The average newborn sleeps 16 hours a day. This includes a good stretch at night (although from your perspective, it doesn’t seem like it) and lots of naps throughout the day. Of course his or her crib is the number one choice for the safest place to sleep, but consider a play yard for daytime naps, visits to grandma’s house, or a safe environment for some hands-free mom time.

Play yards are convenient for the first floor of the house, especially if it comes with a changing table.

If you decide to use a play yard while traveling or in your own home, be sure to follow these guidelines for safe selection and use: 

  • Choose a play yard or non-full-size crib with the correct recommended height and weight of the child.
  • Slats on a wooden play yard should be no more than 2 3/8” apart.
  • Look for the JPMA Certification Seal.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The play yard, including side rails, should be fully erected prior to use.
  • Make sure all latching features of the play yard are in place and secure.
  • Always provide the supervision necessary for the continued safety of your child. When used for playing, never leave child unattended.
  • Do not add objects to the play yard during sleep.
  • NEVER leave a baby in a mesh play yard if one of the rails is in the down position. The baby could climb out or strangle on the dropped rail.
  • NEVER place the crib near windows, draperies, blinds, or wall-mounted decorative accessories with long cords.
  • Check vinyl or fabric-covered rails frequently for holes and tears. Check for loose or missing fasteners, loose joints or broken parts and contact the manufacturer for replacement parts.
  • Don’t tie items across the top of the play yard as they can entangle a baby and cause strangulation.