We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

Best Play Yard to Keep Your Little One Contained

Finding a safe space for your infant to play can sometimes be a challenge, but play yards can keep your little one contained as you take on the tasks of the day. There are tons of play yards on the market, so how do you know which one to choose? The ones we’ve featured on this list of the best play yards in 2021 were chosen because they’re designed to be highly portable so you can easily take them on the go. These play yards also feature removable bassinets so they can double as a comfortable place for your infant to sleep, a changing station, and portable crib. Given their features and versatility, you'll be able to use any one of these picks well into your child’s toddler years.

What are the best play yards of 2021?

Ingenuity Washable Play Yard - Best Play Yard Overall

The Ingenuity Washable Play Yard with Dream Center is outfitted with fabrics that can be zipped off and tossed into the washing machine for easy washing. The Dream Center bassinet features soft fabrics and breathable mesh, a quilted headrest and a full canopy with two plush toys, making it an ideal place for your infant to enjoy a nap or quiet playtime. There’s also the Soothing Sounds Station which plays five songs and three nature sounds that will soothe your little one to sleep.

When your baby needs to have her diaper or clothing changed, the Just Right Height changing table is the perfect place to do so. When your little one has outgrown the bassinet, simply remove it and they’ll have plenty of space to play and sleep on the comfortable padded platform. A carry bag makes it easy to transport this play yard while an integrated storage tray allows you to keep all of baby’s necessities close at hand.

Pamo Babe Deluxe Portable Playard - Runner Up

The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Complete Care Play Yard is the only play yard on this list that features a canopy when it’s in bassinet mode to block nap-disturbing light from your little one’s eyes. The removable bassinet is cushioned and serves as a cozy spot for your little one to sleep. When your child has outgrown the bassinet, you can take it off so that your older baby (and eventually, your toddler) can use the play yard to play or to sleep. The roll-down sides also provide shade when it’s in play yard mode.

When it’s time for a diaper or an outfit change, the Flip Away changer provides you with a convenient and sturdy surface to use. This play yard also comes with a Baby Comforter which offers ten sounds and songs that will lull your little one to sleep, two relaxing vibration settings, as well as a night light. The included accessory bag is great for storing baby necessities that you want to keep on-hand. When you want to store the play yard or take it on-the-go, simply fold it up and slip into the travel bag for on-the-go convenience.

Joovy Room Playard - Honorable Mention

The Fisher Price Ultra-Lite Day and Night Play Yard is aptly named. Weighing in at just 15 pounds, this play yard is considered super lightweight (other play yards that are the same style typically weigh between the 20 and 30 pounds). The inclined sleeper, which features a three-point restraint and a cushioned heat support, is a comfy and safe place for baby to take a nap. When your little one has outgrown the sleeper, pop it off and this play yard transforms into a comfortable and safe place for older babies and toddlers to play and sleep.

The padded platform offers a cushioned surface for your little one to play on, and when it’s time for sleep, just slip a standard-size crib sheet onto the platform and you’re child will be ready for dreamland. The play yard also features a storage pocked, which holds a portable changing station diaper clutch. When you’re on the go, close the play yard up and slip it into the convenient hands-free storage bag.

Graco Pack n' Play Play Yard - Consider

The Graco Pack n’ Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer features everything that you could ever want in a play yard. The nest bassinet provides a comfortable and secure space for your infant to enjoy a nap. With the push of a button, the bassinet flips over, providing you with a sturdy surface that can easily be wiped clean for diaper and outfit changes. When your little one has outgrown the bassinet, simply remove it and this play yard can be used for to play and sleep in. Whether you’re traveling or you’re going to be spending the afternoon out, the signature Graco push-button fold makes folding and closing the play yard a cinch. It also comes with a handy carrying bag and hanks to the storage pockets on the side of this play yard, you can keep all of the essentials nearby like diapers and baby wipes.

Chicco Lullaby Baby - Best Play Yard Overall

The Chicco Lullaby Baby Play Yard is a three stage play yard. When your little one is a newborn, they can sleep in the angled napper which easily folds when it’s ready to be stored away. A bassinet with a deluxe quilted mattress and a mobile with plush toys offers a comfy space for baby to rest and take a cozy nap. During the toddler stage, the play yard area provides plenty of space for your toddler to safely play.

This play yard also features a large, detachable changer which snaps on and off with ease, making changing baby a breeze. You’ll also love the EZ Care Zip and Wash mattress pad, which makes cleaning baby less of a chore. Side storage compartments allow you to keep diapers, wipes, and anything other baby supplies you want to keep close at hand. With the push of a button, this play yard folds up and can be placed in the travel bag for when you’re on the go.

