as you set it up. We have listed these important things to remember below.
- Read the manual inside the box of your play yard. Follow all the safety precautions listed in the owner’s manual and those listed on the play yard itself.
- Follow the instructions for assembly and double check all hinges and connections to ensure they have been put together properly. Before you put the baby inside the play yard, make sure it is sturdy and that all the panels have snapped together properly. Use the floor pads that are included in most play yards that will prevent the unit from sliding around unsafely or scratching your floors.
- Inspect the play yard on a regular basis for cracks, loose parts, broken hinges, and anything else that could potentially harm your child. If a panel has a defect or something gets broken, take that panel out completely and replace it. Do not use a broken play yard or try and fix is with tape.
- Set the play yard up on stable surfaces. Do not set it up near stairs of any kind, the fireplace, a pool or anything that could pose a danger to the baby while they are in it.
- Do not put children and pets in the play yard at the same time without immediate adult supervision.
- Do not place the play yard near a window where the baby could potentially reach the cords for the blinds.
- Never put the baby in the play yard and then leave them unattended. It’s understandable that you may have to use the bathroom at times but anything longer than a few minutes could be potentially dangerous for your child.
Play yards are convenient pieces of baby furniture that can provide you with a means of protecting your baby even when you have other things to do. These play yards are large, some of them offering tons of interior square footage where your baby can play and even nap safely and securely while you take care of other things nearby.
They also offer outdoor fun and can be great for camping trips, family reunions, cook outs and other outdoor activities. Once you have made up your mind to get a play yard, you have several options to choose from including how big a play space you want, how elaborate a play yard you are looking for, and the style or design it has.
The three top-rated play yards we have included above are all excellent examples of the great options out there. Any one of them would provide ample play space for your little one in a contained and secure area. All three of them are quality, well-built models that parents and babies love.
Now that you have all the information you need to make a confident decision, you can enjoy looking at all the different styles of play yards and find the one that will be perfect for you and your baby.