Buyer's Guide

Babies want to explore their surroundings from a very early age, and they do it under the tender loving care of their parents. It is healthy for the baby and joyful for the parent to watch, but the child wants to do it all waking hours, and there is just not enough time to go around for the parent. A play yard offers a solution where babies can safely move and explore while parents can attend other pressing matters. A play yard is a small enclosure for kids with a soft flat base and walls around it. There are several options available in the market, and we have listed down the most crucial things you should consider before making a buying decision.

Most valuable features to look for in a play yard.

Market offerings range from a simple wooden crib to a feature-packed enclosure straight out of a sci-fi movie. We have separated wheat from the chaff for you and listed down the features you should value.

Safety first - JPMA safety seal

Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association or JPMA issues certification to baby products after testing them independently in their lab that they meet at least minimum government standards. Most of the best play yards available in the market already have this certification, but you should still double-check before purchase.

Removable bassinet

Parents are always talking praise of the option to have a removable bassinet. This simple feature will save the effort and space to buy and keep a separate bassinet.

Washable material

Babies and toddlers will not learn to control their bladder as long as they use play yard. A diaper can leak, you can mishandle while changing diapers, or the baby can simply have reflux and spit out the milk while laying down. Your play yard will get dirty from time to time, and a machine washable material of the play yard will save you a lot of effort and keep your baby’s play area clean.

Lightweight and wheels with locks on the bottom


You will have to carry the play area around the house to attend to other urgent matters while also keeping an eye on your baby. The best play yards are the ones that were designed with this need in mind. They ensure easy portability by using lightweight yet strong materials, installing wheels with locks on the bottom.

Storage pockets

There are many items that will always be used exclusively with the play yard, such as certain soft toys, diaper mats, spare diapers, bottles, wipes, and blankets. Storage space with the play yard will help you organize these items in one place.

Diaper change tray

Changing diapers gets easy when you have to do it without bending down. The high walls act as a support for a diaper change station, and we recommend that you get a play yard that comes with it, especially if you want to save space and your precious energy.

An easy folding system

Every once in a while, you may want to take your dear son or dear daughter outdoors or on an extended vacation. To ensure that carrying your play yard with you is easy, we recommend that you should check the folding and setting up system beforehand. Many best play yards come with a tote bag to carry as well.

Added features

There are many features packed with play yards to assist the parent in putting the baby to sleep. From music to gentle moving-car-like vibrations, these additional features only help some of the babies some of the time. In addition, a toy set or a soft book is sometimes packed with the product. We recommend that you ignore these and simplify the decision-making process since these can always be added to the play yard later on.

How to maintain play yards

Play yards last long and, if kept well, can be used by your next child. Here are a few maintenance tips:;

  • Always keep it clean. If it smells or gets dirty, wash it immediately before the stains hold the fabric and become permanent.
  • Keep all parts of the play yard in place to avoid losing them.
  • In case of any damage, immediately replace it or get it repaired to ensure that your baby is safe inside.

Safety tips relating to the use of play yards

  • You should always use the manufacturer’s original instructions for assembly to ensure that your baby is safe inside the play yard.
  • Most play yards can be used up to 3 years, but this is not a standard. You should always check the manufacturer’s maximum limit, often mentioned in terms of age or weight of the baby, before buying. Toddlers are able to climb and come out of the play yard after a certain period.
  • The safe-sleeping guidelines that you need to ensure in any other situation still apply in full to play yards. Therefore, you should still take reasonable care to comply with those guidelines.

Best Play Yard FAQ

Q: Is a play yard worth my money?

A: Play yards are a must-have for parents. Keeping the baby safe and exploring the world is essential while you have to take care of other matters at home. This can only be achieved with play yards in one form or another.

Q: How to get the best play yard for the beach?

A: Best play yards for beaches and other outdoor environments are the ones that have walls made of mesh net and also made of washable fabric. When you set up your baby’s play yard outdoors, more dirt will stick to it, so a washable material helps keep the play yard clean. In addition, a mesh net protects your baby from mosquitoes and other insects.

Q: Can a baby sleep in the playpen?

A: Yes. Babies can sleep in the play yard (also called playpen), but you still have to ensure compliance with safe-sleeping guidelines.

Q: How long can you use a play yard?

A: While it is dependent on your selected play yard, most play yards can last until three years of age. Starting from newborn months, it can take on different roles for your child’s growing period.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
RELATED CONTENT
Go to top